It is estimated about 56 percent of the U.S. workforce has spent at least some time working from home. Other statistics show the global numbers are even higher. Furthermore, forecasts predict the trend will only continue growing.
Sooner or later, you too might want to get some work done from the comfort of your own home office. When that time comes, you will need to make sure you have the perfect working environment to get your creative juices into flowing freely.
But where do you start? Everything from the technology you use to the chair you sit in are crucial in your productivity. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are 6 things that every home office should have so you can reach your work goals.
1. Dedicated space and aesthetics
To setup a home office, you need a dedicated area in your home. There should be ample lighting and as few distractions as possible. Find a spot where your family can intrude the least. Make sure you have a perimeter that designates your office, so everyone knows which areas are off limits during working hours.
Your home office should be as far away from your bed as possible. You do not want to mix working time with sleeping time, or vice versa.
Once that is setup, make it appealing to you. Change the color of the walls around you, hang your favorite painting close by or maybe even get a couple of potted plants. For inspiration, you can turn to Pinterest and Instagram.
The key enabler for a work-from-home office is your technology. You will only be able to do your work as long as you have:
- The right devices – This includes laptops, computers, smart phones, tablets and more.
- Peripheral devices to support the primary gadgets – This includes printers, audio/video devices for input and output and any other device that will help you utilize your primary gadgets more efficiently.
- Software – Your technology is nothing without the right software packages to help you create your work.
- Connectivity – Apart from the internet, you will also need to have your devices talking to one another.
3. Ergonomic furniture
Statistics show that people who work from home actually spend more time on their projects than people who go to an office, especially when they’re just starting out. This means there is an increased chance of doing damage to your own health by working at home.
To alleviate this problem, pay attention to ergonomics in your home office. Don’t hold back on spending some money to improve your working environment – you will save on medical bills down the line. Find the right chair and desk to suit your body and alleviate any pain you might face.
4. Surge protectors and UPS
Power surges can cause damage to your electronic devices. While most laptops today have their own in-built safety features, it wouldn’t hurt to plug your devices into surge protectors instead of exposing them to direct current. This becomes increasingly important as the number of electronic devices you use grows.
If you happen to work from a place where there are frequent power outages, you might also want to invest in an uninterruptible power system (UPS) to be prepared for any outage that takes longer than your laptop battery’s charge.
5. A backup plan
Losing all your data on the very morning you were supposed to deliver your work to your clients is about the worst thing that can happen. Just like any business, you’ll need to have a backup plan. You should always consider a secondary storage device.
There are great cloud services that can backup your work – some are even free. Alternatively, you can use a personal backup drive connected to your laptop or setup a local backup server you can use for the same purposes.
6. A dedicated cooking and eating space
Never eat snacks or meals while you’re sitting at your desk. Apart from the risks of spillage, which can damage your laptop or printed work, sitting and eating at your desk could contribute to dire health consequences. Also, eating at your desk decreases the chances of eating healthy, as you’re more likely to choose a snack over a proper, home-cooked meal.
Get up and go to your kitchen or kitchenette at regular meal times. The break alone will be good for your health.
Time to get to work…
With these six tips, you’re well on your way to having the best home office possible. Be productive in a space you love – your family and your clients will thank you!