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The golden rules for creating your perfect home office

Over 4 million people in the UK now work from home, and it's no surprise given some of the perks: increased productivity, flexibility, lower overheads, improved well-being, and better work-life balance. From global companies to small business owners, the popularity of remote working is increasing.

Whether you’re about to embark on the new adventure of working from home or you’re a veteran remote worker, these home office ideas will help inspire you to create your perfect home office.

Pick a separate space for your work environment

When you’re choosing where to set up your office, it’s a good idea to keep it separate from your home environment. It might be a room in your home or a dedicated space within a larger room. Whichever you choose, there will ideally be a clear separation between your work and personal life. This will also help you to avoid the distractions of home life like dirty dishes and laundry. A separate space might also help you keep healthy working hours, so when you’re done with work for the day you can leave that space and switch off.

Find the right furnishings for you

Two of the most important items in your office will be your chair and desk. Sitting for too long can increase the risk of chronic health problems, so try to create an environment that promotes healthy habits. An ergonomic office chair can be a worthwhile investment to promote good posture. To avoid being in one position all day, it’s also worth considering the benefits of a standing desk for your home office. Alternatively, another affordable – and quirky – option is to invest in an exercise ball and switch it for your chair at various times throughout the day. Whatever works best for you, make sure you’re changing the position you work in to ensure you’re taking care of your body.

You might be the only person using your home office, but it’s still important to keep the space organised. Whether you have shelves or drawers in your home office, try to use them for work, rather than for personal use.This will help maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Consider a tech setup that makes your life easier

Depending on the way you work, you’ll need to invest in the right suite of equipment for your needs. If you’re on the move a lot and rely on a laptop, consider investing in a desktop monitor, mouse and keyboard to create a more permanent and comfortable space when you’re working from home. Bonus tip: refurbished equipment can be a great way to get reliable equipment, but keep costs down.

Wifi is obviously essential for your home office, but one thing that’s often overlooked is to make sure your router is positioned to give you the best signal in your office. If you’re finding your signal unreliable, contact your internet supplier and request a booster, or to have your router relocated closer to your office.

If you’re planning to spend the majority of time from your home office, it might be worth considering adding a phone line dedicated to your business. One can normally be installed for a minimal cost, and it’s a great way to help maintain a healthy work-life balance and avoid being tempted by work-related calls out of office hours – leave it to your voicemail to handle that.

Be strategic with your home office layout

Before you start building your office, consider all of the furnishings and office equipment you’re going to need, then design a layout. Things may need to be shifted around, but it’s always worth starting with a plan. Make sure you’ve considered where you’re going to need power and have an extension cord at the ready for any hard-to-reach sockets.

Your desk is where you’ll spend the majority of your working day, so it’s important you position it in a good spot. Consider facing a window to give yourself a view. Staring at computer screens all day can negatively affect your vision, so an added benefit of a window is that you’ll keep your eyesight healthy through glancing at the view regularly.

Do you use video calls to speak to clients, colleagues or suppliers? If so, it’s worth thinking about what’s behind you while you’re at your desk. Keep it simple with a blank wall, or be selective with what’s in view – avoiding things like cluttered clothes hooks.

Keep it nice and bright

Regardless of your home office space, make sure you have the appropriate lighting to keep your space bright all year round. That might mean making the most of natural light during the day, and relying on good overhead lighting and a desk lamp for the darker hours and during winter. Another bonus tip: avoid direct light from behind your desk to help combat screen glare, or invest in an anti-glare screen filter.

Make it a happy place

One of the major perks of a home office is that you decorate it, so make it a positive space that you enjoy. That may be a minimalist environment or it may mean your space is adorned with photos, plants and pen pots. If you’re in need of some inspiration, a casual Pinterest browse is a great place to start and Ikea have fantastic and affordable home office furnishing options to consider.

Colour can also have a surprisingly big impact on our mood and productivity. Did you know that blue can help you focus, green encourages balance, orange creates a sense of comfort, and grey represents neutrality? Do a little research and consider using a colour (or colours) in your office that will enhance the space for you.

Who doesn’t love a little greenery to brighten up a space? If you haven’t got on board with the houseplant craze yet, your home office is the perfect opportunity. Research shows that plants in the workplace have numerous health benefits, including reducing stress, increasing productivity and overall happiness. Consider investing in an easy-care plant or two for your office space and we guarantee you’ll enjoy their company.

However you choose to create your home office, we hope you have fun with it and that it’s the perfect work environment to help both you and your business succeed.

In the spirit of being organised, FreeAgent is here to help you streamline your small business finance. Find out more about our small business accounting software.

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