Working from home has become an accepted norm in many countries of the world. With technology advancement, working from home has become easier too. While there are some who work on their own like consultants, small entrepreneurs, freelancers and so on, there are also offices and companies that allow their employees to work from home. It has been found that working from home often increases productivity as there is no time wasted in commuting or on office gossips.
The first and foremost factor to be decided on is the place from where you work, which is commonly referred to as ‘home office’. It is the place inside your home from where you will work. Different home offices have different kind of spaces. There might be some who might be able to spare a room for their home office while there might be some who may have only one corner in their home for home office. Whatever the scenario might be, it is essential to create a good and comfortable space that would be practical, convenient and ‘official’.
It is not really necessary to hire an expensive interior decorator to create a home office for you because you can easily do that on your own. Before venturing into creating a home office, it is essential to first figure out what your necessities are. The design of your home office will depend on the kind of work you are doing. For example, if you are a writer, you will need dictionaries, books, reference books, stationeries and so on. So you will need cabinets for them.
Though different kinds of work will preferably need different home offices, some factors remain the same, no matter what the work is, when it comes to a home office. They are:
- A cozy place
- Convenient furniture
- Motivating atmosphere
- A space that is professional
- Modern gadgets
- Useful accessories
- A professional attitude
The above mentioned factors are essentials for any kind of home office. Now let us take a detailed look on some of the must haves for a home office.
Home Office Setup Must Haves and Essentials:
1. A line of demarcation:
Though you are set to work from the comfortable confines of your home, it is essential to keep the home office and home space apart from each other. It is not always possible to create a wall or put curtains to demarcate the space but an invisible line can be created. An idea would be to have the space created differently than the rest of the room. For example, if your home office is inside your bedroom, you can demarcate your home office area from the rest of the room by giving a brighter or a different color to the space.
You can also get furniture of different color, for example, if the rest of the furniture in the room is in brown or brighter shades, then your home office furniture can be of white colour. If it is possible to curtain off the area, then great otherwise, the above idea works well to create a well defined space for home office.
2. Internet connection:
When you are working from home, you have deadlines to meet and unlike in an office, you cannot put forward reasons such as ‘My net wasn’t working’ or ‘I have slow internet connection’, etc., hence it is important to get a good internet connection which assures high speed and good connectivity 24 hours a day.
Choose a service provider who is reliable and trustworthy and also one that won’t cost much. Not all those who work from home get an assured income. Sometimes, wages vary and hence it is important to consider cost of every home office factor.
A good WiFi connection should be better because it allows you to work from any part of your house, in case, you want a change of space and mood.
3. A trouble-shooter on call:
When you work in a regular office, there are technicians to take care of computer shut down and other technical errors. At home office too, you need such a technician who can come to your help in case there is a sudden technical problem.
4. Ergonomic chair:
There might be days when you are required to spend more than 5 hours or so in your home office and on some days, the period spent working might be even more. That means you are spending a major part of the day sitting and working away. Hence it is very important that you have a comfortable seat and desk.
Nowadays, back pain, wrist pain, neck pain and other problems related to bones are a common problem with a majority of those who spend their whole day working on computers. It is thus very essential to get good ergonomic chair and desks to work from.
The advantage of an ergonomic chair is that it lends lumbar support and also offers a good support for your neck. The chairs that have arm rests are better because it helps your shoulder to maintain a certain posture. Most of the ergonomic chairs come with adjustable settings which make it easy to adjust the height of the chair as per your convenience.
5. Ergonomic desk:
Nowadays, even ergonomic desks too are available, that have modifiable heights. So, if you want to stand up for some time after being seated for long, you can adjust the height of your desk and can spend some time working standing. This helps your back and neck muscles to relax. Thus such chairs and desks are must for a home office because it not only offers comfort and convenience but also takes care of your health.
6. Good storage space:
Home office should have furniture that will have good storage space. This will help keep things in order and also hide things that are not needed. A home office will have files, books, stationeries, and so on and each should have a space of its own. Or else, the place will look cluttered. There is nothing more annoying than a disorganized, unclean and cluttered work space.
Either you can opt for custom made furniture as per the area of your home office or get readymade furniture. Since home offices are in vogue today, there are furniture available to suit small home offices.
7. Wireless telephone:
There are times when you have to attend to conference calls or take notes and type at the same time and on these occasions a wireless telephone can be a boon. It is not healthy for you to hold your phone with the help of your neck and then work at the same time, because in the long run, your neck muscles will give away and leave you with a lifelong pain that cannot be cured easily.
8. Assured office supplies:
Even if all your work is on a computer, you will still need pencils, staples, pens, note pads and so on. If you have printer, then you will need papers to print on. Check if these are available as per the need from time to time. Remember you are in your home office and not at your regular office where there are people who assure that you get your stationeries on time.
9. A vision board:
Either get a good vision board or a white board, so that you can put up deadlines, reminders or pointers on it or you can even make one easily. Just use a foam board or a poster and you can put or post notes on it or pin up pictures or paper cuttings.
10. A desk calendar:
Even though a modern day computer is equipped with calendar and even your mobile might have one, it is always better to have a desk calendar on your desk so that you can mark deadline dates or other important dates. Since the calendar is always within your sight, you can easily remember deadline dates, etc which will help you to be on toes all the time and thus enable you to work more productively and there would be no delay.
You can also mark important occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries on the calendar so that you do not forget these precious occasions even while you are busy working away.
11. Adequate and sufficient lighting:
Natural light during day is preferable for home office but if that is not possible, then ensure that the area is well lit. If the lighting is poor, it will cause strain to your eyes and in addition to it, you will also not be motivated to work energetically. This will hamper your productivity. Get good quality lamps and proper lighting facilities so that your home office is suitably lit, both during the day and night.
12. A good view:
It is better to have your home office near a window that opens into a garden or beautiful scenery outside, but it is not always possible for everyone to get such a home office. In such a case, you can put up a good painting above your desk and you can take a break of few seconds to look at the colourful picture. This break will definitely enhance your creativity and boost your morale.
This is one of the must must haves for home office. The discipline to stick to deadlines, completing the work on time and to stay motivated. Since there is hardly anyone to check on you and you are not reporting hour by hour to any superior, this discipline is something that you have to instil on yourself. Keep your personal and professional time apart. Attend to your daily chores and other work either before starting your work or after completion of your work. Even if on emergency situations, you have to multitask and give both priority, then ensure that you come out as a winner.
Though the essentials might vary from person to person, these are the basic needs. A home office is where a person works with minimal or no supervision and hence he or she has to be disciplined in her or his own way so that the work is completed on time without much hassle.
A well equipped and a good home office ensures better output and also lends the much required motivation to work better and harder. When the home office offers convenience and comfort, which makes working easy, interesting and convenient, it becomes good or better than a regular office.
So, set up a proper and planned home office which will let your creative juice flow and will make you a better and more efficient worker.