Many freelancers have some dedicated space in their home in which to do their work. And setting up a great home office is key to your productivity, sanity, and professionalism.
Of course, some people don’t have an entire room in their home dedicated to a home office, but if you are serious about being a full-time freelancer, having this space makes business sense. Heck, I know people who have actually moved to a different home just so they could have a home office for their business. If this is something you are considering, read on…
I found this interesting blog post on how setting up a perfect home office can motivate you to work better on 1stwebdesigner.com. And I thought some of their points were pretty thoughtful, especially if you intend to have clients come visit you at your home for meetings. Here are some of their tips:
Choose the Right Room
When considering what room to make your home office, choose the one that is closest to your door. That way, people don’t have to walk through your living room, kitchen, and down the hall to your meeting space. It keeps your private life separate from your professional one, both for your clients and for your family.
Make sure you have a door that locks. This is important if you have a family who likes to interrupt you when you are in the middle of an important phone call. Being able to seal yourself off from the rest of the house (and the people or pets in it) can come in handy when you are up against a tight deadline. The less distraction you have during office hours, the better for your productivity.
Make sure your desk will actually fit comfortably in this room. If it’s too big, you will feel cramped and claustrophobic! Be honest about how much desk space you need. You might love the huge mahogany wrap-around desk that was passed down from your father, but it might not be a good fit for your space.
Be sure not to place your desk right behind a window—the glare from the sun on your computer screen can strain your eyes and the sun will constantly shine in your face, unless you have some good blinds. Use the natural light to your advantage by placing your desk perpendicular to your window. You’ll still be able to enjoy the sunlight, it just wont be in your face.
Get Yourself a Good Chair
The only thing on my Christmas list this year was a good office chair—and my husband delivered! Find something that is comfortable, with adequate lumbar support. You’re going to be sitting in this chair all day, so make sure you choose quality over a cheap price tag. Your body will thank you for it, trust me!
The most ergonomically correct chair might not be the most stylish or best looking. In all honesty, looks don’t matter when it comes to comfort. You want to find something sturdy that will last longer than any passing furniture trend or fad.
Consider the Layout and Organization
A clean, organized office is a much better place to work (and see clients in) than a cluttered, messy office. Unfortunately, mine is usually on the cluttered and messy side. I’m working on that! I have installed some great bookshelves above my desk and gotten some colorful boxes in which to hide all sorts of office supplies so the space looks more organized.
I also have a great filing cabinet that fits right under my desk and out of the way. One less surface for me to throw stuff on! I am meticulous about filing, so if I ever need to find a document quickly, I always can. Having an organized office is a great way to impress visiting clients. It shows them that you take running a freelance business at home seriously!
If you find your workspace getting cluttered and crowded, take a step back to see if there is anything you can get rid of—things you haven’t used in a while. Keep older files that you don’t use on a regular basis stored elsewhere—like your attic or basement. And if you tend to buy in bulk, keep only what you currently need or use in your office. Twenty-four tape dispensers can take up valuable space when stored in a small office.
Put some of your favorite prints, artwork, or photos up on your walls. I have my college diplomas displayed in my home office—they remind me of all of the hard work I did to get me to where I am today. Plus, they look a little funny hanging in my kitchen and a little pretentious hanging in my bathroom.
Paint the walls a color you really love. Get an accent rug if you have the space and make sure you dress the windows accordingly. It’s amazing what some great blinds and curtains will do to a room. Make your home office a space where you like to go and work, and you’ll be more productive.