These days, more and more people are working from home. In fact, according to a recent Gallup survey, 43% of workers in the United States reported working remotely at one point or another during 2016.
Whether you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or your job occasionally allows you to work from home, it’s important that you take the time to create a home office that allows you to remain comfortable, focused, and productive.
That means avoiding the temptation to set up shop in your bed, and instead, creating a workspace that is ergonomically designed and equipped with the best furniture, gadgets and digital tools to help you thrive at home.
So, whether you’re just starting to set up your office space at home or you think it’s time for an upgrade, this list offers the absolute must-haves for any productive home office. Let’s get started.
A Line of Separation
It’s vital that you keep your working and living environment separate from one another to help get you into the right mindset. While it’s not always possible to put up curtains or build a wall to divide the two spaces, you can still create an invisible line to help keep these two worlds separate. If you don’t have the luxury of a spare bedroom, then demarcate your working environment using different furniture or brighter colors.
High-Speed Internet Connection
Working from home doesn’t absolve you from having deadlines, and in a home office, you can’t use a slow internet connection as an excuse. Therefore, it’s vital that you get a reliable connection that assures good connectivity during work hours and constant high speed.
Browse around for the best offers, and find an ISP that is trustworthy and reliable, while still being within your budget. An important component is a good WiFi connection, as you can work from another part of your home if needed.
Most likely, the vast majority of your time during weekdays will be spent in your home office, and most of that time you will be seated. Therefore, it’s important that you have a comfortable and ergonomic chair that won’t leave you suffering from back ache at the end of the day.
The advantage of a kneeling chair or ergonomic chair is that it will offer you lumbar support while also supporting your neck. Most chairs have adjustable settings, making it easy to adjust the height of the office chair to your maximum comfort.
Ergonomic Adjustable or Standing Desk
Sitting at your desk all day long can be detrimental to your health. Having an adjustable and ergonomic desk will allow you to switch your position, so you can sit or stand throughout the day. Another great option is a treadmill desk, so you get physical activity throughout your workday and stay healthy.
Adequate Storage Space
Part of the furniture in your home office should be useful storage space. This will allow you to hide things that aren’t needed, whilst helping you keep your stuff in order.
There is a lot of stuff that accumulates in your home office including stationery, books, and files, so everything should have a space of its own. A cluttered and disorganized working environment can leave you feeling frustrated and unmotivated, so use cabinets to organize your paperwork and desk tidies to keep your stationary in one place.
Wireless Telephone or Headset
There will be times when you will have to take calls and type notes or open the door when on a conference call. It’s not healthy to hold the phone to your ear using your neck and shoulder, and it’s not practical to be stationed at your desk with a wired telephone all day, so a good idea is to have a wireless telephone or headset that moves with you. For multitaskers, a great option are noise-cancelling headphones, which can also come equipped with a microphone, ready to do double-duty.
Office Supply Stockpile
Even if you do most – if not all – of your work on a computer, you still need office supplies, such as notepads, pens, staples, pencils, printer ink, etc. Don’t get sidetracked from a project or task just because you ran out of something. Make a list of all the office supplies you need, and then check every week or so that you have all available items. That way, you won’t need to make a mad dash to the store in the middle of the day because you ran out of printer paper.
Staying organized is always important, so even though you have a calendar on your phone and computer, a desk calendar is useful to jot down deadlines, appointments, a to-do list and other important dates, so they’re always visible.
The desk calendar will always be on your line of sight, so you can easily remember deadlines, therefore keeping you on your toes and working more efficiently.
Dry Erase Board
A dry erase board is great to jot down your daily tasks, to-do list or any ideas. It makes it easy to stay on top of your projects, and it can also help as a way to get your creative juices flowing, as you can doodle on it to your heart’s content. Place a small dry erase board on your desk for taking quick notes, and hang a big one on your wall for flowcharts, important reminders or brainstorming sessions.
You may be able to get away with not having a printer if you are aiming for a paperless office or business, but there may be times when you need to make copies, fax, scan, or even print something. There are lots of devices on the market, and you need to choose depending on your needs, but a multipurpose or all-in-one printer can be great at managing all of these tasks.
To stay productive during the workday, your body needs fuel. Purchase some healthy snacks to keep in your office, so you won’t waste time going to the kitchen every time you feel peckish, and you won’t be tempted to snack on cookies.
Non-perishable food items that are also healthy include nuts, dried fruit, and some energy bars so you’ll never be left hungry. And while you’re at it, make sure to keep a refillable water bottle near you, to stay hydrated!
The amount of light in your office is essential for your productivity and long-term health. If possible, natural lighting is best, but it should also be supplemented by an excellent daylight desk lamp. When you work in poor lighting, you will be straining your eyes, and your motivation will be decreased. A good lamp will ensure a suitably lit working environment, both day and night.
Most likely, you have a heating and cooling system in your home so you can control the basic temperature. However, some homes have cold or warm spots where the temperature is not what you would like it to be.
If your office is in an area that tends to be colder or hotter than the rest of your home, you still want to be comfortable. Try a fan or space heater if the temperature in your home office is not suitable for working in a pleasant and agreeable environment.
A Great View
In a best-case scenario, your home office will be near a window with a view to your garden or a city landscape. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, so if you’re not blessed with a natural view, put up a poster or painting above your desk. Taking a few breaks throughout the day to look at the colorful decoration will boost your morale and enhance your productivity and creativity.
Discipline is one of the most critical must-haves for your office, as well as being an office essential. You need to be disciplined to complete your daily tasks and meet deadlines without anyone checking you are not procrastinating. You have to instill discipline in yourself, making sure your professional and personal time are delineated.
Create a schedule and tackle your daily chores either before or after work, so you’re not rushing at the end of the day trying to get things done. However, it’s important that you still maintain a good work-life balance, and not get consumed by work as it’s conveniently located in your home.
While home office must-haves vary from person to person, discipline is a basic need, as home workers have little to no supervision, so we need to be disciplined in our own way, so we complete the work without a lot of hassle.
Having a functional and well-equipped workspace will help ensure that you have the motivation to work hard and produce high-quality work. When your home office offers you comfort and convenience, it will be easier to get into work mode, making your day more exciting and can become even better than working at a regular office.
Let your creative juices flow and set up a planned and proper home office, making you a more efficient and better worker.