If you have the opportunity to work and earn a living from your home, setting up office space of your own is the natural next step to help yourself be successful. Getting your work done from your kitchen table or living room couch can be difficult, especially if you share your space with roommates or family and continuously get interrupted. With a dedicated private office space that belongs to just you, it’s much easier to change your mentality from relaxing at home to a productive working mindset and get more done.
Choose the Right Home Office Furniture
The right office furniture for your home office will depend on the kind of work you do and what you hope to accomplish in your space on a daily basis. Before you start buying furniture for the space, ask yourself what you need to make yourself comfortable while meeting your business requirements. If you’re telecommuting for a company that handles sensitive information, you may need a file cabinet that is lockable to protect that information and meet company security requirements. Be sure to password-protect sensitive information and files on your computer that is confidential. If you work for yourself as an artist or an architect, you might need a larger size desk than average where you can draw. As you set about getting the furniture for your office, consider what you really need and will use daily, and what will only fill your space but not be used on a regular basis. Instead of buying a whole suite of office furniture that you don’t really need, keep it to the basics and keep the office setup streamlined.
Build In Ways to Stay Organized
If you only have a small space to use for your office, ensuring that everything has a place will help keep you organized. One of the top office cleaning tips for keeping your home office functional is to avoid bringing clutter into the space. Keep furniture minimal to avoid crowding the room. Unless you are welcoming groups of people into the home office every day, you don’t need multiple places to sit. Eliminate paperwork that is no longer needed as soon as you are done with it by shredding it instead of allowing it to pile up. You can stop a large portion of the paper mail you get by requesting that your bank, utility providers, and credit card company stop sending them and just send you online statements or email bills.
Make it Yours
One of the most fun parts of the process of setting up an in-home office is getting to decorate it how you want. Normal office buildings are done in a neutral, generic décor to make them appeal to the largest amount of people, but you get more leeway to decorate how you want when your office is located inside a property you own. Just because your office is located in your home doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish, comfortable, or even fun. In fact, this part of the house can be total to your taste and style, unlike other parts of the home where you might have to compromise on the décor with your family members. You can use bold paint colors to give the room a creative, dramatic feel if you work in a non-conventional or artistic field. Or you can imitate the styles you would see in a traditional office space to make yourself look professional and keep things neutral. Incorporate designer office wallpaper to make it look modern and fresh and distinguish it from other parts of the home. If you’re planning to collaborate with others or welcome clients to meet with you, select a room that is close to the door to avoid having to lead people through the living space to get to your office.
Control the Light
While the room you want to use as your home office may already have an overhead light installed, don’t be afraid to add a reading or desk lamp to supplement the light level. Bright light is proven to improve your productivity and help you feel more alert as you try to get things done. Without the proper light levels, while you read or look at computer screens, you can strain your eyes and cause yourself headaches. If your home office receives a lot of natural light, the progression of the sun throughout the day can change how the light comes in and may need blocking when the light is at the right level to hit your eyes. You can consider adding a window installation, so you can specify the light level you want at any point in the day. Adjustable window shades let you open them up when you want to let more light in or block out the light totally if it’s disrupting your thought process. You can add a remote that opens and closes the blinds or curtains, so you don’t have to get up every time you want to adjust them.
Bring Life into Your Workspace
Analyze the light level in your Working from your home, some people forget to take breaks, get away from the desk, and get outside in the fresh air. However, the influence of mother nature helps calm people down and can be good for your overall mood and mental health. This is especially true in cold weather climates where you might be trapped inside for many hours during the winter and not get any natural sunlight. Try incorporating live plants or putting an aquarium in your office so you can watch fish or turtles during the workday. Even if you aren’t typically good at caring for plants or animals, you can choose a succulent or cactus, or a low-maintenance pet like a fish, to give yourself the best chance for success.
Keep it Comfortable
If you’re converting a garage or covered porch space to become your office, be sure that you take the necessary steps to make it comfortable and functional to work in. If you aren’t comfortable being in your home office, you’ll end up finding excuses not to work and not getting as much done as you could. You can bring in an expert in ac installation services to quote the cost of expanding your HVAC system or putting a small window unit in to control the temperature in the space. Be sure to also have your pest control service treat this space so you don’t have to deal with critters and bugs showing up when you are trying to concentrate.
Incorporate Technology into Your Office Space
Smart devices and other kinds of technology can help you conduct business smoothly from home, especially if you don’t have the budget to hire help initially. In addition to high-speed Wi-Fi, you can use a virtual assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant to help you set reminders, update your calendar, and automate things like reordering needed supplies. Get a dedicated phone number just for the business that you can use over VOIP to give a more professional experience than giving out your cell phone number. You can set up voicemail so people can leave you messages if they prefer this method to email. Be prepared to appear on camera if needed by setting up a clean, neutral background, whether it’s a draped fabric or a fresh coat of paint. Delegate one corner of the space as the place where you do photos, videos, or Zoom calls. In this area, you can install better lighting to ensure you look your best.
Block Out Unwanted Sounds
Sound can be a huge distraction from your work no matter how hard you try to stay focused. From construction to birds singing and dogs barking, there are a million distractions in the average neighborhood, even when you are home alone. Then, you hear your kids come in from school or your spouse starting dinner, and it’s much harder to concentrate on finishing your work. You can apply soundproofing tiles to the wall surfaces to keep the noise out and give you some privacy when you make phone calls or have meetings. If soundproofing the space is too expensive or takes too much work, try using noise-canceling headphones to listen to music or white noise when you are in your office and need to concentrate. White noise is an ambient sound that blocks out music and other sounds without distracting you as you try to work.
Use The Space You Have
If you’re starting your own business and need to keep costs low, using a space you have is more cost-effective than renting a space. Even if you have to put some money into customizing it the way you want it, in the long term you still cut your expenses. Saving on this expense can allow you to put this money into other parts of your business that need it more, like advertising your services to new clients or establishing a website. A remodeling service can help you rework the available space in your home to make it into an office by changing the layout, adding built-in shelves, improving the lighting, or adding windows to bring in more natural light.
To get the best price for the renovations you need to make your home office a reality, ask multiple home improvement contractors for an estimate. Specify exactly what you are looking for in the remodeled office and when you need to have it finished. Conventional wisdom is to get three free estimates and choose the company that is priced in the middle to do the work. Through this process not only will you get an idea of the cost and timeframe for the renovations, but you can also get to know the contractors themselves and see which one you develop the best rapport with.
Keep Business and Home Related Tasks Separate
Popping in and out of your office to try and do work and home-related tasks simultaneously is often a recipe for disaster. Instead, delegate times when you will be in the office and let your friends and family members know you are not to be interrupted during those time periods. Leave your personal gadgets in another room, a delegated box or put them on silent and out of your line of vision, so you aren’t tempted to stop and take phone calls that come in or answer text messages. You can also use a browser add-on that stops you from visiting non-work-related sites during the time you specify. This can help you focus on work instead of wasting time on social media.
By keeping your home office solely a place of business, you also increase the chances of being able to claim business-related expenses come tax time. The IRS does allow the costs of setting up and maintaining a home office to be put on your taxes at the end of the year. In order to claim setting up or operating your home business as an expense, the space must be dedicated to working on business endeavors. If you claim the home office as an expense and the IRS chooses to audit you, they can send someone to verify that your office does exist.
With these tips in mind, you can create a home office space to rival any that you might find in a traditional office building. It can be comfortable and professional at the same time, giving you the best of both worlds. Reworking the space you have available under your roof can be much easier and cheaper than purchasing office space for sale or renting a workspace monthly in a co-working building.