When it comes to a home office there are certain need that should be met. Working from home can be distracting, certainly for those with family at home, which is why it is so important to have an office; an area dedicated solely to your work and career where you can perform your tasks without distraction or interruption.
When it comes to designing your home office there are certain rules that you should be sure to keep to in order to encourage productivity, these rules as well as explanations of why they are of benefit to you are as follows.
Paint it bright.
Before you even start to think about furniture design and storage you should be giving the room you have selected as your new home office a fresh coat of paint. Bright colours, in particular yellow, is proven to help you feel more alert and focused during the day, particularly at the start of the working day when you perhaps aren’t quite awake yet. Of course an entirely bright yellow room can be a bit much, so selecting a more subtle bright colour such as cream can help the room to remain bright while yellow decorations add a more tasteful splash of colour.
Even if no one else is actually going to see your home office it should be presented in a professional manner. You should of course have a desk, a chair, storage space and you may consider having an extra seating option on the off chance that you do have guests, though this would of course depend on the nature of your industry of work. Spending a little more on your furniture and selecting something that is perhaps more stylish and professional in appearance than the purely cost effective options will help to make a good impression and can make you feel better about your home office and more motivated when spending time in it.
The common furniture needs include; a desk (something with draws is a good idea for storage reasons), a chair (something comfortable and adjustable, work on the assumption you will be spending a lot of time in it), a bookshelf or alternative shelves (you will of course need to be able to display books, files and store your resources and research materials if you have them), additional seating for guests, a side table or coffee table (somewhere to sit with possible customers or just a space for having a cup of tea and reading research materials) and of course office storage such as a filing cabinet where you will keep all of your resources, paperwork, files etc. that are not displayed.
Decorate with color.
There is nothing worse than spending hours on end in a dull room, even if the walls are painted brightly some decoration is needed. A nice rug, some desk decoration, a vase of flowers; there are a number of very cheap but effective options for decorating an office. Artwork is perhaps one of the easiest and most effective to accomplish and can help to boost creativity as well as productivity in the work place. Plants are possible the most effective option for decoration, big or small, green or vibrant; plants and flowers help to provide a pleasant and natural feel to an office space and can produce a relaxing aroma that aids concentration.
Do not clutter.
Regardless of how much you think you need or how small your new home office is clutter is a big no. You home office should never be used for family storage. It should never have more furniture than it needs. Less is more and open space is essential. You may consider imposing a rule that children are not permitted access to your home office, to help prevent toys and other children’s items from being left behind and scattered around, producing a type of clutter of their own.
Display your Work.
Either a big white board or a big calendar, somewhere hung on a wall so that you can see it from your desk. Use this to diligently record all of your tasks, appointments and deadlines. Not only does this reduce the chances of you forgetting the important times and dates but it also means that when your eyes go wandering around the room during periods in which you are less focused you will be reminded of the work you need to be doing, this is effectively like scaring yourself back to work; reminding yourself of approaching deadlines and commitments.
It can also be very effective to have a notice board for all the little reminders to yourself. Notes with the contact information of people you need to get back to, messages you scribble to yourself when you have something you want to go back to or think about later. Organizing your thoughts and tasks can be much easier when you write them down so ensure that you have somewhere you can display your work and thoughts to help remind yourself of them.
The ability to lock your office door is the ability to lock out all distractions; completely separating your personal and professional life. If you have a family at home it is important for your concentration that you are able to make it clear to yourself and your family when it is work time and when it is family time. Having a lock on the door of your home office will be one of the most effective ways of making it clear to your family members that you are working and should not be disturbed. Alternatively you can invest a little money into a ‘do not disturb’ sign that you can stick on the door during your working hours.
A window is important for letting in fresh air and natural light, a home office with a very small window or no window is likely to feel like a more depressing space to spend your time in and is unlikely to make you feel productive. However, when the sun gets too bright it can quickly become an annoyance and a distraction and depending on the location of the window and your desk it can be the cause of sun glare which causes difficulties when trying to work and can result in headaches. The easiest solution is of course to ensure that windows are fitted with blinds that will allow you to more effectively control the amount of natural light. These are of course a fairly cost effective and easy to acquire item.