Carolyn Frith
home office in an apartment

Whether you have the opportunity to work from home or you put in overtime outside of your normal working hours, creating a space that’s right for your home office is essential for your success.

With that in mind, here are five steps to create your ideal home office.

1. Select the room  

Perhaps you already know where to locate your home office. If you have a spare room, it’s easy. On the other hand, if you’re living in a small apartment, finding the right spot can be challenging. You may need to squeeze it into a room that already serves another purpose.

Before selecting a location, determine how much space your home office requires. Think about what you need to do your work, such as a desk, chair, computer, monitors, a printer, bookshelves and file cabinets. Where can you fit all those items?

How about the living room? Maybe. But if that’s home to your TV, it may not be easy to block out family activities or make phone calls. After all, your children might want to watch a movie or your spouse could be a loud and enthusiastic fan of their favorite sports teams.

Whichever room you choose, make sure it can be private, quiet and free from distractions when need be.

You should also make sure the room receives enough natural light. Research shows workplaces with good daylight can increase productivity by 3 to 40 percent. And of course, don’t forget a strong Wi-Fi signal.

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2. Design it

A good design can make it significantly easier to work, so have some fun creating an environment that gives you energy and inspiration.

Do you want a look of traditional sophistication, rustic chic, modern minimalist, or unique eclecticism? Search around on the Internet, and you’ll discover plenty of office design ideas and inspiration. Find the one that calls to you.

Also, think about colors. Research shows that blue helps spur the creative juices while red aids with attention to detail.

3. Order your equipment and furniture

Once you decide what you need and where it’s going to go, it’s time to fill in the gaps in your inventory of furniture and equipment.

If you need a chair, you might not want to steal one away from the kitchen or dining room table every time you sit down to work. Consider the ergonomics of using your computer and how it affects your body. Some chairs will keep your back healthier than others by providing the support required to sit in a more balanced position.

Desks today range from static to variable to standing. Look into the reviews of all the options to determine what would work best for you.

Once those two staples are in, think about what else you need. How will you set up your computer and printer? Do you need bookshelves or filing cabinets? Maybe you’re not sure yet. Don’t feel pressured to buy everything at once. Use your space for a while and then you will have a feel for what you’re really missing.

4. Conquer the tech set up

One of the reasons so many people can set up home offices and work virtually is that we can stay connected, so setting up those connections is essential.

If you’re an employee, you’ll likely need to access the corporate network and have your email, computer, phone and printer set up. Contact your employer’s tech team to help with the task and get any needed approvals.

If you run a small business and need technical assistance, you can use a reputable tech service to get up and running. Inquire and consider getting a dedicated desktop phone, dual screens for multi-tasking and the many helpful web-based apps that exist today to make working remotely easy such as screensharing apps like join.me, go-to-meeting, Skype and others.

5. Add the final touches

Office accessories can make all the difference to your comfort and productivity.

Add a desk lamp, floor lamp or wall sconces to get the lighting just right. Get a cell phone stand to make your phone more convenient and minimize the chance of burying it under paperwork. Add a cell phone charger near-by.

Find a container for your pens and pencils and consider other general storage needs. Or perhaps you’d prefer a desktop organizer that corrals your phone, stapler, pens and more all into one space.

And if you live in a busy household, you might want to buy a “Do Not Disturb” sign.

You’ll likely be spending many hours in your home office, so it should be a comfortable, pleasant and a productive space. Take the time to design and set it up to fit your needs. You’ll get more done and be happier while doing it.

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About The Author

Carolyn Frith

Carolyn Frith, a content consultant who owns Carolyn Frith Marketing, aims to rid the world of snore-and-bore writing on the web. Topics she covers range from Philadelphia events and real estate options to a variety of other content.

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