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5 Steps To Create An Ideal Home Office

So you’ve finally made it to the big-leagues and have achieved the dream of a 30-second work commute from bed to computer. All you’ve got to do is plop your laptop down in your living room, log onto the internet and begin working, right?

If your plan is to get 30 minutes of work done in a whole day, then proceed! However, setting up a truly operational and work-conducive home-office set up takes time. The goal is to recreate that office work atmosphere.

1. Work Isolation

When you’re in your work space, it’s work time. Sounds stupid but you’re going to have to train yourself to associate this small space within your all-too-familiar home to become a productivity station. Do not work from your bed, the kitchen or the bathroom. You need a specific place that’s only for work. As soon as you step foot into this office, it’s all business. Isolate this space from the rest of the house which means no food, guitars or any other distractions be allowed within the room. Also, when you take breaks or are done for the day, do not enter your workspace. Use the rest of the house for whatever you like but ensure that your work space is for business only.

Even if you live in tight quarters, enshrining this space as “work only” is very important. Small-business owner Jeff Kee has set up makeshift home offices everywhere he has transplanted himself and recommends that for tight spaces, “use the vertical space as well as the horizontal space. Think more 3D, and try to make the best of the vertical height and leverage it.” Here is a photo of one of his own setups, which makes use of space with incredible efficiency. It’s hardly a corner of the room!

It’s all about designating a workspace, if that that means an official looking chair, a small desk and a bright lamp, then so be it. 

2. Time Specialization

It’s easy to start thinking that working from home means you get to wake up whenever you’d like, and spend the whole day in your pajamas. It doesn’t.

You’re still a professional. While you no longer need to wake up at the crack of dawn to begin your smog-filled commute, you do have to rise with your formerly co-located coworkers. This will help train your mind to know that weekdays are still for working even though you’re not leaving your house. Keep a routine. Work a solid eight-hour day. Don’t do a three-hour chunk here, a four-hour chunk there with the remaining hour being shoved into your schedule late at night. You want to compartmentalize your life while you’re working at home so you can be as efficient as possible.

3. Furniture

As benign as it might seem, physically setting up your work space properly will make a huge difference in how productive you are. Lying in bed, melting into a bean bag chair or sitting on a kitchen stool will completely change your approach to work. You want to be comfortable but energized.

Don’t skimp here. Get a nice, adjustable ergonomic chair for maximum comfort. Ensure that the chair is completely unique to your work space (not found elsewhere in your house) so that as soon as you sit down, you automatically associate “work” with that chair. This goes similarly for your desk, cabinets and drawers. As previously mentioned, the goal here is to create a space that encapsulates work both physically and mentally.

4. Lighting

Having your work space where there is natural light is vital to keeping a proper work routine. If you can’t naturally tell what time of day it is, you’ll begin to throw your body’s natural circadian rhythm out of whack and it’ll become difficult to work for a solid eight hours. Your body will begin to internalize that when the sun’s the brightest you should be working and when the sun begins setting, you should start relaxing. This will help transform your body into a work machine.

5. Supplies

The final step to creating the perfect at-home office space is by having the supply closet of a large office, but in your tiny space. Make sure you have plenty of the standard office supplies like pens, highlighters, scissors, and tape handy so you never have to worry about running out. Also make sure that you have anything your business specialization needs. If you’re generating loads of reports, make sure to have plenty of paper and a 3-hole puncher available or if you’re a graphic designer, get a high-quality scanner and plenty of glossy paper. Make a list of what you use the most at your office setting and replicate those materials at your home-office. If you have to constantly search for items, or worse go out and purchase a bunch of materials, you’ll ruin your coveted workflow.

Finally! You can escape the doldrums of the regular work day because you work from home. No more anger-ridden commute, smelly co-workers or insulting bosses. It’s all your space now. Enjoy it.

The Oatmeal has humorously provided us with the pros and cons of working from home.

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