Setting Up a Home Office That Fuels Productivity
One of the biggest mistakes business people make is assuming that working from home will automatically result in a higher level of productivity. Unless you carefully construct your home office environment, you may find that working from home is less productive than you anticipated.
Home office setup is an exercise in knowing yourself. Before you make any decisions, make a list of the things you need to spur productivity. Some people can work at a desk in a common area of the house with the television running in the background. Others want a closed-door environment where distractions are minimized. For some people, a home office is a place to finish up work from a regular day job. For others, a home office is a primary workspace where they spend eight or more hours of the day. Before you start rearranging the furniture, decide what you need as an absolute minimum to encourage you to use the space as intended. A home office, like that old treadmill in the basement, does you little good if you never use it.
Once you have decided whether you're going to segregate an area of the living room, convert a spare bedroom or set yourself up in the basement or garage, you should start thinking about home office furniture. The type of office furniture you pick and the way you organize your space will significantly impact your productivity.
If you come from a work environment where you were forced to work with whatever furniture and equipment your employer provided, you may find that once you have a choice, the way that your home environment is set up will distract you if it is not naturally comfortable. For example, some people like desks with drawers on the left and right sides, while others prefer a desk that resembles a conference room table. Some people prefer to have their desks face a wall, while others want their desk to face the middle of the room.
Whatever your preferences are, investing money up front in the style of office furniture that makes you comfortable will naturally lead to greater productivity. At the very least, this ensures that you won't be tempted to relocate to the bedroom instead of working at your desk. Likewise, an upfront investment in office supplies and equipment will help you get your work done faster and avoid distractions. Before investing in supplies and equipment, you must first decide on the level of efficiency you want to achieve in your home office. Do you want the ability to do anything at home that you otherwise do at a remote office, or do you simply want to work on your computer and print out a document when needed?
A basic home office setup can cost you under $500 if you already have a computer that you can relocate to your new space. There are a number functional office furniture options that look expensive but are actually quite affordable, especially if you are willing to put the furniture together yourself. A printer and a phone with an answering machine can round out a basic home office setup.
A more advanced home office setup would include a fax machine and a photocopier. Fortunately, there are 3-in-1 office machines that combine a printer, fax and copier all in one piece of equipment for under $300, saving you money and space. Keep in mind, however, that a machine that does many things often offers fewer features for each specific function. For example, if your work at home requires more than the occasional photocopy, it can be more efficient to buy a dedicated copy machine that has special functionality to handle a heavier workload.
Don't forget to set aside money in your home office budget for office supplies. From paper to paper clips, you will have to buy all of the little things that you took for granted when you worked for an employer. Make a complete list of the items you use when you work, and go out and buy an extra supply. You will avoid the aggravation of not having staples for your stapler or the right size binder clip for a presentation if you do a major supply run before you start working in your home office.
A home office is sometimes considered the holy grail for people who work. Who wouldn't want a comfortable home oasis where commuting is a foreign concept and the work just gets done? To achieve home office nirvana, you must make a plan that is specifically designed to meet your individual needs and choose the right home office furniture, equipment and supplies to make your plan a reality.