Whether you are looking to start your own business, or just taken on a remote working job, working from home is becoming more and more common. Statistics suggest 50% of UK workforce will work remotely by 2020. This is a massive game changer and it is something we need to be prepared for! It is apparent, one of the first things to consider is how you will arrange the work schedule so that you can participate in family life while still delivering an effective day at work.

Flexibility is a key benefit of working for yourself in a home office but it still requires that you put in a fair amount of time. Setting a typical schedule for working in your office will help you stay focused. Perhaps even more important, keeping standard office hours (for the most part) also helps your clients know when you are available. After all, you might do most of your creative work in the middle of the night, but your clients are likely to keep more traditional work hours. As a result, you’ll need to make yourself available during hours that your clients are at work.

Establishing office hours can also help minimize distractions, and unannounced calls, or drop-in visits from well-meaning friends and family. A lot of people see a home office as a great opportunity to stay at home when taking care of children. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. Mindset with regarding to home office working is key! And the clue is in the title … Home office WORKING.

“For many entrepreneurs, one of the main attractions of working for yourself is choosing where and when you work”.

Running your own business can mean no more commuting,  no more office domestics and more importantly no more 9-5 working routines. Many start-up businesses find setting up an office at home the most attractive and affordable option. It is cheap and handy and there are also multiple benefits of home working including flexibility in time, feeling of freedom and working in a relaxed atmosphere.

Like everything in life, there are also draw backs to working at home,  including a lack of office space, lack of personal interaction and the distinction between home life and work life,especially if you decide to invite colleagues or clients over in the future. 

Notwithstanding this, people do manage it with many entrepreneurs building successful businesses from the comfort of their own home. It is important to have a really comfortable yet functional set up as you will be spending more hours in your office than you think!

Like all work spaces, a desk is the centerpiece of any home office. With this in mind, picking the correct desk and office furniture for you and your requirements is essential. For a piece of furniture that you spend a lot of time with, it is important to find the right desk, office chair and storage solutions  which fulfill your needs. There are three key points which need to be thought through and considered when setting up a home office:

1. Make the most of the Area & Space Available

2. Affordability

3. Requirements & Office Extras

1. Make the most of the Area & Space Available:

Remember when setting up a home office … it is still your home! You might live alone, or with others, but the key to building a successful home office is having a clear distinction between ‘home areas’ and ‘work areas’. Remember to take yourself seriously. Despite working from the comfort of your own home, remember you are still expected to work and earn an income. Firstly, you need to identify the best place for your office. If you have a rarely-used guestroom, or a spare room that doubles up as storage space, then they could both be good options.

If you don’t have a spare room, that’s not a problem: you can build an office in your back garden instead. Sheds and shipping containers are spacious enough to house an office, without taking up too much garden space. If all else fails, you can allocate a space in the living room designed as your ‘work area’, however just be cautious about distractions- no one can be fully productive if they can hear a TV blaring in the background or the radio on full blast. When you have decided where you are going to build your home office, you also need to consider other factors including; natural sunlight, colour schemes, electrical sockets, phone lines, distractions.  

Having the correct psychological focus and mindset is pivotal for optimal work performance.

You can go one step further and position your work space area with an attractive view out the window. Whether this be a view overlooking a greenery area, or even the sea! All these factors will add up and improve your mindset compared to being stuck in a dark and dingy room. If a window isn’t an option then don’t worry! There are lots of lamps and lights which can mimic daylight, so you can enjoy the benefits of natural light even though you’re faking it! The use of pictures can also recreate a scenic and idealistic view which you may be lacking from not having a window in the room.

“Natural daylight is important as it improves our mood and makes us happier”

Deciding on colour schemes can also impact on focus. Having bright lively colours can be distracting. Typically neutral or pastel colours work well within an office environment. Blues, greens, and violets are peaceful and relaxing; yellow grabs attention; red is energetic; white and grey minimize distractions; and, purple inspires creativity. Also, if you want colour, typically files, folders and personal pictures can create more than enough colour in your work space without over powering splats of bold off putting pigments spread across your walls.  

Plants and Flowers in the Workspace

Having real plants and flowers add more than just a colourful element to your office. They actually help clear the air of all sorts of nasty toxins, from formaldehyde to benzene. Don’t have a green thumb? Don’t worry we don’t either! It’s not a problem…Try hardy indoor plants that are hard to kill, such as aloe Vera or spider plant.

Moreover, having the adequate amount of electrical sockets in the vicinity of your work space is key, especially when working with computers, laptop and other electrical devices. Having multiple extension leads hanging from your desk looks unprofessional and can pose a fire risk. You wouldn’t expect to see that in a standard office, so don’t fall into that trap in your home office work space. Similarly, ensuring your work area is located near a phone line is key if you are expecting to make/receive calls from a landline.

“It is important to use the space you have allocated and available for your home office to your advantage”.

There are several desks and work space set ups which you can fit a lot into. For example, you can buy desks with built in storage, fold away work spaces to save space or if you would prefer, a stand up desk to reduce the requirement for a office chair. A cluttered space is extremely off-putting and can sometimes feel a little claustrophobic. Use all the space and storage available to you with compact professional solutions. Measure up carefully and buy your large items accordingly.

2. Affordability:

You can save money by working with what you’ve got. For example, plugging in your laptop to a keyboard and monitor rather than splashing out on a new PC can keep your initial costs down. Also, it is not uncommon for people starting out working from home to just set up a work space on their kitchen table … we all have to start somewhere! But there comes a point, where a home office set up is unavoidable. 

Many people would argue that you should “spend your money where you spend your comfort”. In some ways, I agree with this principle, however you can get affordable luxury if you know where to look. There are desks and office chairs available which wont cost you an arm and a leg (pardon the pun) that will still give you all the benefits of the high end office furniture range. If you are starting a new remote job, or an entrepreneur trying to establish a presence in your business field, why would you start off spending more than you can afford on an office work space when it is going to put your bank balance in the red before you even start?

Ergonomic Office Furniture

Having ergonomic furniture is a must have, especially if you are expecting to work long hours. Not only does ergonomic office furniture have the professional look, it also offers multiple health benefits. Investing your time in finding the right desk and office chair for you is priceless. The worse thing you can do is to google office furniture and buy the first thing that you find. Research pays off and will be worth it in the long run.      

3. Requirements & Office Extras:

When it comes to work space requirements, you need to think about various factors. For example, what type of work will you be conducting in your home office? How long per day are you expecting to spend working at your desk? Will you need much storage or are you planning to have a paper free office? Are you expecting any regular visitors or are you planning to conduct meetings at your home? All of these factors will play a huge part in planning your home office work space. Linking closely to the affordability section above, there is no point spending on office furniture which you are not going use or doesn’t fit in your allocated ‘work area’.

Plan your Space

Planning and outlining your requirements,  or a “critical needs” list, is the key to success. It is also important to think carefully about the growth of your job role or business and have a place for everything. Treat it exactly as you would a professional office space. This will really sets the tone for the working day and your future prospects.

Key features of a home office setups include;

“It is important you have the feeling that you WANT to be in your home office”.

Going to work should not be a chore for anyone, especially not when you are working from the comfort of your own home. Also, it is good to eliminate distractions before they occur. If you are living with others, ensure strict rules are implemented regarding your work area. Whether that be the door must be closed, or no music / TV at certain times. You wouldn’t expect to be constantly distracted working in a city office, so don’t let it happen in your home office.