Do you have the option of starting your work day with a cup of coffee in your hand and slippers on your feet? Millions of telecommuters and home-based business owners do, and the American Community Survey conducted by the US Census shows that those numbers are rising annually.
Because most business is done electronically, many large and small corporations have embraced this new reality, which can make life much easier for working parents who need the flexibility of setting their own hours and the advantage of being home for their kids. Whether you’re telecommuting or own your own home-based business, you need a well-designed home office for maximum productivity and efficiency. Here are five keys to home office success:
1. Start by choosing a space that’s away from the distractions and temptations of everyday life, which can divide your focus and decrease productivity. Doing your work from a kitchen table or island is a recipe for disaster – not only is the kitchen the hub of most home activity, but you’ll constantly find yourself running back and forth to wherever you store your supplies and files for the things you need.
2. Be sure the space you choose has enough room for office supplies and a file cabinet. Even though most work today is done on computers, you still need a place to store printer paper, ink, and other necessaries as well as a file cabinet for the inevitable paperwork that comes with every job or business. Some of this paperwork could be proprietary in nature or contain sensitive information, so you need to keep those papers out of the public eye and safe from accidental spills, not to mention the possibility of mixing up your work with your child’s homework or your bills. A file cabinet that’s easily accessible within your office space will keep your documents safe, organized, and right where you need them.
3. If possible, put a door on your office space so no papers are accidentally swept off your desk when someone passes by. This also discourages kids from playing with the items on your desk when you’re out of your office. You can also close off noise and distractions when you need to make business calls or focus on a project.
4. Two of the most important elements in any office are good lighting and a good quality office chair. You’ll be spending a lot of time in that chair, and the wrong one can harm you physically over time. Take the time to try a variety of ergonomic chairs to find the one that gives you the best support for those long days behind your desk. With the many selections available today, you can find one that’s not only comfortable, but also complements your office and suits your own personal style. Good lighting is just as important – besides overhead light, use task lighting to prevent eye strain and fatigue.
5. If you need to keep important messages, documents, or reminders within sight, put a tack board on the wall in a spot where you can’t help but see it. This prevents your desk from becoming cluttered while still keeping these items in front of you.
Now that you’ve got the most important things done, don’t forget the fun part – adding those personal touches. Pictures of your family, artwork you love, or anything else that makes your office a cheerful place to be definitely have a place in your home office. You’ll be spending a good amount of time there, so make it a space you look forward to being in!