Setting up a home office is a really big deal. You are moving your work life into your home life, so you will need to think about how you want to arrange it so that the two parts of your life are clearly defined and completely separate. If you are so fortunate to have a spare room, the separation will be relatively easy. If you have a smaller home, you may need to simply define the space in a part of a room.
Choosing the room or area to work is the first step.
The room or area you work should have good, natural lighting and ventilation for both you and your equipment. Many home offices perform double duty as a guest room. This space will need to be clearly defined for you to be able to put yourself into a mind-set that you are going to work. A separate room will provide the best way to create that sort of mind-set with a door that can be closed against the activity in the home. If you are creating a space in part of a room due to minimal space in your home, you may want to get a room divider to clearly define your work area for yourself and your family.
Think about the tools you will need for your business.
If you will be using a phone frequently to telecommute from a central office or communicate with your clients, you should consider getting a business phone line. Not only will this prevent the phone from being answered in appropriately by a teenager in the family, it will also allow you to have a line dedicated to your business, which you can have billed separately from your home phone. Keep the amount of equipment to a minimum by purchasing a combination phone/fax. A small desktop printer should be adequate for most home businesses. If you should need to do a larger printing job, you can use a local printing shop for those jobs.
Your computer for work should be treated as a part of your business and should not be used for other purposes or used by other family members. Your clients’ privacy should be carefully respected by assuring that their information will not be shared wantonly on a family computer.
Planning your desk space.
You will be working at your desk for long hours in a day. It should be a comfortable place for you to work. Your office should have plenty of natural light to reduce stress on your eyes. In addition to that natural lighting, you should have a desk lamp that provides good lighting on your work, yet not provide such bright lighting that is a strain on your eyes. Your workspace should be uncluttered so you should locate areas either on your desk top, in drawers, or get file cabinets to file away paper work. A good set-up on a desk should have a place to store pens, paperclips, notepaper, and business cards. You should look into a stacker to sort your work for the day. Perhaps a slot for ‘to do’, one for ‘file’, and one for incoming mail, and one for outgoing mail. In this way you stay organized in your daily tasks.
Create the kind of atmosphere that motivates you.
The colour scheme will create an atmosphere that says ‘work’ to you. Different colours create different moods:
- Blues: These colours create a feeling of relaxation and peace of mind. If you are a high octane go-getter, is the right colour for you?
- Greens: Shades of green create a natural atmosphere, evoking thoughts of the world outside your office. If you’re a day-dreamer, this might not be the right colour for you. But, a green desk blotter might remind you of the colour of money.
- Yellows: It’s no mistake that bright, happy things are associated with yellow, the colour of the sun, is it? Pops, of this colour can brighten your mood on a frustrating day.
- Reds: Different tones of red evoke different moods. It is an exciting colour that creates strong feelings. Accents in the room can draw the eye when you are brain-storming.
- Greys: Soft tones such as greys, off-whites, and tans are neutral. To some—boring.
- Purples: Soft lavender and violet shades of purple are warm and they may help you with concentrating.
Choose your colour palette with care to create the mood you need to stay motivated throughout your work day and that feel inviting to you when it’s time to enter your office and close the door to the home-life on the other side.