Welcome to guest writer, James Adams, who provides advice on how to set up your home office.
If you want working from home to be successful and productive, then it should be separate from your personal space, distraction free, and inviting. Avoid the temptations to cobble together a desk and chair in the corner of a room and calling it your office. Take it from me, it won’t work! So if you’re taking your work seriously, then take these ten essentials on board and apply them to your freelance office.
Rather than the kitchen table, take over a room in the house as your home office. It will be easier to claim this space on your taxes and serve as a barrier between your personal and work spaces. Train people to leave you alone when the door to your office is closed. Keep this area away from the highly trafficked areas within your house so you can have peace and quiet.
The larger the window, the better. When you can see outside your office, you will feel more connected with the outside world. You will feel more vibrant and mentally stimulated. The room that you have taken over might have started out as the storage room but it is now your office. It should not feel like a jail cell or a mineshaft. Change the wattage in your overhead lights or purchase a desk lamp.
Equipment should be at your fingertips. You should buy a multifunction printer to take care of your needs. You don’t want to leave the office to fax items or copy documents. For those items that you don’t use on a daily basis, like binding equipment, you might consider holding off on your purchase. So, when you need to go to the office supply store, make your trip count.
If you are constantly shifting and moving around in your chair, then you are not working at your most productive. This is the chair that you will be using day in and day out. You will be resting your rear on it for hours. Some people also put in couches or other chairs so they can have a change in environment without having to leave the office.
Your data should be backed up at least once a week. You never know when your computer will be attacked by viruses, so keep your portfolio and reference material safe. A great cheap way to back up your data is to zip it and email the file to yourself.
6. White board
Track your goals and doodle at the same time. Have fun with a dry erase board. Buy several coloured pens. Use it for your stick figure drawing projects. Having a white board in your office makes it easier to take notes and it also reminds you of important upcoming events.
Maintain enough storage within your office to keep books, reference materials and office supplies. Keep the supplies within view, but make sure you are not overstocking. You don’t need to have your weight in paper or pens at your disposal. If you don’t have many items cluttering up your shelves, then you can quickly and easily locate your important items.
8. Knick knacks
Bring items which reveal a personal touch. Bring in sentimental artwork. Place posters on the wall. Put a very few things on your desk which spur your creativity. The items which you bring into the office should spur your dreaming. Pretend that your office is completely separate from the house.
You are going to spend a lot of time at this desk, so make it a great one. You want to have enough surface area so that you don’t feel cramped. Conversely, you do not want to have too much space. That invites clutter and disorganization. Look around your area for refurbished office furniture. You can get more desk for your money.
10. Internet connection
Your internet connection is your lifeline. Your clients might use Paypal. You might receive assignments or revisions through the internet. You might chat with people via Skype. Your connection needs to be top-notch and stable.
The freelance office is a small oasis in the maelstrom of your house. It should provide a refuge from the kids and be comfortable enough for you to do work and make your living. While there is no universally standard perfect home office, your office should be perfect for you.