Whether it’s by choice or by force, many of us have gotten used to the idea of a home office, or at least a work station at home. In countless fields of employment, working from home is not only acceptable but sometimes encouraged, as it is a way for people to take care of family issues without sacrificing a day’s productivity. Consequently, gone are the excuses that you were “sick in bed.” Couldn’t you still send a few emails and fax reports? Of course you can, but sometimes a home office can be forbidding in its bland character. Here are the five ways to set up an office at home and get the job done.
1. Get the desk right. Many people will take short cuts when it comes to their desk in a home office. There is no reason to compromise style and comfort, just because it’s an office. Think of it like the desk in your room: the look and character of it are just as important. Head down to a furniture store and see some of the classic models that are easy to work on and comfortable at the same time.
2. Have the technology to deliver. Until you get truly high speed internet, more than one phone line and a high performance computer, it’s not really an office. Make sure your weakness doesn’t come from technology. If you have to make a compromise, make it on space. Have all of your pieces of the puzzle fitting together: when you need them the most, you’ll be able to deliver.
3. Leave the cubicle in your office building. Dress up your work station like it’s a real part of your home. If you feel banished in a cubicle, your overall performance will suffer. Make the place comfortable. Put up some pictures on your desk. Make sure your chair is comfortable — though not nap-worthy — and schedule breaks in the day when you can perform chores around the house.
4. Focus on lighting. Of course, natural lighting is best and keeps everyone working at a good pace and feeling positive in the process. It’s not always possible, however, so consider a second option. Fluorescent lighting may be cost-effective and environmentally sound, but some types can also give off truly ugly lighting. Use strong bulbs with light-tinted shades, making your work space a productive environment, without feeling like you are in a clinic.
5. Don’t make it too comfortable. You want to make your home office or work space the opposite of drab and monotonous, but you don’t want to set up the Taj Mahal, either. Assume that you’ll need to stay focused and work at a reasonably fast clip, like you would at the office. Have your back well-supported, keep your posture upright and bask in the surroundings. However, don’t cross the line into unfettered coziness. Always dress like you’re going to walk through the doors of the office. This way, if your boss pays you a visit, you’ll make a good impression.