Speaking to numerous people the one thing that comes up at the top of the list for the ideal home working environment is an office with a door on it. This is for two reasons. One so that you can shut yourself in away from the day-to-day noise and hustle and bustle of your household and two so that you can shut the door when you finish working and revert to being at home and able to kick back and relax. I wouldn’t like to suggest which of those two is the most beneficial, suffice to say they both have merit. Options I have seen used successfully when there have been a shortage of available rooms within the house are lofts, garages, summer houses and rented rooms in neighbouring buildings. In a previous role I used to rent desk space within another company’s offices which worked really well; particularly as they had all the infrastructure you could ever want.
You might also want to consider a dedicated phone line. The more international our businesses become the more likely it is that a customer from another continent will call out of hours. You don’t want to ignore middle of the night phone calls on your home phone ‘just in case’ but likewise do you really want to speak to a client from the depths of a dream at 3am?
If you are about to set up an office from scratch and are responsible for going out and buying furniture I would suggest it is nice to have;
- A large desk so you have room for your laptop, diary, phone and whatever else you like to have on the go
- A very comfortable office chair with adjustable seat height and back so that sitting and focusing for a few hours at a time is a possibility (dining chairs are a big no-no for long term comfort and sense of humour). I would definitely spend the most money on the chair
- Filing cabinet; I always use one drawer for my personal papers
- Bookshelf for all those industry magazines, client brochures and reference books
- Three-in-one copier, printer and scanner; saves so much space having them all in one machine
- Telephone that is comfortable to hold for a period of time and/or headset for VoIP calls
- Filing tray, pot of pens and basic stationery items
If you are office-based you might spend more of your waking time in this room than any other part of the house so it is worth spending some time and money making it right and a nice place to be. A new coat of paint; something bright and uplifting, clean, tidy and organise yourself so that your mind can concentrate on work and not be distracted by clutter. Consider putting pictures on the walls and a plant somewhere around. Make it a room you like to go into and enjoy spending time in.
In my previous home I converted the master bedroom into my office. Why? Because it had a balcony, overlooked the main square which was a hive of activity during the day, was the brightest lightest room I had and it had an adjoining bathroom. It was also one side of the kitchen and front door while all the other rooms were the other side, meaning someone could come for a meeting without going through my home. Quite a plus if you are going to have visitors. I remember going to a meeting at another person’s home office and being taken through the most untidy, unloved living room I had ever seen to get to the office which was cluttered and over-crowded; we have never done business again. Did I get the right impression; no. Do I make the right impression; I hope so!
For help working out how to work from home or making the transition from where you are to where you want to be please contact one of our Consultant Coaches at firstname.lastname@example.org