So you work from home. Are you as productive as possibly can be? Probably not. Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your habits. But if you’re going to be honest with yourself, you’re probably not as efficient or productive as you could be.
Working from home often means distractions, and those distractions can come from anywhere. Maybe you’ve got a list of chores that need to be taken care of before the kids get home. Maybe you’re like the majority of the nation and are obsessed with Facebook and other social media. Maybe you just enjoy watching TV. Anyway you shake it, there are things in the house that can certainly detract from the work you need to get done. After all, if you weren’t working, you probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to take care of all those chores.
So what is the solution? More often than not, people just need a dedicated workspace, and that’s where a home office comes in handy. In fact, it’s probably your best bet when fighting procrastination and distractions.
But creating the perfect home office can be difficult, too. You’ve got to consider a lot, which is why we’ll break down what needs to go into a home office.
Here are things to consider when putting together your home office:
The location of your home office is crucial. Not only do you need to get out of the space you normally procrastinate in, but you also need to consider how much space you’ll need, and whether that room will keep you motivated to keep working (windows, doors, etc. — if you’ve got a windowless room and get restless often, you’ll want to rethink your room choice). Doors come in handy because they act as a physical barrier between the home and the work space.
Ergonomics and space —
You need to be comfortable. It’s imperative to your productivity. But it’s about more than just finding that perfect chair and desk to support your back. You need to take a look at lighting, at space in the office space, at overall accessibility in the office space. If you’re cramped in the space, you’re going to naturally begin to slip into poor posture. The more uncomfortable you are, the more appealing your living room is going to start to look. This is exactly what you don’t want.
I’ve met a few different people through business school that still keep hard files. They may even manually write the numbers for all their business transactions. While you may be accustomed to performing this way, you may want to consider digital alternatives. Rather than doing all your book work, filing (just get rid of those filing cabinets already!) manually, you could get software for small business by Quickbooks. Programs like this help you digitize your budget and accounting programs, as well as save those important files in one handy place. Now you’ll be able to fill the places those filing cabinets used to be with something much more useful for the comfort of the room.
Setting up communication —
If you’re working from home, being able to communicate is crucial to your success. When doing my own freelance work, I had to be able to communicate with clients whenever they needed me, or whenever I need them. This means that you need to make sure the room in which your office goes has all the connections to support your communications needs. Make sure there are Internet jacks, phone lines (just in case you have bad cell phone reception or are prone to dropping calls), and enough of them to get other crucial communications measures.
On a related note, but more of a functionality point than anything, you should really consider getting a wireless headset or Bluetooth. If you’re on the phone all the time, it can become tiring having to hold your arms up for multiple extended periods of time throughout the day. Again, this kind of gets back to being comfortable.
Be sure to set time for yourself —
The key to having a home office is so that you have a place to get work done without the everyday distractions. But that doesn’t mean you need to shut yourself in the room the whole day. In fact, in order to be most productive, you need to make a little time for the things that you enjoy. I really enjoy working out, so I made a little time each day to do that.
Ultimately, it comes down to finding a schedule that works for you and allows you to get done everything that you need to get done. By doing the things you enjoy doing, taking just a little time each day, you’ll be much happier and will be more productive.
Be sure to call it what it is —
This office may be in your house, but it is still your office. Get in the habit of calling it that — your office. Psychologically, this helps program that room as a place to work, rather than another space in your house. Eventually, you’ll start viewing it like that and it could hurt your productivity.
When planning your home office, you’ll need to think of several different things. You’ll need to consider the design of the office and how you and everything you need are going to fit in it. Are you going to be comfortable? Will you be as productive as possible? Do you have all the equipment you need to successfully communicate? Your home office can be a place of great productivity and freedom. All you need to do is pay attention to the little things.