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If you’re a blogger, a freelancer, work from home or run a home business then you’ll know how important a good home office is. A space that’s just for your professional work, it prevents your work stuff getting muddled with the rest of the house, keeps it safe from children and pets and gives you a quiet place to work. If you’re planning on taking the leap from employee to self-employed in any capacity, you need to consider a home office if you’re going to be working from there on a regular basis. Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare bedroom in your home then this step is easy. Transform a spare or guest bedroom into your office. If you don’t have this luxury then you’ll need to think a little harder. Do you have a separate dining room that you hardly use? How about a conservatory? If not, you might need to make adjustments to your home such as converting the attic, basement or even having an extension built. It might seem like an extreme step, but your career is incredibly important- just because you’re working from home doesn’t make what you do any less valuable. Another option that’s a little less expensive (and won’t require planning permission) is to have a garden room built. These are freestanding structures you can have put up in the garden, and are fully insulated so act as a proper room and not just a shed or summerhouse. Since they’re at your property but separate to the house, they can be a great way to keeping work and life apart.
If you can’t make changes to your home because you’re renting, it’s too expensive or not worth it from a value point of view then another option would be to move house. If you choose somewhere which has a spare room and a quiet location then you’re off to a good start. Again, it might seem extreme but to work successfully from home it could be the best option for you. If moving was already on the cards then this would give you the perfect excuse to take the plunge, go with a property that’s equally nice to work from as it is to live in.
If you don’t have any space at home to create an office and moving isn’t an option, you could look into hiring private office space. This could give you the opportunity to split your time between there and home, providing you with a professional space when needed. If you have lots of files, materials and tools that you need to run or create products in your business then this could be a good choice. You can then do your admin and other online work from home, but when you have practical matters to deal with or need to meet with clients then you have this area available to you as well. For the best efficiency and practicality, choose an office that’s easy for you to access, is close to home without having to sit in lots of traffic to get there. If you started your business as a home based venture but are looking to expand then moving into commercial premises might be the next logical step anyway, particularly if you’re looking to hire your own employees to come and work with you. But you can still keep your business mainly home- based and still have a private rented office as well if needed.
Clearing out everything in the room gives you a blank canvas to work from. It’s worth replacing carpets or flooring if needed and giving the room a fresh coat of paint. As humans we are hugely affected by our surroundings, so decorating is more than about just being house proud. A pleasant space can make you more productive and motivated, so clear everything out and get it looking nice before arranging your office furniture inside. Consider the principles of colour psychology, blue for example has been shown to boost productivity and is a great choice in offices and workplaces.
Chances are, you’ll be spending a lot of time at your desk. For this reason, a solid, large desk and a comfortable chair are worthy investments. Go with something that’s as big as you can get while still working well in the room. If you have lots of equipment and items you need for your business, you could run worktops down the side of the room to create a long desk, or have a bespoke one fitted. When it comes to chairs, this is an important decision. The right chair will support your neck, back and even prevent wrist strain. Don’t just go online and buy the first thing you see, go to a shop and test out the different models. Remember that hours of your day will be spent sitting here, so don’t just scrimp and choose the most budget option. Depending on what work you’ll be doing, you might need to purchase good storage solutions too. At the very least, a filing cabinet will keep your business documents in order so you can easily access them if they’re ever needed.
Your working area can either help or hinder your business. If you want to give yourself the best chance of success, it’s an area to consider since it’s something many people that work for themselves can overlook.
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