It’s time to setup your home office. Many of us are currently making the move to work from home for the first time. And while you might have a “home office” suitable for jotting off a quick memo, you might not have something ready for extensive labor. Here are some tips for setting up a home office that you can be comfortable, happy, and productive in.
1. Choose the Right Space
Don’t just pop your laptop in the living room and call it a day. You need to find a place that is well-suited for work. Pick a spare room, or an area that’s otherwise isolated. You need to be able to use your computer or go through your documents without worrying about other people. If you’re going to have conference calls, you also need to be able to keep the noise down and have some privacy.
Converting a walk-in closet is an old trick. Many walk-in closets are the perfect size for an office. If you don’t have additional space, consider setting up a “floating” office. Get a table that you can setup anywhere, and claim the space you want for the day.
2. Set Ground Rules
Your family wouldn’t pop into work unexpectedly, so they shouldn’t pop into your office space unexpectedly. Make sure they know when you’re going to be working and lay down some rules that will work for everyone, such as not bothering you during “business hours.” It’s hard to concentrate when people keep talking to you, even if it’s just to ask if you need something.
Let your household know beforehand if you need quiet for a conference call. But also let everyone know when they can be lout and have fun, otherwise it’s a recipe for frustration. Make sure your rules don’t favour only one person in the house! Your work is important, but everyone else’s lives are too.
3. Make Sure You Have the Right Setup and Supplies
An ideal office will have good lighting as well as a window for fresh air. A few potted plants will also clean up the air and be emotionally calming. Have a clock somewhere to keep track of time, and make sure that you have a comfortable desk and chair. Check your posture frequently when you’re working.
- Make sure your monitor is at eye level.
- Invest in wrist rests for your keyboard and mouse.
- Make sure your wrists and forearms are straight when typing.
- Keep your feet firmly on the floor with your shins and thighs at a right angle.
Ergonomics will prevent you from having aches and pains during the day. You may also need a list of supplies and places to keep them. You might have had a wealth of office supplies at work, but now you need to stock them yourself.
4. Separate Your Work from Your Personal Life
Both your work life and your personal life is important. While you’re working, it’s important to make sure you aren’t distracted. Concentrate solely on work, and you’ll feel better and more productive. Otherwise, you may find your day dragging. You may end up having to actually extend your hours to have to compensate for the time that you spent doing other things.
By the same token, make sure that you aren’t hung up on work in your spare time. When you’re off, it’s time for yourself and your family. Make sure you don’t “take work home with you,” in the sense of letting it intrude on your other responsibilities. Being more productive at work generally makes it easier to “let work go” at other times. Make sure your coworkers and your bosses know when you are off work, so they don’t pressure you into work at inconvenient times.
It can be hard to adapt to any new office. But if you follow the above steps, you’ll soon have a home office that you never want to leave. Many employers may be switching to a work from home infrastructure and may never switch back from it. Think about your long-term health and comfort while you build your new office, and make sure that you’re healthy, comfortable, and properly organized.
Want to learn more about developing the perfect home office? Check out the organizational tips at Get Organized Wizard.