Many people prefer the convenience and comfort of working from home. Whether you’re self-employed or working for a company via a “telecommute”, you’ll need a decent home office to work from. Yes, the stereotype of someone who works from home does it all on a laptop on the kitchen table (and possibly only half dressed), but to really work efficiently, you need to have a proper workspace set up. But don’t worry, saving on London transport fares can provide some extra funds you never knew existed.
This workspace doesn’t need to be a whole room. Sometimes, a corner of a lounge is all that is really necessary, as long as you have room for a work desk and maybe a filing cabinet or a set of drawers or so. However, never set up your home office in your bedroom. Experts say that this will not help you get a good night’s sleep, as bedrooms should be reserved for sleeping and relaxing (and making love). It’s certainly rather depressing to have your work staring you in the face first thing in the morning and last thing at night, no matter how much you like your work.
Your first consideration is good lighting. You have to make sure that you have enough light to see paperwork (or your handiwork, if your work from home involves art or craft) without straining your eyes. Natural sunlight is best – it’s cheap, easy on the eyes and cheers you up (being stuck in a sunless office on a beautiful sunny day is frustrating – but this writer has been known to print out hard copy of work to be done and head outdoors with it on days like that). If you work on a computer, it’s best if the sunlight comes over your shoulder not straight into your eyes, as direct full-frontal sunlight makes it hard to see the screen – all you’ll see is yourself reflected in the screen.
What else do you need? Warmth is another consideration – no matter how romantic the idea of being a novelist penning brilliant work while shivering in an attic is, the reality of working while cold is ghastly – chilled fingers get clumsy. If you’re so hard up that you can’t afford at least a small heater, you had better reconsider your work – perhaps this work-from-home job can be a secondary job rather than your main one. That being said, as you are by yourself, you don’t have to maintain a “corporate image” in your clothes, so you can keep warm if needed with thick, warm clothes.
A computer is a must these days for working from home. Even if you don’t use the internet and email for work purposes, a good spreadsheet program makes “doing the books” a breeze.
You will also need a reasonable desk to work on, plus space to store files or other projects. You don’t need a proper filing cabinet (unless you want one). A cupboard filled with manila folders and arch files works well. Having shelves for books and stationery is also handy, although stationery is more easily corralled inside a drawer or cupboard (and keeping your sticky tape, staplers and pens hidden where the kids can’t raid them without asking has a bonus).
Make sure your home office is nice to be in. You will spend much of your day in there, after all. Working from home means you have more latitude to get personal. Don’t forget senses other than the eyes – you can turn the stereo up and sing with it if you want to, and you can have an aromatherapy burner with your favourite essential oil, and nobody will complain.
Beware of letting coffee cups and plates pile up in your office. Yes, you will want to nibble and sip while you work (but watch out for your computer keyboard) but don’t overdo it. It’s best to leave the office for lunch; otherwise, you’ll spend the whole day in one little room, which isn’t good for your mind.
Now once you have set up you home office working environment you need to think about setting up a regular office cleaning schedule. I know it is only your home but being a self-employed in your own company will take a whole lot of time therefore organising a cleaning schedule is a must.
Here is a tip. Outsource the cleaning of your office and your whole house to a commercial cleaning company with years of experience. If you happen to live in the capital one such company is Anyclean London. They offer office cleaning as well as domestic cleaning services. Booking a cleaner through them will take away the need to look after the cleanliness at your home.
If your business takes off and you need to employ staff then by law you will be required to provide feminine hygiene bins (if any female workers) and regular cleaning service at the premises. I know it’s only your house but the law is the law. You have to go by it.
Oh yes – just because you don’t have the boss looking over your shoulder doesn’t mean that you can spend your time surfing the net or playing computer games. Self-discipline is needed!