An increasing number of employers are realizing how beneficial it can be, to both their employees, and to their company itself, to allow their staff to work from home for at least part of the time. It’s a good job too, as this is something an increasing number of those considered ‘top talent’ within all kinds of niches are looking for when choosing between employers.
To work at home however, you do need to create a physical office space, and this is something that is becoming a more common home remodeling challenge as well as a personal one. However, there is more to setting up a home office than just creating the space itself.
Whatever work you do from home, you need to make sure you have everything you will need to start your work on hand and also that you have a plan in place to keep your workflow going in the event of an unforeseeable problem like a power outage or the Internet going down. And all of this can seem like quite the challenge.
It does not have to be that way though, as long as you devise and execute a solid plan in advance and then take the time to follow through properly. Here are some tips and tricks to help get you started.
Set Up Your Home Office – Choosing the Physical Space
The chances are that you do not have the budget to spend a lot of money creating your new home office or to have a consultant come in to help you decide on what the best use of the available space is in the way your employer might back at work.
You may also not really have the money to do a lot of remodeling work to home to create a brand new space to work in. Fortunately there are ways to create a physical office space in your home that will be workable without spending a lot of money.
In an ideal situation you can turn an under-used room in your home into your home office but for many people that is just not something that they actually have. Therefore you have to get a little more creative when it comes to finding a suitable space.
There are of course certain musts that need to be in place for any room or space in your home to function as an office. These will include:
●An adequate number of electrical outlets – Whatever work you will be doing at home you will probably need the minimum of a computer, a phone and a printer and all of these things need power, so ensuring that you choose a space that has enough electrical outlets in a convenient place is a must.
●A way to ‘close the door’ – Wherever you locate your home office you need to have a way to separate your office space from the rest of your ‘home space’. Ideally that would be a physical door but if that is not possible you will at least need a screen of some kind. The last thing you want is to make working at home as unhealthily stressful as it might have been back at the office.
●Enough Room to Work In – Even if your work will mainly involve being on the computer or on the phone, you will still need enough room to spread out without feeling claustrophobic or cramped.
●Plenty of Light – Working from home means that you are dealing with residential lighting schemes instead of the industrial one you are used to. Wherever you set up your home office you need to make sure that there is – or you can add – adequate lighting so that not only will you be able to see to work properly but also it will not feel like you are working in a dungeon!
Setting Up a Home Office – Spaces You May Have Overlooked
If you do not have a separate room available to turn into your home office, then you will have to create the space almost out of nothing. Before you settle for screening off a corner of the kitchen or the living room – which is really not the best solution – see if any of these options are available to you:
●Office in the closet – If you have a large closet, or even an old armoire, and your main office supplies are things like your computer, phone and printer then it is perfectly possible to turn it into a self contained home office.
●Space under the stairs – If you have a staircase in your home there may be room in the space underneath to create a home office.
●Re-purpose a room – Is there a room in your home, a formal dining room for example, that you really do not use that often that could be given over to your home office?
Choosing the Right Office Furniture and the Right Tech
You may have a desk and chair you already use casually on hand at home you are considering using for your work from home business purposes. As long as it is truly comfortable that is fine but make sure that is the case. You will probably spend a lot of time at your new home office desk, so that you are not hunched over or too cramped up is very important.
This is especially true of your chair. Investing in a real office style chair may be a little more expensive than borrowing a chair from the dining table but the investment is a great one to make, especially in terms of your health.
For office tech, even the most practical of businesses needs a computer these days. It may be possible for you to continue to use the one you already own but as your work will at least partially depend on it functioning correctly now may be a good time to invest in a dedicated business machine.
Why buy a business class PC instead of a cheap model at Walmart? Mainly because you need a reliable computer that will last. Most low end consumer machines are not even designed to last for more than a couple of years and so the extra money should pay off as a long term investment.
This may also be a very good time to start learning some basics about computer maintenance for yourself, as you will no longer have an IT department to turn to. This does not have to mean taking a special class that you really do not have the time for, there are plenty of good books out there to help you gain the basic knowledge you might need.
While you are choosing tech should also look at your current Internet service and decide if you need to upgrade to a business account. These days many ISPs are limiting the amount of bandwidth that residential accounts can use in a month and will often suspend accounts if they exceed those limits.