In today’s technology-driven world, the home office is becoming less of a luxury and more of an imperative for many professionals. The good news is that having a home office provides a significant psychological boost for separating “home” versus “work,” but without ever leaving the house. Your home office may be tax-deductible, and it definitely provides a sanctuary where you can bypass the otherwise-overwhelming distractions of working from home.
Experts suggest that, when setting up a home office, you should consider first the type of feel and environment you prefer, then make a list of all the work tasks that you will perform there. Will you be using a computer? Lots of time on the phone? Will you need a printer, fax machine, or other specialty equipment?
It’s best to dedicate a separate room for your home office, providing you the luxury of having a door to shut whenever you find it necessary. If you don’t have a room to spare however, you can set aside a portion of a common space (den, unused formal dining room, or even a corner of your great room). Using furniture, portable room dividers, or other accessories, you can clearly delineate your workspace from the rest of the home.
Once you’ve identified your space, it’s time to figure out what goes where. Your desk or workstation should be the centerpiece of the space, and be situated such that you have a view that will be the most inspiring (and least distracting) to you. A fine quality desk may be worth the investment since you’ll be spending about as much time there as any other place in your life. Sunlight is important and, if possible, provide yourself a view to the outdoors. Research shows that being able to see nature while you work makes you happier and more productive.
Situate any necessary tools within easy reach. For example, if you use reference books or other literature frequently, ensure that your bookshelves are nearby. Locate items of lesser aesthetic (filing cabinets, for example, are never the most alluring aspect of anyone’s office) further from your immediate work area. Keep a drawer in your desk for the files you’re working on now, and keep everything else stowed neatly away to minimize distractions.
Finally, don’t skimp on the fun things. Bright accessories and family photos, maybe even a live plant or two, add a homey feel that will make you happy to “get to work” each day. It’s your office… have fun and make the workspace truly your own.