How to set up a home office

SETTING UP A HOME OFFICE

Working from home

Running a business from home can be incredibly convenient but will also have its own set of challenges. One of these challenges is not setting up a structured office space where you take care of your business needs. Without this set space, it is too easy to fall into the trap of working haphazardly and not treating your home business in the business manner it needs.

Setting up your home office

First and foremost when setting up a home office there are some basics that need to be taken care of before moving onto to finer details.

Year round comfort

Think carefully as to which part of the house is most suitable for your home office.  Think of year round suitability.  A conservatory may get too hot in the summer and a north facing room may be cold in the winter unless you want to rack up additional heating bills.

Lighting and ventilation

Natural light is best for working long hours as artificial light can cause headaches and it is important to get some fresh air circulating if possible, particularly in the warmer months.

Distraction free zone

Where will you be able to work uninterrupted?  Setting up in the corner of your kitchen or sitting room may reduce your productivity with constant distractions from the rest of the family.  Can you find a space in a spare bedroom or other relatively unused room?

Space

You need to ensure there is enough space for you to have everything you need around you and to be comfortable.  Having some free wall space can be useful for hanging pin boards and vision boards.

Décor

The décor of a home office is so often overlooked but can make so much difference to how productive you can be.  If your office has warmth and character you are more likely to feel motivated to work.  Colour can also be important as colour psychology has a huge impact on how we feel.  The colour green is known to create a calming, positive mood so try adding some plants if you don’t have green in your colour scheme.

 

Office Equipment

In order to be able to operate your business effectively, you need to consider carefully what equipment is essential for you to set up.The basics are:

Desk

You need something from which to work on.  You may decide a table you already may be ok but is the right height so that you don’t suffer from arm ache?  Do you need shelving or drawers below or a keyboard shelf if the desk is not very deep?  Is there enough space to store files you are not working on whilst still having space to carry on with day to day work?

Filing cabinet

A filing cabinet can be quite useful so that you can organise your files and documents and reduce the risk of them getting lost.  This can be as small or as large as you need and it is advisable if you have confidential information you are working with to have a lockable cabinet.

Chair

If you spend long periods at a desk, a decent office chair is an essential piece of equipment to save yourself suffering lower back pain.  Take the time to source a comfortable chair that allows you to work in comfort for long periods.  Some features to look out for are:

  • adjustable seats
  • backrest
  • swivel base
  • cushioned seat
  • adjustable armrest
  • substantial lumbar support

Computer

Take your time when considering a desktop PC, laptop or other alternative such as iPad for use in your business.  Expensive is not always the best option.  Think about what you are going to use it for.  With cloud storage these days, a lower spec computer may be wholly sufficient for your needs as information will not be stored on it but on a cloud-based server.

The same type of consideration applies with buying a printer for your computer.

 

Communications

Broadband

A reliable broadband connection is vital today for having a reliable connection with your customers and business contacts.  If your broadband speeds are slow, contact your current ISP or shop around to investigate what other options are available.

Phone

It is wise to have a separate phone number dedicated for business use.  You really don’t want your teenage son answering the phone and grunting down the line!   If you have good broadband connection, VOIP may be a good idea or you can now buy a dedicated number that gets diverted to your mobile (again, you will need a good mobile connection).

Email

Set up a dedicated email account if you do not already have one.  Having a specific email connected to your domain name looks far more professional than a Hotmail or gmail account.