When you’re stuck in a cubicle for years, often all you can dream about is having the freedom to work from the comfort of your home. No more daily hassles of commuting every morning to work, no traffic, less fuel consumption and you will be able to spend more time with your family.
You will also have your own office, your own tools, your own office decorations that suit your taste and you can wear any comfortable clothes while working. It’s convenient, more comfortable and you have complete control of everything. Currently more people are working from home than ever before, but working from home can also be a double-edged sword. Do it right and it will be the best working experience you can get, do it wrong and it will bring down your work and family life at the same time.
You can be successful in a home office environment, but it will also come down to the conditions you work within. Distractions from home can also limit your productivity like house errands, taking care of the kids, TV, gardening and doing groceries.
Why You Need A Dedicated Home Office Space
When you work from home, the line between work life and home life will get blurred and in some cases, it gets lost.
The first thing you need to do is choose the area that you’ll be working in. This is ideally a special room to be set aside for work. If client appointments or meetings are to be held in your office, you want to make sure that the home office can be accessed without going through any communal or personal spaces. Also, this dedicated space provides an area that you can actually call “work” and assist in productivity. ie. Working from the dining room table will be counterproductive.
Once you’ve chosen your work space, make sure you have resources that are readily available for a constant and consistent setup that you can leave and return to daily. For example, use a desk that’s big enough to accommodate your computer, phone, printer or any other tools you need to be productive.
Separate Work Life and Home Life
Separating home life and work life is more than just physical separation. You have to establish a mental separation where you set specific hours during which you’ll be “at work” even though your home and office is in the same address.
Talk to your family or roommates about this. Tell them that you’ll be working from home and some ground rules will be made to avoid any confusion along the way. As much as possible, remove distractions so you can be productive. Do all your house errands before your allocated start time so that your focus will be on all your tasks.
Make Your Office Space Comfortable
For you to be more productive, make your home office as comfortable as possible. It’s your office and it’s your own rules, so can do anything that will make you comfortable and productive at the same time. You’ll be spending hours in your office so make it useful and comfortable. There are several things that you need to have in your home office:
- A quality office chair. Comfort and productivity start with a quality office chair. Having the right chair will help you with your posture, lets you focus and provide more energy when working. Invest in a chair with good lumbar support and adjustable height to match your desk height when you sit on it. Also, check it has the right softness and the material is breathable. Test out different chairs and see what’s comfortable for you.
- A suitable desk. Having a larger desk allows you to spread out and leaves room for extra equipment if needed. One way of maximizing desk space if opting for an L-shaped desk. This gives you the flexibility of having two separate work spaces for different parts of the same project. It’s also safer since there is so much space to put your water, coffee or juice while working. Also having a big desk will not have a cramped feel. If you need a break from sitting long hours, you can also add a high counter or a high table where you can work while standing up. If your home office space is small, then choose a suitable desk for the available space, that also doesn’t hinder too much on your working style.
- Natural lighting. Natural light in a workplace is linked to a general well-being, better health and increased productivity. Natural light also decreases the occurrence of eye strain and headaches, according to a review from the Natural Renewable Energy Laboratory. If natural light is not available, make sure that you’re using full spectrum light bulbs because it will almost have the same effect as natural light. It’s also best to open the windows from time to time to let fresh air circulate around the office.
Once you have finished all your tasks, go out and spend time with family. Go and see a movie, have a dinner somewhere or have a BBQ in the yard. Enjoy the perks of working from home… freedom!