Setting up a home office takes time and a lot of planning. Having a space in the corner of the living room is nothing like a real workspace, and you will have to make sure that you can work whenever you want undisturbed and make the most out of your productivity. Whether you have a home office in the garden, conservatory, or a spare bedroom, you have to make it as convenient and functional as possible, so it serves your business needs as they change and makes it easier to focus on the task at hand. This way, you will not have to spend all day in the office and can have some quality time with your family members. Find out more below.
Separate Your Work and Home Life
When planning a home office, it is always important that you have a clear distinction between home and office. This means that you have to create a daily schedule and only stay in the office when you are doing productive work. When you set up your office, you have to choose a room or area where you cannot be distracted by the TV, kids, people at the door, or distract others. If you regularly work at night in front of the TV when other family members are trying to chill, you will not only inconvenience yourself but those living under the same roof, too.
Take Care of Security
No matter if you are working from your conservatory or garden room, it is important that you protect your assets. Independent of whether or not you have your business registered at your home address, people will find out that you are working from home and have office equipment and computers in the office. Install extra flood lights and a camera outside of the house or in the office, and integrate the room in your home alarm loop, so you can make sure you find everything in the morning where you left it. Lock the doors and password protect your files.
Make Everything Wireless
If you are short of space, the last thing you want is getting tripped up by wires or having to plug in and unplug different devices. The good news is that there are plenty of wireless devices that will make your life easier and your office layout more flexible. From speakers to printers and scanners, mobile keyboards and a wireless mouse, there are plenty of ways you can make it possible to move around when you are tired of sitting in the same place for hours.
Add Natural Light
One of the best ways of protecting your eyesight when working on the computer the majority of the time is increasing the amount of natural light. You have to be careful, though, as you don’t really want to create glare and reflection, as this can cause eye strains just like artificial light. If you can change your laptop or monitor to an anti-glare model, you will be able to improve your eye health. Getting extra light in through larger windows, opening the blinds, or even installing Velux windows will help you feel more comfortable and improve your mood when working in your office.
While lighting is important, you should also pay attention to the temperature in the office. If the roo is not included in your HVAC system and doesn’t have a separate thermostat, it is recommended that you get a portable heater/air conditioner and check the temperature in every season. Chances are that if you work from your conservatory you will be too hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. Adding secondary glazing and insulation to your conservatory will not only improve your comfort level, but also help you save money.
Some people prefer listening to music when working, and this means that you will need an advanced sound system installed in your office. You can get a wireless speaker that works with an SD card, your laptop, and even your phone. This will not only help you stay entertained when doing your accounts or working on strategy, but also make it easier to communicate with clients. A hands free speaker that makes it easy to talk to remote workers and potential clients while you are taking notes will improve your productivity.
Info At Your Fingertips
It is also crucial that you are able to see your accounts, your income and expenditure, your results, and your website statistics whenever you want to. Installing apps on your phone, tablet, or Windows computer will make your life easier. You can get review your to-do list and display it on a wirelessly connected monitor next to your desk, so you always know what comes next and can stay on target. Instead of using the old fashioned method of getting a pin board on your wall, you can make technology work for you.
Ten-fifteen years ago, if you wanted all your office devices to communicate with each other, you should have employed a networking specialist to set up a home network. Thanks to the advancement of information technology, today you don’t have to do this. By simply adding all your devices to the same WiFi network and making use of Bluetooth in your home office, you can send documents to different devices, sync your Google Calendar and files, and even back up important documents.
One of the best ways of saving money on running your office is monitoring everything. Create a list of office supplies, heating and air conditioning bills, insurance payments, and compare the prices from different suppliers. You might install a separate energy monitor to accurately record your office carbon footprint. If you do your research right, you can find HP ink cartridges for less than you would think. This will also help you calculate your hourly rates as a virtual assistant or freelancer, and avoid making a loss.
Set Opening Hours
It is crucial that you limit the time you spend in your home office, too. Many startup entrepreneurs make a mistake and burn out in the first few months or years because they don’t know how to switch off. You should always limit your working hours, even if you are trying to build a business from scratch. Whether you are starting at 10 and working until 6 or are starting off part time, you will need to give yourself scheduled breaks, holidays, and days off, or your productivity and efficiency will suffer.
There is nothing worse than trying to find an invoice or a contract. You will need all your office supplies and paperwork organized. There are plenty of great space saving desk organizers that will keep your phone, your cards, your pens and other office supplies at hand without making your desk look as if a bomb has exploded on it. You can get letter storage, folders, and other organizers that will keep your desk tidy and easy to navigate. No matter if you are mostly working on the computer and don’t use pens too often, when you need one you need to be able to find it.
Most entrepreneurs today scan their invoices to save space and avoid losing them. If you don’t have a wireless scanner yet, you might want to invest in one. The good news is that it can be stored away in a corner, but you will be able to keep your important paperwork backed up on your computer or your external drive, in case the tax man wants to see them. Scanning your letters and official documents will not only save you storage space, but also make your accounts more organized and easier to see through.
It is crucial that you set up automatic backups to the cloud or an external hard drive, in case your hard drive fails and you don’t have access to them. For just a couple of dollars a month, you can subscribe to either Google Suite, DropBox, or iCloud, and access your files remotely from anywhere, set up automatic syncing, and protect your business and personal, customer, data, as well as your reputation.
Data Protection and Security
If you deal with EU countries, it is important that you comply with the latest GDPR regulations and safeguard customer information. At the same time, you will also have to protect your own data, and prevent hacker and denial of service attacks. If you don’t have virus and malware protection yet, it might be time to talk to a professional computer security expert who can put software in place to keep you and your business safe online.
When setting up an office at home, you need to make sure that it is not taking over your life, and is suitable for what you want to use it for. Separate your living and working space, set up data and site security, and connect advanced technology to save time and money working from home.