Essential guidelines to help you create the perfect home working environment
1. Start with a critical needs list
This planning stage will help you determine the essentials of your home working environment. List what you need as a must, what would be nice to have and what to work towards. For instance, computer, chair and a desk are essential for any office, whereas artwork could be more of an aspiration.
2. Find a dedicated space in your house
Setting your work area aside from your personal spaces in your home not only helps you focus on work but also ensures that you don't take work home with you. Having this clear distinction means that you won't be tempted to quickly check your work emails while you're relaxing in the evening. Defining these spaces can help younger children understand boundaries of work and family time.
3. Make sure you separate the personal from the professional
Separating your professional and personal life when working from home can help you appreciate family time and leave work in the office. Define your office hours as if you were employed; fixing your office hours is crucial. Blurring the lines between home and work could either make you feel that you're always at work or that there's not enough time for family. Defining the space is important but making time for both is just as crucial. Maintaining your health and wellbeing are essential to ensure you perform at your best whilst working from home.
4. Create an inviting and comfortable environment
Whether you're working from this space on a full or part time basis, it's yours to do what you want with. You may want to give it a lick of paint to brighten the room, add some artwork or furnishings and a plant or two to create a Zen environment. Try not to clutter your new office and remember that if clients are visiting you at home, then you will need a professional environment to invite them into.
5. Ensure you have proper lighting or embrace natural light
It's essential that your working environment is a pleasant place to be. A small dark and dingy room will not be conducive to your productivity and could negatively impact the quality of work that you produce.
6. Stay organised
Be regimented when it comes to filing, invoicing and maintaining good housekeeping in your office. If you work with paper, get a filing cabinet and set aside time each week to ensure your admin is up to date. Spend five minutes at the end of each day clearing away any paperwork and mugs so you're ready to start fresh the next day.
7. Invest in decent furniture to ensure you are comfortable
The kitchen table might work for a while, but if you're serious about working from home you will need to find furniture that you are happy to sit in for a full day's work. Create a pleasing environment that makes you feel happy and positive but doesn't distract you. Your health should always be a priority and just because you are working from home, doesn't mean you don't need an office chair.
8. Get a dedicated work line
If you're using a landline for your business, its best to get a dedicated line installed. If you're trying to keep your budget to a minimum and giving out your personal mobile number, ensure you answer this professionally at all times, you never know who might call!
9. Your first day in the office
Make sure you are ready for your working day as if you were working for someone else. By defining this from the word 'go', you won't be tempted by household distractions or be tempted to lie in at home. Don't forget to give yourself regular breaks - it's important to balance out your work and be mindful of your health. Even the busiest of people still need a breather to ensure they are working at their best.
10. Realistic targets
While these things are important; don't expect to achieve them all at once. Set yourself some realistic targets and deadlines and try to stay on track, but don't feel guilty if they need to be adjusted or realigned.