8 tips on setting up an ideal home office

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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More and more people set up home offices these days - but few of them know how to do it properly. In this article, you'll find valuable recommendations on how to create a perfect working space in your house or apartment.

If you work from home, you need to create a cozy and comfortable home office. In this article, you'll find smart tips on how to organize a top-notch working space at home with any budget. To follow these recommendations, you don't need to have a large house or apartment. This information should come in handy even if you live in a compact space and share it with roommates or family members.

Decide on What You Need

You should never clutter your home office. Instead, you should keep only those items that you need every day. These are a few examples of what your home office might include.

  • A remote manager, editor or translator might need just a small desk for their computer
  • A graphic artist might require a larger table for their artworks
  • For a consultant, it might be vital to set aside an area for meeting with clients
  • A photographer might want to create an in-home studio or storage space for props and lighting equipment
  • One might need to install some dedicated electronics or industry-specific equipment that they should use according to their corporate standards

Compile a list of your needs before choosing a room or corner for your home office. It will help you to understand how much space you need.

Think about Privacy

This recommendation is especially vital for those who share their houses with roommates or spouses and kids.

  • If you telecommute, your employer has a right to require that you have a door that closes and locks for reasons of confidentiality. Plus, this door will reduce noise from the rest of the house.
  • If you're planning to frequently meet your clients in person, it might be wise to locate your home office near the front entrance of the house.
  • To spread out design or tech equipment, you should consider a dedicated studio that's separate from the rest of your home.

If there is no separate room in your house that you could occupy, try to adjust your schedule. Try to be busy predominantly during those hours when everyone else is not at home.

Buy Comfortable Furniture

Modern office furniture will become one of the most important investments in your home office. If you think that you can put your computer on a windowsill, your muscles will start aching in a week. You should have enough room for legs and the height of your table should match the size of your body. A comfortable office chair is a vital prerequisite for efficient work.

Optimize Your Lighting

Ideally, there should be abundant natural light in your home office. It improves both physical and mental well-being, prevents eyestrain and headaches. Cold artificial light is much better than its warm counterpart. The latter promotes relaxation as if you were sitting by a fireplace on a Christmas evening. The former boosts your alertness and enables you to stay focused on your work. Besides, you might want to keep a plant in your workspace. That should improve your job satisfaction and productivity.

Set Aside a Place for Gadgets

Your smartphone is your worst enemy in your home office. Without supervision, too many remote workers tend to distract way too often to check Instagram or messengers. Find a place to store your smartphone when you don't need it for work — and make sure to turn it off. If you frequently use a tablet or other gadgets, keep them in the same place too. You might be surprised by how quickly you cope with everyday tasks when your smartphone is not chirping or vibrating!

Use a Dedicated Phone

Keep your smartphone to stay in touch with your friends and family members. For business communications, you should get a dedicated cell phone or VoIP (Internet-based) phone. Yes, you will need to pay for it. But you should be able to afford it because you don't rent an office and thus cut down your overhead expenses. With a dedicated phone, you won't need to share voicemail, which would sound unprofessional. Your kids or grown-up relatives would never pick up your business calls. You would never send a meme to your client by mistake. It will be easier for you to separate your work and personal life.

Put a Clock on the Wall

You might wonder, why should you do it if you have a clock on your computer? Well, it's a powerful psychological trick. A clock that isn't located on a device that you use for business will save you from overworking.

Professionals who work from their home offices are much more prone to burnout, compared to their colleagues who work in rented premises. To give your brain and body some rest, you should split your day into several parts. You should get up and do simple exercises every one or two hours. You should set your working limits and never exceed them, except for very rare occasions. For instance, you might need to work seven hours every day. If you have a rush order and your client pays you double the price for it — ok, you can work for fourteen hours for three days in a row. But you shouldn't work for fourteen hours for weeks. The clock on the wall will remind you about that.

Separate the Professional from the Personal

Apart from your time and your phone, you might want to separate your business and private expenses. Set up a business bank account. Never store your personal documents together with your clients' records, mails and checks. If possible, don't use your home office for any other activities except work. If you want to have a cup of coffee with a friend in your office, lock all the papers in a safe or drawer and turn off your computer.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these recommendations came in handy and now you have a better understanding of how to set up an excellent home office. It will enable you to increase your productivity and maximize your income without stress, haste or excessive effort.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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