Studies show working from home increases efficiency and productivity when done right but if you don’t take the right approach with your home office setup, the opposite could happen for you.
Remember, you’re going to be spending as much time in your home office as you are in any other room in the house, so you can’t really operate from your couch. Here’s your go-to home office setup checklist to ensure you’re poised for success (and you look the business while you’re working).Discover how to design the perfect #homeoffice Click To Tweet
Home office setup checklist
Get the ergonomics right
If you’re going to be productive at home you need to feel comfortable in your home office setup.
- Setting up your computer so the top is slightly below eye level will reduce eye fatigue.
- Your forearms should be parallel to the floor when typing at your keyboard.
- Your feet should be flat on the ground.
- Buy a great desk chair, you’re going be spending several hours a day there, so make sure you’re comfortable.
If you don’t feel comfortable from the moment you sit in your chair, or you’re going to get sore and agitated in a short period of time, you’re not going to want to stay there for lengthy periods of time. This is going to seriously impact on your ability to be productive which will either annoy your boss, or inhibit your earning capacity as a freelancer.
Be close to natural light
Proper light can reduce eye fatigue and improve your mood, so make sure you place the desk near a window and enjoy natural light, a view and some fresh air. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break to admire the view if you have one.
If you’re working at night – which is a common occurrence for those who work from home – make sure there’s a nice lamp on your desk. Overhead house lights aren’t always great for a productive work environment.
Get the sound, smell and temperature right
The last thing you want is for your office to be too noisy, smelly, cold or hot. It’s easy to set up an iPhone dock with Bluetooth capabilities so you can stream great music through Spotify or your own personal collection. Burn a scented candle or use essential oils to help you focus.
Also: consider a decent air-conditioner so you can cool the room down during the hotter months, and heat the room up during colder months. If you don’t feel comfortable in your office, chances are you won’t get a lot of good quality work done.Scent: just one element of the perfect #homeoffice Click To Tweet
In a perfect home office setup, storage is essential
Think about how you work best, and how much paper and other items you’ll need to store. The last thing you want is for papers to be strewn across the office, it looks messy and can make you feel overwhelmed.
If you need documents in plain view at all times to remember them, display shelves or paper trays might be for you. If you need to store documents for future reference, get something like bookcases, storage boxes or cupboards that look good – Ikea and eBay are your friends!
Keep your desk clutter free because this is the space where you are going to be spending the majority of your time. Use cups for pens and pencils, business card holders, and drawers for staplers and other similar items. In a great home office setup, having a place for everything will prevent chaos and disorganisation.
It’s not all about the desk
Your desk should be where you do your work, but there are times when you need to get away from the desk to think, read or just have a break. Set up a nice comfy chair with a side table for your papers, a drink and a bite to eat. Add a lamp so you can enjoy some soft light, and if you have enough space and you think you’ll be seeing clients or customers, include another chair or two-seater couch as well.
Soften the space
As has already been mentioned, people leave the office environment because of the lack of ambience. Make sure you add items in your office that make it inviting and visually pleasing. Plants are a great way to add colour and life to a home office setup, while family photos give it a personal touch. And remember, you’re not at your work office any more, so feel free to add items that make you happy like controversial artwork on the wall, or books and magazines you like to read.
Get your technology right
Make sure you’ve got all of the hardware and software you need to get the job done efficiently and easily in your new home office. After all, technology is supposed to make life easier, and nothing is more frustrating than when it doesn’t work properly.
- Ensure the WiFi connection is strong and you have more than enough bandwidth to send and receive large files.
- They may be ugly, but have a printer/copier/scanner available so you can deal with important documents as required. If need be, store those items in a cupboard so you don’t have to look at it.
- Keep cords and other leads out of harms way. Nothing looks worse than a spaghetti maze of cords behind your desk and along your walls. They look ugly, can make life difficult when removing or fixing equipment, and its dangerous. Keep them under control.
- If you must have a landline phone, make sure you have a separate number to your home phone. This way you won’t need to give out your private number and the line won’t be busy thanks to wives, husbands and children.
- Have a local computer support guy on speed dial so that if anything goes wrong with your hardware or software, you’ve got someone who can make a house call and get you back up and running ASAP.
Another great tool for remote workers is Blrt, a mobile collaboration app that enables users to communicate effectively when they can’t be face to face. You can talk, point and draw over images, documents and web pages straight from your smartphone or tablet’s photo gallery or camera, or your Dropbox or Google Drive.
Your voice and gestures are captured in sync and saved as a file called a Blrt, and can be sent to any number of recipients who will easily understand what you’re talking about. The recipients can talk, point and draw right over the top of your documents, plus add their own documents, and Blrt you back.
When collaborating on projects, Blrts can drastically reduce the amount of back and forth you often find when trying to communicate using Skype, email or other communications platforms.
Separate your office space from your homeMake sure to separate your home from your #homeoffice Click To Tweet
This may sound obvious, but working from home can become all-consuming when it really should be liberating. Often those who work from home end up constantly working, when the work life balance should be better than ever. So here are a few tips to make sure you separate your office from the rest of your home:
- Make sure there’s a door you can close to keep home life out.
- Be well stocked so everything you need to get the job done is in your office. No need to leave for supplies, and no need to take work out of the office and into the living areas.
- Have snacks and drink making equipment, i.e. coffee machine or kettle and a mini-fridge, in the office so you don’t have to leave. Conversely keep your lunch in the kitchen fridge so you leave and give yourself a proper lunch break.
- Setup and stick to business hours so that you can dedicate specific time to your work and your family knows you are not to be disturbed. It also forces you to step out of the office and enjoy some leisure time when your business hours are over.
Transforming your current workspace, or setting up a new work space into something you want to spend time in doesn’t have to be hard, expensive or time consuming. It’s so easy to consciously block out all of those ugly features in your home office such as bare walls, clutter and chords, but subconsciously they can be having a detrimental effect on your productivity.
Setting aside a full day, purchasing a few storage and organisational items, choosing some plants and adding a few personal touches can really make a huge difference to your productivity and efficiency. Getting your work done quicker can increase your earning capacity as a freelancer, or open up time to spend with friends and family or getting out and about.
But the most important thing to remember is to make your office a place that you feel comfortable in and where you’ll be happy to spend time. It should reflect your personality and connect to your spirit and sense of adventure. After all, working from home is an adventurous step, so make sure you give it every chance of success with a great office space.
Staying in touch from home
Working in a home office can be quite isolating at times and the fix for that will go beyond your home office setup.
Blrt brings the human element back to remote collaboration, ensuring you’ll never be left out in the cold. Get started on your next project now:
Blrt helps you get your point across quickly by allowing you to talk, point and draw over images, documents and websites. The resulting video-like recording is called a Blrt.
Your Blrts require much less bandwidth than video and can be shared with anyone on mobile or desktop. This makes Blrt ideal for both collaboration and the creation and sharing of dynamic content, as public Blrts can be embedded into any webpage.
Once recorded, Blrts are stored in the cloud and are exchanged with others in a conversation-like fashion. A record is kept of the exchange, and new parties and media can be added at any time.
Blrt shifts time and place, allowing users in a conversation to participate in their own time. In an era where activity-based working and distributed teams are commonplace, Blrt is revolutionising the way people interact to get things done.