14 Tips and Essentials for Creating the Best Home Office
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Working from home is quickly becoming the new normal. This is due both to recent events as well as rapid developments in the tools available to us to execute our jobs as well (if not better) from the comfort of our own homes.
But the humble home office can lack a little inspiration. Of course, for some, the kitchen table or sofa is all the space we can spare. Yet creating a great office space is crucial to motivating and inspiring ourselves to perform well at work.
In fact, you may well be surprised by how much a great working space can motivate and drive positive actions.
So, whether you are new to home working or want to enhance your working from home set up, our guide will help you take your WFH game to that next level.
Create a Great Work from Home Set-Up
Before you start splashing the cash on a home office, you need to carefully consider how it will be used. Consider questions such as:
- What space do I have to create a home office?
- How much time will I be spending here?
- What is my budget?
- Do I have any special requirements?
Although it is not always possible, planning your office away from other areas is a good way to keep your work and home life separate. For example, if you are lucky enough to have a spare or a guest bedroom you may choose to locate your home office there. This will allow you to shut the door at the end of the day and provide a dedicated space for your profession.
If you are unable to do this, try and think of other ways you could set boundaries in your home office space. This may be completely clearing the surface at the end of the day or even covering it with a sheet to hide your work materials.
Where ever you decide to locate your home office, you will need to start by getting yourself the essentials…
Working from home has been made possible by the computer. Having a quality computer in your home office will allow you to access all the information and people you need to get the job done.
A desktop like the Apple Mac Mini could be a good choice if you want to maintain a permanent workstation i
n your home. From personal experience, I have found that a MacBook Pro is a great, portable tool which will give you all the power you need.
Of course, there are other great computer makers if Apple doesn't take your fancy or is out of your budget. For example, Dell's range of computers offers great quality and reliability.
Mouse & Keyboard
Although laptops will typically have a built-in mouse and keyboard, you may still choose to add an external option to limit the potential fatigue associated with consistent laptop usage. There are many options available. However, to keep your desk clean and tidy of wires, a wireless mouse and keyboard are a great option.
Unless some part of your job or business requires you to have a landline, a mobile phone is by far the best option for your home business.
Using a service like Skype means that for a reasonable fee you can make and receive phone calls from a landline number. Meaning you gain the advantage of a professional-looking and established number whilst benefitting from the flexibility of a mobile phone.
If you plan on taking calls from your desk you may want to consider investing in a decent pair of headphones with a built-in microphone. This is especially true if there are regularly others in your home when you are working, allowing you to keep work calls private and freeing up your hands to write notes or continue with other work.
There are countless headphone options on the market. If you are primarily making calls via your computer and want a more ‘professional’ looking headset then something like the Logitech H340 Wired Headset might be right for you.
However, if you want great sound quality, flexibility and wire-free calling there are few other options that beat the Apple Airpods.
Printer & Scanner
Paperless offices are of course the future and if you can avoid using paper then you certainly should.
A great computer isn’t all that useful if you don’t have quality, reliable internet to go with it. The best internet will depend on the availability and level of service in your given area.
If you are based in the UK you can use this tool by Money Supermarket to find the best speeds and deals in your area.
Despite its name, working for long periods with your laptop on your knees is not going to be very comfortable, productive or good for your health.
Of course, there are lots of options when it comes to which surface you could use as a desk:
- Kitchen table
- Picnic bench (weather dependent)
- A few planks of wood and a couple of trellises
- The top of the toilet (please don’t actually do this)
However, there are many benefits to setting up a proper desk in your home and creating a separate workspace.
If you want the daddy of all desks check out the Autonomous SmartDesk 2. The great thing about this desk is that you can adjust the height, so you can switch between sitting and standing throughout the day, which is great for your posture and health.
If you do opt for a standing desk (great idea), although posture is improved, you may find that your legs and feet start to ache after some time. This can be remedied by introducing a buffer between you and the hard floor, such as these anti-fatigue mats from First Mats.
A great chair and a great desk partnership are such a worthwhile investment for your posture and general health. Being able to make adjustments to both of these will ensure that you remain supported and comfortable throughout the workday.
When buying a chair it is easy to make the mistake of opting for style over substance. After all, who doesn’t want to look like an absolute boss in a killer office chair?
But if you don’t want to be constantly complaining about back pain or walking with a hunch, substance is the way forward.
The best chair for you will vary widely depending on your needs. However, a quality chair with adjustable height, lumbar, arm and head supports will make sure that you are held in a comfortable position.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice on where our home office is going to be located. This is especially true for those of us who work in small homes with limited space. However, if you do have a little wiggle room, think carefully about where you position your office.
It can be beneficial to create a space that is away from other living spaces, such as in a spare room, as it means you can easily detach from your work area. Placing your desk in front of a window could also make for a better environment.
Practically, if you need to monitored areas of the home for any reason, such as watching children, this should also be considered when positioning your desk.
If you really want to create a highly productive, comfortable and inspiring office space, consider applying some principals of Feng Shui.
Every office needs the essentials. They aren't sexy, but they are crucial to getting things done. Here is a quick list of the essentials you are likely going to need:
- Writing Pads
- Other stationery (rulers, highlighters etc)
- Whiteboard and whiteboard pen
- Files and binders
Keep a good stock of all of these. You don’t want to be scrambling to find a pen and pad when you are on the phone about to close that big sale.
Books are a great source of information and inspiration. Consider having some of your favourite business books within reaching distance of your desk.
Whilst you’re at it, why not expand your business knowledge with a few new books from our quick and concise book reviews?
We have already discussed how we may use Feng Shui in our home offices to create a better workplace. But if all that is a little too ‘fluffy’ for you, one quick and easy win is to introduce plants.
Not only can plants add depth and soften an office environment, but they can also purify the air. Tending to your plants is a great stress buster, so can be an ideal break when having a tough day.
Find plants that are attractive and don’t need too much attention when buying them for your office.
Productive home working is made possible by smart software.
Start by ensuring that you are using basic software that can be accessed from anywhere. There are lots of options on the market, but the leader is Microsoft with their Office 365 suite of tools (including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, cloud storage etc).
Other smart tools like HubSpot can incredibly powerful for those who work from home. Their suite of tools covers everything from marketing and automation to customer relationship management and sales pipeline tracking.
Great businesses are fuelled by great coffee. Check out our guide to the best office coffee machines to find the best option for you.
The Best Home Office Essential Checklist
There is lots to consider when it comes to creating a high functioning, practical and motivational home office. Which ones you need will depend on your budget, your needs and your wants.
Below we have listed all the elements within this guide for your reference and as a checklist when creating your home office:
2. Mouse & Keyboard
5. Printer & Scanner
10. Essentials (stationary etc)
11. Business Books
14. Coffee Machine