So it’s important to feel comfortable when working and Tom Bowers has written a post for us on how you achieve the ultimate home office. Tom has been working from home on a number of different writing, blogging and magazine projects since graduating from university in 2011. He enjoys reading, writing and, most of all, working from home!
I’m Tom and I’ve been lucky enough to work from home for the past four years now. Working from home can be a tricky business – with distractions aplenty you can often find yourself doing the dishes rather than answering your emails. In order to get into the right frame of mind to get to work, I found that creating a little corner at home to call your own can really be the key into making your home office a successful one.
It’s all well and good working from home if you already have your own dedicated office space, but what about those of us who have no such luck? I, for instance, have had to resort to working out of my kitchen – with two kids in a two bed semi, there was simply no room for a “proper” home office.
So what can you do? Well, guys and gals, I can sum it up in just one word: improvise. You have to make the most of what you’ve got and try to squeeze out a place where you can work effectively in peace.
If you’re looking for some tips on exactly how to do just that, well you’ve certainly found yourself in the right place. I’m going to say how I’ve managed to fashion my kitchen space into a makeshift workplace and give some generic tips that should help you transform a small area into big potential.
Find a Good Location
Not everyone will be able to stick to each and every recommendation I’m making here – don’t worry about it if you can’t; we’re all tight on space so just try and find the best location you can. The more boxes you tick, the better, but it’s not going to be the end of the world if you have to give up on a few points.
If you’re working from home, you’re going be spending a lot of time in that home office area, so choose a space carefully. First off, don’t skimp on space. If you’re lucky enough to have a guest room, for God’s sake convert it into your office instead of trying to fit into a closet, especially if you don’t often use it.
Also, try and consider the flow of human traffic around you. I quite often have to suffer the kids getting under my feet in the kitchen, but it’s the best solution I could manage, so I have to make do. Minimise distractions – away from the telly is best! – and consider whether clients will be visiting.
Function over Form
It’s a bit of a cliché, sure, but it’s important. It is of vital importance that your furniture serves you well, so look for things that make the most of your space as will keep you comfortable and working effectively.
However, you will also want to avoid the place looking completely soulless. I was lucky in that we had a small dining table in the kitchen, the perfect size for my computer and everything I needed at hand, so I didn’t have to splash out too much on taking the aesthetics away from “boring cubicle“.
Get a Great Chair
This is inarguably the most important piece of furniture in the whole shebang, especially if you’re a keyboard warrior like me. A badly-fitting chair can eventually lead to some pretty serious spine problems, so you want something ergonomic and seriously comfortable.
I’m currently rocking a fancy-looking leather office chair (it was second-hand and a serious bargain in my eyes), so all I need is a fluffy white cat to complete my Bond villain look. I wouldn’t give up my comfy pal for anything, well… except the one addition I’ve lusted after for years – the adjustable-arm Humanscale chair.
Personalise Your Space
This is really important, guys – don’t work in a soulless environment; you’re at home so you have the freedom to tailor your workspace to the exact specs you desire. Make the place look nice and you’ll have a much easier time getting inspired and knuckling down.
Try brightening the walls with a favourite poster or prints – frame them to make them really pop; they’ll look more professional this way too, as an added bonus. One of my favourite things is a photo of the family that I’ve got blown up to poster size and hanging on the wall in front of me. That little familial touch seems to make things easier! So does the kettle being three feet away, but that’s just me…
If you take all these tips into account as best you can when designing your own little home office space, you should have a much breezier time in setting it all up and getting down to work. I know I get a lot more work done than I did before, plonking myself down onto the sofa with my laptop, so you should see some pretty major improvements too!