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.