The Ultimate Guide To Setting Up A Home Office that Works for You
A home office is commonly described as a space within the place that you live, which can be customized to allow for optimum productivity, privacy, and flexibility. There are many reasons why someone might want to set up a home office, such as saving money in the long run, or even if you have an injury or illness that can make leaving the house difficult.
Thanks to modern technology and a more consistent level of internet connectivity than ever before, it is possible for huge numbers of people to work from home and create their own peaceful space in which to be the most productive. People are even finding new jobs that allow them to be fully remote with no hassle during the onboarding process either.
More people are working from home nowadays, as they are enjoying the freedom, independence, and comfort that it offers. Additionally, it offers the chance to save money and time commuting, as well as ensuring that your pets have plenty of company during the day.
Everyone’s mind works differently, and the typical office configuration might not encourage productivity for some people. Home offices offer so much flexibility when it comes to finding a layout and configuration that suits you. Many people enjoy standing desks to offer mobility, while others are more productive sitting on the floor.
Because of social norms, it’s often difficult to explore how different surfaces and levels can affect productivity. Many people tend to feel embarrassed when admitting that the standard office set up might not be the best environment for them to work in. It's definitely worth taking the time to figure out when you are the most productive and comfortable, and create a home office atmosphere around that.
Fundamentally, one of the biggest benefits of integrating a home office into your household is that there is the freedom to have fun with it and make the space your own. Whether you have the luxury of a spare room or study to set one up in, or even if there is a spacious corner with potential, there is no reason why a home office has to be massively expensive or traditional.
Setting up a home office can also allow you to save money. A lot of people will stop by for a coffee on their daily commute, or even travel costs alone can rake up monthly outgoing costs. Not only that, but companies are able to save money on certain bills such as office rent and even heating or air conditioning.
Small and large companies often benefit from having their employees based at home, because of the costs saved and being able to remotely support their workers. There is more money to feed back into the company or firm to allow better overall employee experience, for things like Christmas parties, or even offering bonuses. Integrating home offices into the modern workforce allows companies to economize and provide more support to colleagues.
Of course, one of the biggest setbacks of a home office is the reliance on technology and internet connection. It is important to ensure that you set up your office in a spot that has a reliable Wi-Fi connection and plenty of power outlets.
Additionally, if your computer or laptop is not as reliable, it can be pretty frustrating to regularly work from. Most companies send their employees a laptop or computer to allow them to do their work, although there is still a heavy reliance on electricity and internet.
With the move to the modern world, it is easy to make the switch to home offices, however this remains less of an option for those who work in customer-facing environments such as hospitality. The service industry, manual fields and hospitals are all places which need in-person attendance. Home offices are only really an option for those whose work is largely administrative.
With more people working from home than ever before, it is easy to place too much reliance on workers. Some employees who are not checked up on consistently might find it easier to lie about their workload. Different types of personalities need certain levels of supervision, which is why it is necessary for managers and supervisors to carry out regular meetings.
It can be easy for some people to be less productive in comparison to an office environment, so employers need to carefully schedule meetings and check-ups to ensure that they are hitting the necessary deadlines. Most companies offer weekly video-based meetings, which are a great opportunity to raise concerns and answer pressing questions.
It can be hard to know how your brain works and what conditions allow you to be the most productive, which is why this guide covers some main ways you can explore your home and assess which space encourages you to get the most done.
Whether you want to make your home office more comfortable, or if you are starting from scratch, these are some tips and ideas that you can use to make a custom environment. Obviously, this is just a brief covering with some suggestions, and it is up to you to make the space your own.
The first thing to do is think about where you want to work. Find a place in your home that is airy, bright and comfortable. A room or even a cozy corner is ideal. Make sure that you aren’t working in a heavy traffic area or corridor. Realistically, one of the first things you need to think about is if you have the room in your home for setting up an office. For those in smaller apartments it might not be the case, so check the layout of your space and decide where would be best.
It’s important to separate work and home life, which is why a lot of people enjoy having a door to close during their downtime. An added benefit of the luxury that comes with having a separate room for an office is the ability to shut it off and create clear boundaries. Of course, this isn’t always possible when working with the space you’ve got.
This is why a lot of people find using a less frequently used nook within the home helpful, as it can act as the same thing- purely an area used for work that won’t be touched on the weekends. Enforcing clear boundaries allows you to properly switch off and feel like your brain isn’t always in work mode.
The Ideal Office Setup at Home
These are some key things to focus on when you are setting up your own workspace, that can be customized to suit you and the way your brain works. Make sure that you know how you take in new information, and what conditions enable you to process it efficiently. This should be one of the fundamental starting points to base your home office configuration off.
We’ve covered the importance of setting boundaries between home and work life, but another thing to work on is enforcing privacy if your workspace is in an open area. This is your chance to get creative with dividers like curtains or floor-based screens. For those with the advantage of a spare bedroom, basement, or under stairs space, it is easier to designate an area to be your office.
Alternatively, if you are more limited and want to get set up in an open space, make sure that it is seldom used by you or other members of your household. This will discourage traffic and regular interruptions during calls or meetings.
Good work height
A good desk is definitely something worth investing in, because you will be using it most of the time while working from home. Whether you want a custom table and chair set up, or want to save money by finding a second hand desk, make sure that optimum work conditions are possible with the right height.
You should also consider your height, as taller people benefit from slightly taller desks, while shorter people work best with slightly shorter desks. Most good work surfaces have height adjustments, and some modern tables even offer a standing desk option.
For those wanting to ensure that they stay upright and want to even integrate walking into their work day, being able to easily change the desk arrangement can be highly beneficial. Installing a treadmill into their stand up desk is a great way to improve daily step count, encourage productivity and focus.
Not to mention, allow you to move your feet if you are the type of person who has difficulty sitting still for long periods of time. Try to find a setup with a few options that you can easily switch between.
Ideal monitor height
In addition to changing desk height, your monitor level can change eye line and area of focus, which is why it’s worth checking where your eyes naturally focus at a desk. When you are sitting correctly, most laptops don’t offer users the chance to change monitor settings. If you have a laptop or computer, it could be beneficial to play around with the height of the screen using desk height or even by raising it with large books.
A comfortable and healthy chair
Being sat at a desk all day isn’t the healthiest thing, especially if you’re not sitting correctly. Engage in correct posture and consider stretching regularly during your working day to improve circulation and blood flow.
Many people enjoy the benefit of a saddle chair at their desk because it enables comfortable sitting and better posture. Ensuring optimum ergonomics is essential for setting up a comfortable home office. Whether you want a traditional desk chair or a posture correcting one, there are plenty of options out there to choose from.
Access to natural light is preferred, which is why you should look for a space close to a window that lets the sun in. When working from home, it can be hard to get enough vitamin D naturally. This is why you should take regular breaks and go for daily walks if you can, to get more sunlight.
For those who want to set up their home office in a darker corner, unused closet, or basement, make sure that you invest in lighting to create optimum conditions. Use lots of soft lights to avoid a striking appearance, and check that there is enough light to see what you are working on.
Internet connection/ service
There are a lot of websites that offer internet connection checks, and it’s important to have a strong signal in the area where you want to work. Some might even go as far as to invest in a signal booster, or Ethernet cable to ensure a good connection.
Additionally, you might want to switch internet providers if your current service is less reliable. Many companies offer fast internet speeds at low costs, so it’s definitely worth browsing your options.
Other Equipment to Consider
These are some additional items to consider researching and finding the best quality product in order to create a comfortable office environment. Ensure that you have everything that you might need to get your job done, and that you are able to do it to the best of your ability. Of course, these might not all apply to you, but these are some commonly used home office items that people tend to invest in.
That said, it’s definitely worth speaking with your employer about these, as they may arrange for a delivery of the items you will need. Check with them before considering making your own purchases, as you don’t want to end up with duplicates.
Obviously, if you have a laptop, then this is unlikely to be necessary. Unless you have specific requirements for typing layout, a keyboard might be needed for those using computer setups.
A good mouse that is reliable can make working a lot easier. Fluid movements between programs and while working on something allows you to stay focused and easily transition from one project to the next. A mouse can be wired or wireless, and there are many designs to choose from depending on your desired comfort.
This is great for illustrating and those who need multiple levels of input. Again, this might be provided by your employer, so it’s definitely worth checking before investing in something like a touchpad. This can be a good way to offer more flexibility within your home office.
If you are working in customer service and are required to answer calls often, you might want to find a comfortable headset. This allows you to hear a higher quality and consistent response, while offering the chance for you to effectively convey answers or advice. Depending on what you need to use your headset for, there are some great wired and wireless options available.
Another great piece of equipment used for multiple media types is a docking station. This allows you to present ideas and findings easily to the masses without having to connect Bluetooth or other pieces of equipment. It can be a lot more accessible than other devices as it is very straightforward and easy to use.
Printer, copier and scanner
If your work is still making the transition to more digitally based systems and uses a lot of paper documents, you might want to consider getting a scanner, copier, and printer. Modern printers often have the ability to do all three functions, allowing you more space and less need for hefty purchases.
This is another thing that is usually provided by employers if the company believes that you are likely to need one. An external drive offers additional storage outside your computer in order to allow comprehensive filing systems. This is especially useful if your work is largely archive documents, or even client based, as it is very easy to wipe clean of details.
Home Office Setup Tips & Tricks
Moving on, these are some useful tips to think about when you are getting started. Creating a space that is yours to work in is a great way to express your personality and add anything that makes you happy.
One thing to consider before creating a mood board or aesthetic goal is who will be using the office space within your household. If you have children, they might use it as a base for homework during weekends. Keeping your home office organised is very important but can also be challenging as it is solely up to you to keep it in order
Additionally, if your partner is working on a project,then they may need a desk setup for that. Think about whether you are going to be sharing your home office before designing it, and try to make it multipurpose if possible.
We’ve covered the importance of avoiding interruptions during calls, but it’s also important to maintain privacy during the work day. Whether you want to use screens, curtains, or a door to close, enforcing privacy allows better client interactions if your job requires you to carry out consultations.
Invest in yourself
Comfort is very important when it comes to maximizing efficiency and enabling productivity during the working day. That is why you should consider investing in a comfortable chair that allows you to practice correct posture and better ergonomics.
Look online or head to your local home wear store to see what’s on the market. You might even find that you don’t enjoy certain textures, as they can be overwhelming. It’s all about trial and error when it comes to learning how you work.
Also read: Best Productivity Apps For iOS
Support your neck and eyes
Practicing good posture is crucial for any home office, which is why you might want to consider buying a saddle chair or even a stool where it is impossible to slouch. This will support your neck and back.
It can also be tiring for your eyes to stare at a screen all day. For this reason, you might want to buy yourself some blue light filtering glasses to make it a little easier. Another option to ensure healthy working is to take regular screen breaks.
Store and protect important documents
When working with customers, clients, or participants, it’s crucial to maintain confidentiality. Knowing where to correctly store information is a big part of your job if you handle data and other documents. This is why a lot of jobs offer external storage devices for you to keep safe. There are also some recommended courses for training employees about data protection.
Of course, if your job is still largely paper-based, then you will need to implement an effective filing system. There are a lot of cabinets that are easy to find second hand if you think that you might need one, and ensure that your filing system follows your company’s protocol.
Manage cords and wires
For more technical jobs, it can be a little overwhelming to organize the amount of cords involved. Invest in a strong and reliable extension cord to ensure that everything that needs to be plugged in is.
Take the time to assess how important each wire is and remove any that don’t serve a purpose. For the more visual thinkers, you could even go as far as to print label stickers for each cord and create your own organization system. Whether you want to color code them or just keep them tidy, there is no wrong way to manage cords and wires, as long as you do it safely.
Start off small
One of the most important things to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to learn what configuration or home office system works for you. Be kind to yourself and take the time to note what has enabled you to be the most productive in experiences and what doesn’t work.
The great thing about home offices is that they are completely customizable to you, meaning that they can be as basic or heavily decorated as you like. Whether you want to learn through trial and error experiments, or if you want to gradually build your way up to making a space that works for you, the beauty of creating a home office is that you are in charge of it and that it can be whatever design or color you want it to be.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the research stage. Whether you want to browse the IKEA website for inspiration or head to your local thrift store. There are some great ways in which you can save money while creating your own space.
Ask people in your social circle who have successfully set up a home office for some tips and how they found what works for them. This is a great way to see how other people’s brains work, as well as feel encouraged to think about how yours does.
Social support can also offer a great form of positive reinforcement, and comparing notes on what you have found can be a form of bonding with friends or even colleagues. You might even find more people that work while sitting on the floor! Invest in a comfortable rug if this is you, and make sure that you regularly vacuum the area.
There are many reasons why you might be considering investing in a home office, and creating a set-up that suits your working conditions. These include the role of comfort, which is key to ensuring maximum productivity, as it prevents distractions from irritating materials or uncomfortable levels.
The beauty of a home office is that you are able to make a space that is completely your own, and it can be as full or void of distractions as you want. It’s important to learn what kind of environment you work best in and try to replicate that in your space.
Find an area of your home where the internet signal is strong, or alternatively if there is an Ethernet connection. The reliance of modern companies on the internet is unlike anything from previous generations. It’s important to adapt to the modern age and learn how to integrate certain forms of technology or software into your working routine.
There are very few firms that have not made the move to be more online, which is why more people than ever before are working from the comfort of their own homes. Of course, the modern age has been criticized for being excessive and over the top, but it could also be argued that the changes have been made out of necessity. Customer demand is one of the main reasons why companies make changes, and it has shaped many industries to this day.
Another thing that is important to check when you are finding a space for a home office is airflow. Make sure that you can control the amount of airflow through a room and that the space you are working in doesn’t get stuffy or overly warm. This is where you are likely to feel lethargic, tired, and unmotivated.
Of course, you won’t want to be freezing cold either, so make sure that you are able to regulate the temperature within a space easily. Keep a warm sweater somewhere near your home office in order to stay at a comfortable temperature that won’t distract you.
It can be very easy to feel lonely and isolated when you work from home a lot, especially if you live alone. This is why it’s more important than ever before to stay in regular contact with loved ones, and make sure that you are getting outside daily for walks and fresh air.
Another thing that more people are enjoying is the presence of a pet. Cats or dogs often provide great companionship and can encourage you to exercise more frequently. It can also offer a talking point when you are on a video call with colleagues, as many people are keen to show off their furry or even feathered friends.
One of the greatest benefits of setting up a home office have been the long-term gains. Many have reported that their mental health has massively improved since spending more time working from home.
Another improvement in the long run is money saved on daily travel, not to mention the amount of time saved. Most firms have spent time considering which meetings are necessary and which can be eliminated.
Not only will you save time with a lack of commutes, but the working day within most companies is now a lot more streamlined for maximum efficiency. There is less time wasted on the whole because employers value their employees’ time and appreciate that they need to be flexible.
Generally, it’s worth taking the time to do your research and find out how your brain processes new information. Learn how you learn, and figure out what conditions are best for that in order to work with your brain and not against it.
Many people who have started working from home have enjoyed spending the time learning about how different minds work. It has also made more adults aware that the autism spectrum can be very broad and that it is okay if your way of thinking is slightly different to other people’s.
Once you have gotten a rough idea of what conditions work best for you and what environment allows you to be the most productive, it is time for you to come up with ideas on what you want your home office to look like.
Whether that is a small nook, a room, or even an unused closet, there is no wrong way to set up your office. It really depends on your living conditions and where there is space for a work area in your home. There are some great ways online about how you can encourage airflow, and it might be effective to get some houseplants for the area, or even a diffuser.
Speak with your friends and family about setting up your home office to see if they have any tips or even old furniture you could give a new lease of life to. Seeking social support in any way is highly beneficial when it comes to taking on a new project. It can also be rewarding to show them how the space is coming together.
Also, it may be worth your time also researching if there are any sort of tax benefits/relief while working from home, especially if it is due to covid.
In summary, a home office is a great way to save money on travel costs, and to allow a more streamlined workflow. Taking the time to figure out what conditions work best for you is essential, because no two brains are alike.
Do your research on products recommended for your specific role and check what your company will provide before investing. Additionally, seek second-hand desks or chairs if you want to save money. There is no wrong way to set up a home office, so have some fun with it and enjoy making it your own.
If you run your own business whilst working from home then you may be familiar with having to deal with payroll. This can be a lot to handle and may take up a considerable amount of your time. You may find that you need a pay stub generator to help you with this side of the business.
Also read: 12 Ways Payroll Data Can Help Your Small Business Save Money