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.
“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.”
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.
Pinterest is the perfect place to start collating your home office ideas. Set yourself a suitable budget and just make sure you don’t spend too long deliberating what your office should look like when you should be working!
Checklist: Workspace essentials for a home office
Regardless of the type of work you do, here are ten workspace essentials for your home office…
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.
Working from home effectively: 50 tips, tricks and tools
There's no reason you can't be just as effective working from home. First, though, you need to get the right systems and tools in place.
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:
Clerical business use only
Regular business visitors to the property
Other business use
Other insurance considerations you may need to take into account: