More and more people are choosing to work for themselves – and for that, they need a home office which boosts their productivity while reflecting their personality.
There’s a lot to consider here. You’ll need to think about legal implications like insurance, practical things like a comfortable office chair and design features like colour and lighting.
If you have a bad set-up, your health could be at risk.
It’s an exciting project to immerse yourself in, but setting up shop can be daunting if you don’t know what to do.
Fretting about the task ahead? Take some advice from an expert and a handful of small business owners who started where you are now.
Top tips for setting up a home office
The team at Cleveland Containers offer their advice on creating a home office that’s right for you.
Separate work from home
When working from home on a regular basis, it’s important that you create a clear distinction between home and work life. This is especially true if you decide to invite colleagues or clients over in the future.
If you’re working whilst sprawled on the sofa or lying in bed, how productive do you feel? The answer is probably not very. By creating a separate office environment, you’ll retain the professional and productive feelings you’d get in a more traditional workspace.
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.
Creating a home office will help to retain your privacy, whilst ensuring you aren’t distracted. After all, no one can be productive if they can hear a TV blaring in the background.
Make the most of what you’ve got
If your office is small, you’ll want to make the most of the space you’ve got. A cluttered space is off-putting and can sometimes feel a little claustrophobic.
While we all have our own ways of working, and some prefer an ‘organised mess’, the key is still organisation. Maximise your space by storing paperwork into file dividers or boxes – they’ll also stop you from frantically searching for that one document for ten minutes.
Purchase a pair of drawers to store away other equipment or stationery that isn’t needed on your desk. You don’t have to spend a lot of money kitting out your office. A quick trip to IKEA will give you loads of ideas.
Invest in the right equipment
When you’re working remotely in your home office, one of the worst things that could happen is for your laptop to suddenly crash, or your broadband to stop working.
It’s worth spending a bit extra to ensure your technology is up to date and working properly. Have a local, responsive web team on speed dial so that if you do suddenly have any issues with your devices, you can get them fixed fast.
When creating your home office, you’ll also need to ensure that there are enough plug sockets. You’ll need space to charge your laptop and phone, as well as having space to potentially plug in a printer and a lamp. It may be worth buying a plug extension so you have enough sockets.
Another highly important piece of equipment for your home office is a chair. When you’re sitting down for long periods of time, you want to make sure that your chair supports your back and neck, and helps with your posture. You can find ten of the best ergonomic office chairs here.
Choose the best colours
Like music and pictures, colours evoke certain emotions within us. Whilst you may not be overtly aware of this, colour is more powerful than you think, and is something to bear in mind when decorating your home office.
Avoid cool colours like blues and lilacs, which encourage feelings of peace. Relaxation is great for your bedroom, but not so much for your office!
Instead, you could incorporate purple into your decor, which is known to stimulate the imagination, or even a cheery yellow – provided it’s not too bright.
If you’re unsure about reaching for bright colours, then try neutral shades like grey and cream. They won’t cause distractions, and are a great base for creating a feature wall further down the line.
“Incorporate purple into your decor, which is known to stimulate the imagination, or even a cheery yellow”
Find natural daylight
Natural daylight improves our mood and makes us happier, which is why having a window in your office can be beneficial.
If you’ve chosen to house your office in a shed or shipping container, then you can usually modify them by getting a window built in. Placing your computer by the window means that you can gaze out whenever you want to give your eyes a break from the screen.
If a window isn’t an option then don’t worry, you can cheat it! There are lots of lamps out there that mimic daylight, so you can enjoy the benefits of natural light even though you’re faking it.
Research has shown that we respond better to yellow-cast illuminations, and a lack of light can have a negative effect, even causing depression through Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), so it’s important you don’t leave the lights down low.
Once you’ve got the lighting sorted in your home office, avoid eye strain caused by glare, by ensuring your computer isn’t directly in the line of your light source.
A well thought-out workspace will improve happiness and productivity, and the best thing is, these tips to setting up a home office won’t take up much of your time.