In recent years, the number of people working from home has increased significantly. If you are planning on joining the bandwagon, here are some guidelines for setting up a home office which will ensure productivity and efficiency.
1. Write down the main needs
Before turning one of the rooms of your house into an office, write down a ‘critical needs’ list. Include all the basic items you require for your office e.g. a computer, desk, telephone, printer, among others. For instance, a fine artist would need a large table for their artwork and a smaller desk for a computer. A real estate agent, on the other hand, would need extra space for meeting with clients and for keeping storage cabinets. When writing your list of needs, consider all the ways possible uses of the home office.
2. Select a dedicated area
The list of needs will give you a good idea of the amount of space required for your home office. You can then set up your home office in a suitable area of your home. Choose a serene spot where you can have some solitude, especially if you live with a housemate, spouse or kids. A spare room which has a lockable door is an ideal choice. If you are intending to meet clients, you could consider setting up your home office in a room near the home’s entrance.
3. Balance storage and workspace needs
Most home offices can look cramped up due to limited space. However, with good organization and creativity, the working space can be maintained in a professional way. For instance, you could build a desk that has a working space at the top and cabinets at the base. Alternatively, you could choose to store your documents in a different room. However, remember that all the supplies or files that you use often need to be easily accessible.
4. Use proper lighting
Preferably, your home office should be located in a space which lets in as much natural light as possible. However, if your office doesn’t allow much light from outside, you need to think of appropriate alternatives. You can start by installing overhead fixtures to light up the general working area. If necessary, you could add floor lamps or desk lamps to illuminate your specific working space. Remember to position your computer screen in a way that prevents a glare. The idea is to have proper lighting which will reduce the possibility of eye strain.
5. Invest in proper equipment
When setting up a home office, it is very important to invest in the proper equipment from the onset. Some of the key equipment that you should invested in include a good desk with sufficient working space, a computer with efficient performance, a comfortable chair and a fast internet connection. It is also advisable to invest in a dedicated phone. Using a home phone is not advisable since clients might start taking your business less seriously. For instance, if a client calls and a child answers the phone, you will lose credibility. These risks can be avoided by using a dedicated phone line.
6. Establish office hours
Flexibility is one of the advantages of operating from a home office. However, you are still required to spend a considerable amount of time in your work. One of the best ways of staying focused is to have a fixed working schedule. You could consider operating using the standard office hours. This way, clients will know when you can be reached. Establishing office hours will help reduce distractions such as unannounced drop-ins and calls from family and friends.
Charles Mburugu is a work-at-home entrepreneur who blogs about setting up and running home businesses. He is currently involved in promoting deals such as the latest coupon codes for hp computers and coupon code for skin it. He also writes posts for blogs such as Profit on Knowledge.