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Do you work from home? Do you have a home office or would you like to set up one? Read on for 4 things to keep in mind while setting up a home office!
I am a freelance writer and I work from home. The husband works from home too, sometimes. So one of the requirements while designing our new apartment was to have a home office. We wanted a space where we could sit comfortably and had enough space to keep files, folders, accessories and work related knick-knacks around.
I didn’t want something taking too much space as we don’t have clients visiting home. It was just meant to be a space for us and our laptops mostly. I love airy, bright and naturally well-lit spaces so that was my must-have for the home office. The husband wanted enough closed storage to organize and keep stuff out of sight. Combining these two requirements we came up with our home office space and we love it!
Before I finalized designs for my home office, I met some friends and friends of friends to see their working spaces at home. Some had full fledged offices, others had small cozy corners, a few had a desk and a chair in their bedroom, and some had a bean bag in a room with a view! There are all kinds of options, all you have to do is decide what kind of space you want.
Here are the 4 things that came out as the top things to look out for in a home office:
It is the one place where you are going to spend the most of your daytime and even night, in some cases. It should be comfortable. No point in having a chair that causes back pain or a keyboard that causes pain in the wrists. Swivel chairs with rollers at the bottom are convenient to turn around but ensure that the chair’s back supports your back just fine. Make sure the height of your table is fit for you. Ergonomics is about designing for people and how they fit with the design. So the ergonomics should be perfect. A good site to pick up some good office desks is Urban Ladder.
We plan to add a daybed or sofacumbed to our office space. Additional comfortable seating in the office space is a good idea, especially if you have clients visiting your home office. A rug under your feet and some extra cushions will add that cozy touch. If the room gets a lot of sunlight then have some curtains or blinds with blackout lining behind them to make it less hot and bright. An extra table or floor fan comes handy in summers.
Comfort and convenience go hand in hand, but here I mean things like the printer is handy and accessible, so is the fax machine. The appliances are kept according to your workflow. There should be a dry waste bin in the room so that you don’t have to walk to the kitchen or another room to throw paper every time.
Stationery, printer paper, stamp pads should be easily accessible. You can pick up small rectangular trays to keep on your desk to keep all these little things in. If you have a home office that clients will be visiting in, then it is good to keep the office in a room which can be directly accessed from outside and people don’t have to walk through your house to reach it. Some essentials for a home office would be a calendar on the desk or a wall, a clock or table top clock, a pen stand, and proper lighting!
Self motivation seems to be the biggest requirement for any entrepreneur. And I believe a home office should provide that in sufficient doses. It should be a place you want to sit in, work and love the feeling! I make my work corner welcoming, cozy and fun by keeping some bright coloured trinkets, mugs and vases (fresh flowers are added whenever the husband brings me some), and pictures. You can put up your favourite posters; pictures of your family can be a great motivation, your favourite quotes can be printed and put up.
Nothing too fancy is needed, just some functional, clean and basic stuff. A pin board with pictures, reminders, to-do lists or whatever else works for you, is a great way to put up things around you. A friend of mine works in the media/publishing business and has covers of her favourite magazine (autographed by the celebrities featured on that cover) framed and put up on her home office wall.
In addition to being a conversation starter, it is a big motivation for her to do better at work, to meet more people and add to her collection. So try to bring in your passion, love and unique style to your home office.
This, for me, is the biggest requirement. I like to have areas allotted for things and folders for files. In addition to our laptops, we wanted space for a printer-scanner-copier and that went into one corner with all the wires neatly wrapped behind it. Think of storage you will need for all the paperwork that will grow every year. Bills, invoices, tax receipts and if you plan on keeping the paperwork for the rest of the household like we do, then even more space for certificates, school related paperwork etc.
A good idea is to have a paper sorter system. So every paper that comes into the house -like bills, letters- goes into the tray and from there into the final place. Someone I know has 2 deep trays side by side in their office. One is for all the paper that comes in and goes straight into it. Then they sort through it when they have time and from there it goes through one of these 3 processes First, into the 2nd tray where an action needs to be taken on it, second into trash if it is not needed and third into the final filing folder where it stays. This keeps the rest of the house paper-free and makes your life a whole lot easier! Try that out!
I am sure there are a ton of other tips and tricks to make it a smoother work from home experience. Do share your tried and tested tips with us! Happy working!
Photos courtesy: 1. Simranbir Singh 2. Urban Ladder 3. Flickr Creative Commons
Simran Dhaliwal is an engineer, a wannabe traveler and a newbie runner. She has worked
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