So, it is time to make a home office. Maybe you’re transitioning into maternity leave, or back out of it again. Maybe you’ve taken the plunge into self-employment. Or perhaps your jobs allows you to work one or two days a week from home, and you’re tired of working from the kitchen counter! Whatever the reason, help is at hand with this guide. Creating the perfect home office isn’t easy, but there are some great ways to make the journey faster and more affordable. Read on to find out more.
Whether you have a mansion or a small living space, a space dedicated to your getting your work done is discoverable.
If you have a large home, you’ll have an entire room to turn into an office. This is fantastic news. It gives you lots of space to work with, and means you can physically shut the door!
However, if you don’t have an obvious choice of room to use, you might need to get a little more creative! Rather than sticking an old desk in the corner of the living room, explore other options. Could you finally clear out your attic, or basement, and use that? And don’t forget about space in your garden? Do you have a shed or summerhouse, or is there room to install or build one? If you make it yourself, it might not cost as much as you’d think. Alternatively, you might already have one, and in this scenario, you’ll just have to renovate your shed. Garages can also be turned into a home office. As long as you can make the space well-lit and warm in the winter, the rest will follow!
Wherever you decide to create your home office, the key is that you can’t be cramped. Being so will cramp your thoughts too, and clutter will distract you.
On the topic of distractions, this too should be a big part of finding your office space. Whether it’s noise distraction or family distractions, neither is going to be conducive to work. Earplugs and headphones can only go so far. We’ll get to rules later, but getting the location right in the first place can save hassle further down the line.
Once you’ve decided where your home office will go, it is time to decide on the decor. The key here is getting the balance right between inspiring and distracting. It’s easy to get carried away with lots of wall decor and colors, but this might actually do more harm than good.
A sensible starting point is to pick a color scheme. This might be yellow, gray and white, for example. As you can see, this is a nice contrast between a warm and bright color, and two more muted, neutral colors. So, you could have some yellow photo frames and a yellow desk lamp in the room at all times. As fresh cut flowers are always a beautiful addition to any office, you can have any yellow or white ones; whichever are in season. However, none of these brightly colored items because they are accompanied by the two simpler colors.
The same rule applies for whichever color scheme you choose. So, you might go for pink, white and black. Or blue, gray and cream. One bright color and two neutral colors is always a good bet! Then, once you have your basis, you can start experimenting with a little more. Add and take away until you get the right balance. A couple of orange pencil holders isn’t going to ruin the whole room, but an entire orange feature wall might!
Also, all the decor to support your comfort in the room. A good pair of curtains can help regulate the light while a thick carpet or rug underfoot will keep your feet warm.
Some would argue that the desk is the single most important part of a room. It is true that getting it right will make a difference to how well you work. As we’ve already mentioned, it shouldn’t be cluttered. Your computer, keyboard, mouse, and notebook are the basics. A single photo frame, pen holder, vase and a couple of books will also be fine. But be aware of anything more. If you have excessive items in your peripheral vision, they will only distract you. If there are other items you want close by, like hand cream or sticky notes, keep them in a box instead.
It is also important that the desk is the right height. Hopefully, if you’ve bought or are using a piece of furniture designed as a desk, it should already conform properly. But if for any reason you are using something else, like a dining table, make sure it is correct. You shouldn’t have to hunch your shoulders to type or right, and you should be able to put your computer screen at eye line. Of course, the right chair effects this too. Which we reach now…
It is absolutely imperative that you have a supportive chair in your home office.
You’ll also want a more relaxed seat for reading or taking breaks. Sometimes moving away from your desk for a little while is a good idea. An armchair can feel a little formal, and also takes up quite a lot of room. A better alternative is something like a bean bag chair. Something like this also allows you to move it around and use it elsewhere in the house if needs be.
To keep clutter off your desk but you essential items still close at hand, you’ll want to erect some shelving units in the room. You can use these to keep books, notebooks, more stationery and files and folders on. If you are self-employed, you’ll likely have a lot of paperwork relating to this. You can keep this in a box here also.
So they don’t distract you, consider placing them out of your line of sight. Alternatively, if you aren’t easily phased, have them directly above your desk. This means you can read files and folder just by reaching up!
Lift the items down every two or three and give the shelves a good dusting down. You can also use this time to do any rearranging. It there are some files you only to need access once a month, but others you reach for every day, put the more important ones closer to you. These seconds add up on a busy day.
An effective home office has to have rules, for both you and the other people you live with. After all, a traditional office has rules; yours should too!
As for rules for yourself, follow the bedroom rule. Your bedroom should only be used for sleeping and intimate activities. Your office should only be used for working. If you use it for other things, you’ll feel like you never leave work. You can have comfortable seating for work-related activities like a tea-break or work-related reading. But you shouldn’t do any of your relaxing in this room. Move into another room for movies, novels and mealtimes.
Rules for everyone else are important too. If you have children, they need to understand that the room or space is now for you to work in. This means that they can’t be running in whenever they fancy. The should also understand that they shouldn’t draw pretty pictures on any of your paperwork! Set out the rules right from the start so they are totally clear.
You might also want to set the rule that your pet isn’t allowed in the room. You might love your cute kitten or puppy, but they might distract you too much.
Two important aspects of the room that also need addressing are the light and the temperature. The light should be enough that you work easily without squinting your eyes. The temperature should also be steady. Too cold and it will distract you. Too hot and you’ll start to feel sleepy!
It is pretty common to think that the best office is one filled with all the latest tech. But actually, what is important is having the right things, not the fanciest or newest things. Ask yourself this; “what technology and gadgets will make my life easier?” This will help you see that the latest incredible speakers aren’t that important. However, a printer perhaps will really help. Something like this will save you money in the long run if you need to do a lot of printing. It will also save you time on going to a printing shop, or to another room in the house.
Something you might want to consider investing in, if you don’t already have one and use a laptop, is a proper computer screen. As it will likely be bigger, it will be easier to work on, and better for your eyes. It will also mean that you have two screens to work from, as a simple cable will link your laptop and screen up.