For freelancers, the self-employed, those setting up their own small businesses, or employees with the flexibility to work from home, having a dedicated space to do your job is a must. This article is full of tips for setting up your home office, essential gadgets you’ll want to get your hands on, and tactics on how to be at your most productive in the comfort of your own home. 

Why is a home office important?

The number of people working from home has been growing rapidly over the past decade. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) predicts that 50% of the workforce will be working remotely by 2020. More and more companies are offering flexible working for employees, acknowledging the benefits of working from home which include increased productivity, motivation, and the creation of a better work/life balance - cutting down on the stress, time and cost of commuting.

Setting up a productive workspace

The ability to work from home and the flexibility that comes with it is one of the major motivators for people deciding to start their own business. However, with that flexibility comes great responsibility and setting up a productive home office space can really help with that. 

Create a separate working space

Separate your home office from your living areas so that you can minimise distractions and so that your co-habitants respect your working environment. It also works the other way around so that you’re not distracted by work when you should have knocked off for the day. 

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Create a separate working space

"If at all possible have your office in a room that you can close the door on and not see when you're working day is over, so you can switch off."

Catherine Gladwyn, Virtual Assistant at Delegate VA. 
 

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Keep it professional

Create an office space that looks professional and is kept tidy so that it keeps you organised.

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Keep it professional

"Even though it’s at home, have a space you can hold a meeting in if you need to and so it looks slick in the background on video calls to clients." 

Ben Cowell, BC IT

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Surround yourself with inspiration

You can have complete control over your home office, so make it somewhere you really want to be. 

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Surround yourself with inspiration

"I think it’s really important to use the vertical space well in a small home office. Pinboards, gallery shelves, magazine racks, and a strong bookcase/shelves mean you can keep a clear floor space and surround yourself with lists and inspirations." 

Charlotte Argyrou, Illustrator 

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Focus on your health and wellbeing

Freelancers and the self-employed do one third more exercise than others according to Live Force (but may also eat more biscuits!) Design an office space and a working routine that has a focus on your health and fitness for happier and more energetic working days and less time off sick. 

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Focus on your health and wellbeing

"Have a pull-up bar! Best momentary diversion in the world for taking your mind off work for a few seconds - and it maintains your strength and conditioning over the working week too." 

Chris Worth, Chris Does Content 

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Checklist: Workspace essentials for a home office

Regardless of the type of work you do, here are ten workspace essentials for your home office… 

Video: Hacks for setting up your home office

Forbes

Check out this video from Forbes for some great tips and tricks for setting up your home office… 

Home office tech and gadgets

Make your working day much easier, more productive and keep up with the competition with these smart tech tools and gadgets. 

  • Trello 
    Create boards on your desktop or mobile to manage projects and to do lists. You can share and assign boards and tasks to others and it’s a great way to see what you’ve got done, as well as prioritising what there is left to do.  
  • Google Drive
    Online drive and storage of all your documents, photos, spreadsheets and presentations. Google offers it’s own free versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint (Docs, Sheets and Slides) that autosave online every few seconds, can be accessed from anywhere and are easy to share and collaborate on in real time. 
  • Toggl 
    Track your productivity with this free time tracking device. You can break down your hours by projects and clients to see how efficient you are and how much money you’re really making. 
  • Doodle 
    Doodle polls make it super simple to find a time and a date that everyone can do for meetings and get-togethers.

Insurance for my home business

If you have a home office or work from home then you should talk to your insurance company about your level of cover. You might not need a different policy from your home insurance but you need to make sure that your insurer understands your situation and you may need some additional cover. Insurers recognise three main classifications of home working on policies: 

  1. Clerical business use only 
  2. Regular business visitors to the property 
  3. Other business use 

Other insurance considerations you may need to take into account: 

  1. Public liability insurance - if you have customers or other members of the public visit you at your home office. 
  2. Employers’ liability insurance - if any employees work from your home office with you. 
  3. Professional indemnity insurance - to protect yourself against a client who claims you’ve been negligent in your work. 

Next Steps

What business insurance do I need?

It's worthwhile familiarising yourself with the different types of business insurance you might need. You never know what's around the corner. 

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Running a business from home

Is working from home for you and what else should you consider?

Read more

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