Deciding to start working from home is one of the most rewarding, most empowering, and most terrifying prospects you can face in your professional life. In this article we look at How to Organise a Home Office.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about setting up your home office, and some of the biggest mistakes people make when they decide to work at home.
Table of Contents
Three Things To Consider Before You Begin
Before deciding if working from home is right for you, there are a few things you’ll need to consider, not the least of which is the impact that this will have on your family, especially if you have young children.
Children have potential Kryptonite for productivity when it comes to working from home as in most cases, they don’t understand/care that you’re “working”.
They know mommy/daddy is home, and if they want something (or see a pretty butterfly), they’re going to come running. Once the kids are in school, working from home gets so much easier.
Location, Location, Location
The second thing to consider is whether or not you have the space to set up a home office. A laptop on the kitchen table may be fine in some cases, but when it comes to running an actual business, or telecommuting to your existing job, it’s just simply not going to cut it.
Now I’m not saying that you need to remodel the house, or even that you need a dedicated room (my first “home office” was a corner of my bedroom), but you will need a designated area (with the appropriate power/phone/cable outlets) to set up in.
Is Working From Home the Best Idea
Depending on the nature of your business, and the tools you have to work with, working at home may not always be the best alternative.
All across the country, Kinkos, The UPS Store, and a few others are starting to offer “rentable offices”.
You pay a flat fee to rent the office for a few hours a day, and as such, you now have all of the benefits of working in a large corporate office, at a fraction of the cost.
The other upside to this option is that it gets you out of the house, and lets you interact with other people during the day.
We’ll cover more on each of these topics, plus a lot more in this article, so grab another cup of coffee, and let’s get started.
Where to Set Up Your Home Office
Like any other major project, the first step is the planning phase. A dedicated room is the best alternative when it comes to a home office, however, that’s not always possible.
In this section, we’ll go over the key things you’ll need to have as far as space goes, and how to make the most of that space, once you have it, and build a productive workspace at home.
Hook Me Up
The first thing you’ll need to do is to make sure you have the necessary hook-ups for your equipment. You’ll need an Internet Connection, whichever type you happen to use (DSL/Cable/Dial-Up), or a strong signal from your wireless router.
Your phone/cable provider can install additional outlets if necessary, so stay away from the D.I.Y. network for this one, and let a professional handle it.
As for power outlets, I use a surge protector* that has multiple outlets built into it, so that’s a pretty easy one to handle. Just make sure you don’t overload your outlets.
At the very least you can blow a fuse, and worst-case scenario, you could start a fire that burns your house to the ground and then spreads all across the neighborhood in an apocalyptic inferno of destruction.
Okay, so maybe that last part was a little bit of an exaggeration, but still, it could be bad.
It’s Quiet… Almost Too Quiet
That’s just a joke, there is no such thing as “too quiet” when it comes to working at home. You can always play some music if you need some white noise, but it’s best to keep things as quiet as possible.
If you have kids you’ll need to make sure that there’s someone there to take care of them while you work.
Again, this is the difference between doing some work at home, and “working at home”.
No one said it’s going to be easy, nor should it be, but it’s the difference between spending 8 hours at work and getting things done, and spending all day playing with the kids, watching T.V., surfing the web, or goofing off on Facebook.
It’s called “Working” at home for a reason.
The furniture part is a pretty straightforward topic. You’ll need a desk of some sort and a comfortable chair, and that’s really about it.
The type of desk and chair you’re going to get will depend on where your office is located, so in this section, I’ll cover a few different styles of office desks, just to give you an idea so that you have something to visualize while planning.
Office In a Dedicated Room
L-Shape Wood Executive Desk: This is exactly like the desk in my office. I love the L-Shape style of the desk as it gives me a large workspace to spread things out on.
I have a somewhat large monitor for my computer and this gives me plenty of room for it, as well as my phone and printer, without feeling cluttered.
Executive Bow Front Desk: This desk has a much more modern, “corporate” feel to it. There is a relatively large workspace for this style of desk, and more than enough storage/drawer space to store anything you may want to hang on to.
The biggest advantage of this style of desk is its size. It’s large enough to serve as an office desk but small enough to fit into a corner of the living room if you don’t have a dedicated room for it.
Office In A Smaller Room
If your office is going to be in a smaller room (such as your bedroom, or a corner of the kitchen), you’ll need a much smaller desk.
You’re going to sacrifice workspace in favor of size, but this model by Furinno gives you the best of both worlds.
It gives you just enough workspace to be a viable option. Storage is almost non-existent, so that’ll be an issue at some point.
Home Laptop Notebook Computer Desk
This is another great option by Furinno that’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from the one above.
This one gives you next to no workspace, however, considering its overall size, there is a generous amount of storage.
It’s also a much more upright and compact design than the other desks on this list. This small footprint makes it possible to put this desk anywhere.
Desktops: Desktop computers will always be the best for a home business. They are much more powerful, have tons more storage, and are more secure.
I know you, laptop enthusiasts, out there are screaming right now, but I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is.
It’s also much safer to have a computer that’s not constantly subject to environmental dangers (i.e. getting dropped, lost, stolen, etc.).
When working at home, a desktop computer should always be your “main” computer.
Laptops: Laptop computers are great for increasing productivity. They give you the ability to work from almost anywhere, and now (thanks to new software and services) you can have access to all of the files stored on your home computer.
As I mentioned above, you should always have a Desktop Computer as the foundation of your home office, but laptops make great additions.
Tablets: Tablet PCs (like the iPad, and the Android) are still a little too new to make them viable additions to your home office arsenal.
They do have some great functionality, and they pretty much set the standard when it comes to “next-level, Star Trek type” cool, but for the money, I’d hold off until you can afford the extravagance.
Home: I can’t stress how important a home phone is for anyone working from home. Cell phone batteries die, calls get dropped, and cell phones can get lost or broken, all of which can cost you time and money.
Having a home phone gives you a dedicated hard line phone that you can use for business, without having to worry about any of the variables I mentioned above.
Cell: Cell phones are essential in this day and age, even more so for anyone working from home. The ability to conduct business anywhere is essential when you don’t have a large corporate revenue stream to support you.
Cell phones are getting stronger and more multi-functional, so as time goes on, you’ll be able to do more and more with your cell phone.
There are also things like Printers, Printer Inks, Paper, Pens, Filing Cabinets, Additional Storage, Calculators, Pencils, Paper Clips, Staplers, Post-It Notes, Blue Light Glasses the list goes on and on.
Articles you may also find helpful:
- The Pros and Cons of Working from Home
- Ideas That Will Improve Efficiency While Working From Home
- Goal Setting Tips to Boost your Personal Growth
- Freelance & Parenting: How to Keep the Balance Between Work & Kids
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Bianca J. Ward used to be a divorce coach, but now she is a professional online essay writer at EssayWriterFree where she provides people with qualified works. Besides, she is a passionate photographer and traveler who has visited 52 countries all over the world. Bianca dreams about creating a photo exhibition to present her works to others.