How To Set Up a Home Office

52% of all UK businesses registered with Companies House are operated from the owner’s home. That’s 2.75 million home businesses and a significant proportion of our UK economy. Setting up a home office is an exciting prospect but, whatever your business idea, it is important to ensure that you have a space in which you know you will be able to concentrate, work and get on with being successful. We have 10 top tips to help you set up your home office and work from home in comfort.

1. Choose an office space you will enjoy being in

The simple truth is that if you don’t like a space, you won’t be relaxed in it and if you aren’t relaxed you won’t be able to work productively.

2. Be generous with your home office desk

Your desk doesn’t have to be expensive (it doesn’t even have to be a desk) but it does need to be suitable for purpose. That tiny table in the corner may make your office look big but will it really allow you adequate room to spread out your laptop, diary, paperwork and that vital cup of tea?

3. Spend a bit on your office chair

Chances are you will be spending a fair amount of time at your desk, particularly in the early days of your new business. Your quality of work will suffer if your sitting position is poor. Take some time to shop around for an office chair, it doesn’t have to be brand new but it does need to provide effective support for your back. The best seating posture is a relaxed angle of 100 to 110 degrees.

4. Think about lighting for your home office

Your eyes are going to work hard in the early days of your business so give them a chance by ensuring that the lighting in your home office is suitable for purpose. Lighting shouldn’t be too bright especially if it is causing glare on your screen, for this reason you should position your computer screen so that it isn’t directly in front of a window.

5. Build plenty of storage into your home office design

It has been suggested that clutter in a room can lead to clutter in our heads. Whilst this is not true for everybody, having a tidy office is efficient and can save precious work time.

6. Ensure adequate internet connections

Few of us can run our businesses with no internet access and we all get fed up with slow broadband and lagging websites. This sort of frustration adds to workplace stress (something you especially want to avoid if your workplace is also your home). Before you locate your home office spend some time comparing connection speeds in different rooms.

7. Add a bit of nature to your home office

Being outside is good for us and, whilst you may not have much time when you are first setting up your home business, you can get the feeling of being in the great outdoors in your home office. Make sure that you have windows that you can open and add some plants to give greenery and additional oxygen.

8. Consider noise factors

When choosing which room to use as a home office you should think about noises in and around the room that might disturb you. If you are next to the kitchen will you feel fidgety when the family comes in to use it?

You should also make sure that you have some provision for music or podcasts in your home office. Most of us don’t want to work to music all of the time but it can help when we are feeling a bit tired.

9. Ring the changes

Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the fact that you are working from home. Whilst your home office should be your main home base, enjoy your ‘home worker’ status by taking your work elsewhere from time to time. If you are baking a cake work in the kitchen and enjoy the aromas from the oven, if you feel the need for fresh air then head out to the garden. On a rainy day, you might even want to consider sending a few emails from the greenhouse!

10. Enjoy your home office

Take a moment each day to appreciate the fact that you are working from home, that you can have your lunch whenever you want to, that you can start at 5 and finish at 3 and that you can go to the loo as many times a day as necessary. If 55% of offices are at home, that leaves 45% that are not, we at Fi Darby Freelance know which we prefer.

 

5 questions people always ask about working from home

The gig economy is on the rise; in February 2016 the University of Hertfordshire undertook research which suggested that a quarter of women in the UK have sought to work from home via online platforms and a quarter of all gig workers use this work as their sole income.

Let’s say you have done your research, chosen your line of work and given up your day job. Whether you are doing copywriting, web design, graphics work or coding (all of these are common ‘work from home’ jobs) there are some questions you are bound to ask:

Do I need to set up a home office?

The answer to this one is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. If you have a laptop, it is entirely possible to work from home, at the kitchen table or even in the garden. However, although these are great for a quick change of scenery or if you are watching the oven, long-term you are going to need a space in which you can shut yourself away from the rest of the world.

Do I need to work normal office hours?

This really depends on what type of work you are doing. The gig economy is global so you might find that clients expect you to work during hours that suit their timezone. The great thing about freelance working from home is the flexibility. It would be a mistake not to sometimes take advantage of this, but if you want your new business to be a success, you will have to be fierce with yourself; if you take an hour off to go for a swim at midday, make yourself work that hour either early in the morning or in the evening.

How can I keep myself motivated?

There are lots of ways to do this but here at Fi Darby Freelance we find the following three things work:

a) Remind yourself regularly what it was like when you worked set hours and weren’t in control.

b) Keep daily records of how much you are earning. If nothing else the reality of bill-paying is a great motivator.

c) Set yourself mini targets every day. This could be a written to-do list, a target number of blog readers or even an interesting piece of research; anything that will give you a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day.

What can I do about feeling lonely?

It can be a social shock going from the workplace to home working. In many ways the solitude is a pleasant change, but you should also be aware of your mental health; we all need contact with other humans. Keeping in touch has never been easier via social media but getting out and actually meeting people is important too. Try to find other people who are working from home, attend business networking events or go on a course that will help you to make contacts.

Am I going to enjoy working from home?

The answer to this one is entirely up to you. Most life experiences are what we make them. Like anything else, there are pros and cons to working from home. Being responsible for your own wage takes a bit of getting used to and finding your initial clients can be daunting. Once you settle down however, you will find that the world is literally your oyster; which is great if you happen to like oysters!

Interested in finding writing work online? Here’s one place to start.

http://www.fidarby.co.uk/2017/01/19/how-to-find-freelance-writing-work-online-copify/

 

The gig economy – the pros and cons of working from home

Freelance writing isn’t the only way you can earn money working from home. The ‘gig economy’ has become so important in the US that it even found a place in the presidential race. In London alone there are over 30,000 Uber drivers and we are starting to see interesting court cases about employment law and employee rights.

Continue reading “The gig economy – the pros and cons of working from home”