Working from home can be a highly rewarding experience. But it can also be a disaster, especially if your home isn't ready to double as a workplace.
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The key is to create a space in your home – a home office – that has everything you'll need to do your job effectively. Here are some tips that will help you turn your home office into a tip-top workspace in no time at all.
Many home-based workers put a lot of thought into how their office will look, but put little or no thought into how well-prepared the space is to handle the sometimes rigorous demands of office life. Before you begin looking at paint samples, it's worth the time to consider whether your office's infrastructure is capable of meeting your needs.
Power is one area in which many home offices fall short. The electrical system in your house is designed to meet the needs of residential life, not the needs of a commercial office. Chances are good that one outlet in the spare bedroom is not going to be capable of handling the electrical demands of a computer, a printer, a copier, and a fax machine. If your electrical demands outweigh the room's capabilities, you'll either need to move your office to another room or bring a certified electrician to modify the electrical system.
Lighting is another requirement that is often overlooked. Commercial offices typically maximize lighting with the use of fluorescent overheads. Your home probably wasn't designed with that level of lighting in mind. If the space is too dimly lit, you'll need to make some changes. While it's not necessary to install fluorescents, you should at least consider beefing up the lighting by installing track lights or other lighting alternatives.
Something else you'll need to consider when setting up a home office is ergonomics. In an effort to save money, many home workers are tempted to use existing home furniture to meet their home office needs. The problem is that commercial office equipment is constructed to provide the support and comfort necessary for long work days. Your dining room set was not. Proper office furniture makes a big difference in productivity, health, and comfort. Spend a little extra to buy ergonomically correct furniture and equipment.
Finally, it's worthwhile to consider the aesthetics of your home office. A dingy desk in a damp basement does not make an intrinsically attractive home office. You can easily add an aesthetic touch to your home office by choosing visually appealing colors, rugs, accent pieces, and wall hangings. Creating an attractive office is not the same thing as cluttering it up with useless knick-knacks. However, by giving a little thought to workspace aesthetics, you can enhance its attractiveness and make it a truly appealing space in which to work.