I often work from home, so a home office is vital. As part of the loft conversion, my son is moving into the current office (it is the largest of the spare rooms) and we are building a new office in the loft. I have been doing some research and have come to the following conclusions regarding the perfect home office:
As more companies embrace flexible working practices, and more people decide set up their own businesses, the number of people working from home has reached record levels. If you are one of the 4 million plus UK home workers, we’ve got some top tips to help you create the perfect home office.
Before you start creating your home office, some initial planning is essential. Ask yourself what is the office for? How much time will you be spending there? What will you be doing in the office? For example, will you be meeting with clients or colleagues? Do you have lots of files or other materials that you need to keep close at hand? Answering all these questions at the outset will help you to design an effective work space that perfectly meets your needs.
The next step you need to consider is where to locate your home office. While many people are tempted to set up a work space or ‘cubby hole’ in the kitchen or lounge, this can actually be detrimental to productivity. Your office should be separate from other areas of the home, particularly if you are going to be spending a lot of time there.
As well as helping to minimise distractions during working hours, this also enables you to leave your work behind at the end of the day. While it doesn’t need to be particularly large, it should be comfortable and professional (especially if you will be meeting clients). Think about converting a spare bedroom or other underused area such as the loft or garage.
Getting the right equipment for your home office is key. Kitting out an office can be expensive so think carefully about what equipment you really need. For example, in some instances it might make sense to use external services, such as photocopying, rather than buying the equipment yourself. At the very least you will need a separate phone line for your business, a computer and a Wi-Fi connection. Time is of the essence when you’re working for yourself so invest in fast-working and reliable equipment, and ensure your Wi-Fi provider offers good download speeds and a reliable connection.
If you are going to be spending a lot of hours in your home office, you need to ensure that it is a comfortable place to spend time. Make sure your desk offers enough space to house your equipment and for you to work comfortably – it should also be at the correct height for you (recommended range is between 640mm and 800mm).
When you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk, having the right chair is essential. Think about investing in luxury ergonomic chairs which offer a superior level of comfort and support. How you organise your work space is also an important consideration. Disorganisation is the enemy of efficiency, so look for clever storage solutions to help create a clutter-free, organised space which promotes productivity.
It may not seem like a particularly important consideration, but the colour of your surroundings can actually have a big impact on your mood and productivity. So it’s important to get it right! Generally speaking, bold colours such as yellow and red can boost energy levels but can also be distracting, particularly if used over a large area. Neutrals such as grey and white are perfect for an office environment and if you want a pop of colour, try combining them with a bolder accent shade. Purple stimulates imagination so this is a great choice for people working in creative industries.
There are many things to consider when planning a home office, but the most important thing to remember is that it needs to be a pleasant space where you want to spend time. Choosing the right furniture, layout and equipment will all help with this, as will the addition of some personal touches to help make the space your own. With careful planning and sensible design decisions, you can create an efficient and productive home office which is a real asset to your business.