If you’re lucky enough to work from home, you have every reason to consider yourself lucky. You don’t have to interact with a bunch of co-workers you might not like, you don’t have to make a potentially-stressful commute most days of the week, and you get to enjoy the comfort of your own home during work hours.
Yet for all it’s made out to be, working from home does not come without its caveats. Even the hardest workers can struggle with discipline and productivity when moving their office into their home. Where’s the harm in checking what’s on TV? You can always finish that paperwork later.
Having a purposeful home office will help put you in the working mindset and motivate you to get better results. You don’t need to spend a lot to have a slick-looking workplace-at-home. In fact, spending less might actually be advisable…
The necessities of a home office
The issue with spending a lot on your home office can be summed up in one word: distractions. The more ‘bling’ your office has, the likelier it is to draw your attention away from the things you’re supposed to be focusing on.
The basics of any office (and sometimes the only things inside it) are a table and a chair. Unless you’re a psychiatrist – in which case you might want to be focusing on the couch in the room – your desk is where you’ll do the bulk of your work. It should be sturdy and geared towards your specific profession. This is one instance where you can safely go overboard – having a nice desk will probably make you feel more professional and will also fill you with a sense of pride whenever you have clients or colleagues over.
The chair is another part of the home office that should be picked out with care. Depending on your habits, you’ll be sitting in this chair anywhere from a couple to 10+ hours every day, so it has to be comfortable and ergonomical. Sitting doesn’t do your back any favors, and prolonged and regular sitting threatens to turn you into a hunchback by the time you’re 40. Expensive office chairs like the Aeron aren’t just meant to act as a status symbol – they were designed to help your back deal with the stress of leaning over constantly.
Also, make sure that the lighting in the office suits you well – not too bright and not too dim. Pick a room with large-enough windows, and don’t hesitate to place a lamp on your desk for nighttime dealings.
Optional home office items – adding a personal touch
While you shouldn’t add a lot of objects that aren’t directly associated with your work, it doesn’t mean the office space should be bland. A nice closet or cupboard can complement the room, as can some paintings or other vanity objects.
You’ll almost certainly need to have a good and reliable computer on your desk, but be cautious – having a home office computer that can run anything (games, high definition video) can easily drive you towards using it for everything except work.