As a freelancer or contractor there’s a good chance you’ll need to work from home at least occasionally. We all know how tempting it can be to just plonk yourself down on the sofa in front of the TV with your laptop but we also know that’s probably not going to lead to your most productive day!
Having an environment at home that you reserve purely for work will make a big difference to how effectively you can work from home. I’m not talking about loft conversions or new structures in your back garden (I’ll get on to that later) but there are a few things you can do to create yourself a home office or work area without breaking the bank.
Space – Clearly you’re going to need to find or make space. A spare room is perfect if you can make use of one but, if not, finding a crook or alcove within your home is the best idea, so you in some ways feel sectioned off from the rest of the house.
Plan – It’s a good idea to make a plan of where you want things to go, measure out proportions and check where radiators and windows are. You don’t want to buy/move all your furniture before you’ve decided on a layout; you’ll be doubling the time you spend on setting it up!
Furniture – You’re going to need a chair and a desk – might sound like stating the obvious but choosing the right furniture is paramount for your occupational health. Ikea do a great range in ‘office’ furniture if you want to buy new but you’ll almost certainly get better quality if you opt for something used.
Get organised – invest in or reallocate some storage. A bookcase, filing boxes, wall mounted shelves – whatever works best in your space. Anything to keep files and paperwork away from your ‘home’ environment or off the floor!
Lighting – Don’t overlook the importance of lighting. Natural light during the day would be perfect, but not always possible. You can find daylight bulbs in most DIY stores and a well-positioned lamp will help if you need a break from overhead glare.
Stay connected – Another obvious statement, but you’ll need an internet connection and either a land-line nearby or a good mobile reception. All names have been changed, but ‘Robert’ could tell you a tale about the very smart log cabin type affair he constructed (at no small cost) at the end of his garden to be used as his home office. Central heating, running water, no internet connection, no mobile coverage. Lesson learned I think!
Personalise – Finally, make your space your own. One of the key benefits to working from home is the level of control you have over your own environment. We suggest you do more than the bare minimum to make the space habitable. Even if it’s a particular photo or picture on a wall, personalising your space will definitely help you stay focused and inspired.