Welcome to your office, which in today’s telecommuting world means another part of your home. Here’s what’s great about that. You’re leaving that creaky swivel chair and stuffy cubicle not to mention the traffic behind in favor of setting up your workspace precisely to your liking. So be choosy and thoughtful in the details. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Location, location, location. In this case, the real estate we’re talking about is where in your home will your office be located? Maybe you’re converting a bedroom into an office, which likely means you’ll be able to shut the door for added privacy. But if you live alone or you’re the only one at home during the day, a central location might work best for you (who uses the dining room anymore?). If it’s important to separate your work life from home life, keep that in mind. A room divider can be helpful if you start with cramped quarters. Will clients be dropping by? If so, you’ll want to make sure you have a space free from distractions.
Find the desk and chair that suit your needs. Position your desk so you’re not facing the wall, if possible. If you need more than one computer monitor, make sure your desk is large enough to accommodate that. These days it’s in vogue to have a desk that can convert to a standing one. Do you need lots of drawers and shelves? Are you planning to hook up a printer or scanner? Invest time in choosing the perfect chair. Back support is essential (think ergonomic chair), but you’re not limited to typical office furniture anymore. If you want a cushy chair in your favorite color scheme, go for it.
Consider your storage options. If you have documents with clients’ personal information, it’s best to store them under lock and key even though it is your home. Just like the desk and chairs you choose, you aren’t limited to the industrial looking gray filing cabinets. Find a place for supplies, including pens, paper clips, paper and anything else you need during the workday.
Speaking of privacy, you will want to make sure your Wi-Fi is secure and working at its optimum speed. You don’t want shaky wireless for a home office. If you plan to move outdoors to work on occasion or tote your laptop to other locations around the house, you might need a Wi-Fi extender. Make sure you have power surge protectors and backup disks so you don’t lose important information.
Let there be light! Having a window is ideal and for Zoom calls, it’s good to have plenty of natural light in the room. But too much sun can cause a glare on your screen. Consider blinds that can easily adjust as light levels change throughout the day. Lamps are also a good edition. If you don’t want to clutter your desk, a good floor lamp with full-spectrum bulbs is easy on the eyes.
Bonus tip: This is your space. Think about what you want to do to personalize it. That can mean indoor plants, framed photos of family, a snuggly bed for your furry officemate — there is no one-size-fits-all approach to how your space should look. Most folks are more productive in an uncluttered area, but if that’s not you, don’t force it. Make your new office all yours!