Working from home offers a variety of challenges and benefits. One of the most important things to do to ensure that you work successfully is creating and organising your home office. Having a designated area for working allows you to maximise your productivity, which will make the task of working from home much easier. Most home offices can be designed with one person in mind, so you can build a space that suits your needs and that of the job. Here are eight ways of creating a user-friendly home office.
1. Dedicate space to working
When you work from home it can be hard to get enough distance between your home life and your job. Make this easier by creating an office at home that is used only during your working hours. If there’s lots of space then having a room dedicated to the office where you can close the door at the end of the day is ideal. If the room you are working in also serves another purpose consider getting a desk that can be closed up at the end of the day, so that paperwork and to-do lists are out of the way.
2. Minimise distractions
It’s vital that you have a decent amount of privacy and quiet around your home office, so no television on the background, kitten sitting on top of your printer or children playing in the same room. If you are living with family or pets keep your ‘office’ out of bounds during your work hours. A lot of home workers start out by putting their desk near the window to have something nice to look at and then end up day dreaming. If your work space faces the wall you will get less distracted and the light from the window will be your desk area brighter.
3. Focus on comfort
If you are going to be sitting at your desk all day it’s essential to be comfortable. In an external office the chairs and other equipment are all ergonomically designed to make the desk work with you. This should be the case at home too. Invest in a chair with lumbar support and armrests, and check that the computer screen and keyboard are at the right height.
4. Get organised
It’s important that you know where everything is, after all, there won’t be anyone else to ask. Have a filing system that is well-labelled, an in-tray and a diary so you can write your to-do lists and make a note of any calls you get. Keep the items you use on a day to day basis in the top drawers and ensure that everything has a dedicated storage spot.
5. Keep it tidy
Just because you’re not sharing your office with the boss doesn’t mean you should let the space get messy. Clutter can be extremely distracting. Get rid of things you no longer need: recycle any paperwork and file any projects that you are no longer working on. Allowing things to pile up means you might end up missing an urgent invoice or letter, so stay neat.
6. Sort out your hardware and software
It needs to be worker friendly. Some companies that employ home workers will supply all the equipment you need, but if you’re working for yourself you might need to consider having a separate phone and wireless connection. Laptops are great for those who have meetings elsewhere or travel a lot, and you can take all your files with you. In the office your files will be backed-up on the server, but at home an external hard-drive can do the job for you.
7. Remember to switch off at the end of the day
One of the things that people struggle with when they are working from home is stepping away from their work at the end of the day. It’s essential to keep a work/life balance. Around an hour before you are due to clock off take stock of the things that still need to be done, prioritise and work out what can be left until tomorrow.
Would you be interested in working from home? Enterprise have some great opportunities for home workers if you’re based anywhere in the UK and possess the right skills.