Lots of us are setting up a home office these days. We need one because we’re working from home either full-time or for part of the week, or because one of the family has a side-gig that needs time and space away from the other members.
When you’re thinking about how your home office should look, it’s easy to get carried away with visions of a treadmill in the corner, a hammock, a water feature… In reality, all you need is a relatively quiet and motivating space so you can get things done. You also need to stay in budget, so here’s the essentials of the perfect home office.
Preparing the space
Ideally you should be separate from the rest of the household, even if the office is actually in your house. This helps you to make a clear divide between work and home (although getting this through to your dog and children might not be so easy…).
You also need to think about what you need in the space. Will you be on the phone a lot? On your laptop? Do you need one monitor or two? Do you need a printer regularly? An ergonomic desk and chair? All of these factors will determine what goes into the office and how it’s all laid out.
Size doesn’t matter, but separation does
Just because your office is in your home or your garden doesn’t mean that it’s not a workspace, no matter how big or small it is. Just as you wouldn’t dry your laundry next to your desk at work or take your office chair home, you need to create and maintain very clear boundaries between what’s used for work and what happens at work. The same goes for work hours. Obviously, when you’re self-employed you’ll have the occasional late-night rush to finish up a project, but you should never get into the habit of answering client calls and emails in the evenings.
The physical layout
You’re always going to need the basics – a chair, a desk and some storage furniture. You’ll probably spend most of your time at your desk, so make sure you have everything you need immediately by it – filing cabinet, printer, phone and so on. Order might be boring in itself, but it paves the way for creativity.
Your colour scheme
Of course, this is up to you, but most people prefer their working environment to be on the cooler, calmer and more creative part of the spectrum. Greens, blues and maybe a touch of yellow often work best when it comes to your palette. You might want a feature wall for a bit of vibrancy, but keep most of your space calm and focussed.
Your equipment and furnishings
If you’re working from home and especially if you’re self-employed, then efficiency and speed is vital. You need to buy the best quality equipment and software that you can afford so that you’re not plagued with outages, crashes and, when it comes to furniture, a painful back or RSI.
A laptop is probably best so that you can take some work home with you if you ever need to, as well as a comfortable chair, a footrest and a wrist-supporting mouse-mat.
If you’re working in a garden office, then there’s some form of physical barrier already, which is great. However, if your workspace is in your house, then you’ll need it to be in a spare room or at least sectioned off from your family members by a screen or tall bookshelf. Once you’re ensconced at your desk, headphones in and tapping away, then everyone (including you) knows you’re busy earning a crust.« Back to Latest News