The work day is coming to an end. You type up the last few emails you need to send, and you’re done. You close your laptop, and then get up and stretch. While you wonder what the commute home would be like, you step out of your office and into your home. You don’t have a commute, fortunately. You work from home at your home office. And when you’re work day is done, you’re already at home.
Working from home certainly isn’t new, and neither is having a home office. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the best home office that you can have. It’s where you work, after all, and it’s where you’ll spend your day earning your income. In order to have the most efficient home office possible, there are some basic features every office should have. While your business or job might have different needs from the next person, each home office will have some features in common.
What Every Home Office Needs
When you’re creating your home office, you’re making a place that’s separate from your home. Working from home can provide one the best ways to balance your work life and your home life, but you’ll need a well designed home office to make the most of it. Some features are apparent, like an ergonomic chair and a good desk. But others are a little less apparent, like separation between your home office and your home.
· A Working Surface. Regardless of what you do, odds are you’re going to need a desk or some kind of surface to work on. You’ll also need a place to use your computer, printer, and phone, unless that’s what your work surface is for. If your work area is too small, you’ll be cramped. You won’t be able to spread out like you need to for work, and that can be a problem. You’ll want at least a 42-inch space to work, and maybe even more. Plan how you’re going to be working, and how much space you’ll need.
· An Ergonomic Chair. Since this is a home office, you’ll probably be sitting for much of your work day. Unless you’re building a standing desk, you’re going to want a comfortable chair, and it’s worth spending the extra money to get an ergonomic chair that will keep you comfortable, and sitting correctly. It’s also important for the chair to be able to adjust to the correct height for you to use your keyboard.
· Plenty of Storage. One sure way to cause your work to bleed into your home life and destroy your work/life balance is by not having enough storage in your home office. Keep everything that you’ll need for work in your office, and you’ll be able to keep your work where it belongs. Your storage doesn’t have to be fancy, but make sure that it works for your needs.
· Lighting. The proper lighting can make or break a home office space. Not enough lighting, and you’ll feel like you’re working in a dungeon. And then there’s the eyestrain from poor lighting. Ideally, you’ll want natural light, ambient light, and task lighting. Windows will provide the natural light, and a ceiling light, or even lights that bounce off the ceiling will provide ambient light. For task lighting, you’ll need a desk lamp or whatever your needs call for.
· Flooring. While hardwood might be great in the rest of the house, you might want to consider carpet in your office. There’s a reason that most offices use carpet, and it’s because hardwood or other hard surfaces bounce sound. If you’re going to be on the phone a lot, you’ll notice your voice reverberates. Carpet absorbs sound, getting rid of that echo.
· Power and Internet. In your home office, one outlet might not work. Or, the outlet might not be grounded, and that could cause some potential issues if there’s a power fluctuation. Getting your office wired for your power needs can save you some headaches in the long run. You’ll also want to be sure you have easy access to internet or WiFi. If your home office is far away from the main router, you’ll probably need bridges, or even a way to hardwire a connection.
· Get a Door. While you might not need an actual door, you do need something that will tell you that you’re at work now. Painting your office a different color, having different flooring, or any other visual cues that tell you you’re in work mode now are important. Working from home can be challenging sometimes, because you aren’t going to an actual office. Make your home office feel like one, by using a door, or another type of marker to help you make the switch.