By Peter Daisyme, special adviser to Due.
It's taken me a while to create the perfect home office setup. When I started out as an entrepreneur, I set up a desk on one side of the room and added a desktop computer, an internet connection and a small filing cabinet. It doesn't cost much to create an ideal home office space. Now that I've been in business for many years, I've learned what goes into having a great, dedicated space that boosts remote productivity.
Decisions First, Design Second
Everyone's ideal home space is different. Answering these questions can help you decide what kind of home office will be perfect for you:
- What will you be doing in your home office?
- Will any clients, colleagues, or staff visit your home office?
- How long will you be working in this space?
- Will you need to keep any equipment or materials in your home office?
- Will you be making video or audio conference calls?
Create a Dedicated Space
I was going to be working from my home office pretty much all the time, and I wasn't planning on having anyone else work in it. I was also going to be making video calls and video blogs, so I wanted to make sure my office was quiet, closed off from the rest of the house, and conducive to working.
Consider what rooms in your home are rarely used that can be converted into a dedicated space, like a guest bedroom for example. You could even convert your backyard shed, or take a section of your garage and turn that into your own office space.
Office Life Stays in the Office, Home Life Stays in the Home
It's important to keep everything that's work-related in your office space so you don't let work take over your home life. The last thing you want to see when you're relaxing is work items piled up in your non-office space.
Keeping office items in the office also means that you can quickly locate them, and you won't waste time wandering around your house. Likewise, don't bring in a plasma TV to mount on your office wall. Let's not pretend you need it for checking stocks or watching the business channel. It will only take away from your productivity.
Be Smart About Equipment and Furniture
Invest in your home office equipment and wiring to ensure speed and efficiency. Now, that doesn't mean you should go buy a color copier; that can be done at your neighborhood copy shop or at a co-working space. However, you should migrate from a desktop computer to a laptop, so you can bring it with you to business meetings and on trips. You should also invest in a wireless hub and high-speed internet.
When it comes to furniture, I keep a minimal amount in my office. This keeps out clutter, which can distract you and hinder your creativity. Use a file cabinet and desk drawers to keep as much out of sight as you can, but keep it close enough so you can access it. You should also try to be as environmentally-friendly as possible.
When selecting where you'll set up your new home office, go with a room that has plenty of natural light, so you can minimize energy consumption. If you have some lights, you can install a dimmer to control the amount of light you use while you work. You should also opt for energy-efficient ventilation as well as non-toxic equipment and supplies.
Shop from local businesses for supplies and other services, as this keeps the money local and reduces emissions by not using shipping.
Personalize Your Space
Just because a home office is better when it's clear of clutter doesn't mean it has to be devoid of any personality. In my office, I have photos of family and friends and some plants for a pop of color.
Small touches like these can make your space feel more comfortable and personal, giving you an environment to be more creative and productive.
Peter Daisyme is a special adviser to Due, a payments invoicing company helping small business owners transact money online.