Tips for designing a great home office

These days, working from home is becoming more and more common as companies recognise the benefits of a happier workforce, effective use of technology and reduced company overheads. More and more employees are seeking work-from-home positions in order to be able to keep an eye on their children, elderly parents plus avoiding long commutes. The growing legions of freelance workers also often work from home and do so from a designated work space.

If you are going to make your income from home, it’s worth investing a little time, money and effort to create a working environment that suits you and makes your job as easy and enjoyable as possible. It’s your home and you can do what you want to it, now’s the time to let your creative side loose and build yourself the best home office you can.

Probably the most important considerations you have are to meet lighting standards and ergonomic rules. Everyone likes to have a big window to let in lots of natural light, but be wary that this could distract you, especially if your office is at street level. You’ll need to ensure that your office has good lighting anyway in case you have to work at night or (quite a bit more likely) on a dull day. Ergonomic rules are of utmost importance as you must ensure you avoid repetitive strain and other office injuries. Make sure your computer screen is set at eye level. Your keyboard should be parallel with your forearms – you shouldn’t have to reach up or down to it. Make sure your feet are resting flat on the floor. Finally, choose the centrepiece of the office – your chair. Go for comfort over appearance every time. Remember – the wrong chair could easily end up costing you money.

Work out how much space and what type of space you’ll need for storage of files, supplies and so on and go out and buy slightly more. Have this in an area of its own so it doesn’t become an annoying distraction. If your desk has a window on one side, your cabinets could be on the opposite side of the room.

You’d be wise to set aside part of your office for downtime. This should be facing away from your desk – perhaps a reclining chair and a coffee table, perhaps a coffee maker and some pencils and paper to doodle or write ideas down on. Just as modern corporate offices do – many people design their home offices to include some de-stressing equipment. This could be a punch bag, a treadmill or an elliptical trainer. Not sure you can do exercise and work at the same time? Sure you can. Many people find it inspiring and say their best ideas come to them when working up a sweat.

Plants are good for your psychological health. We didn’t evolve around plastic, concrete and artificial light and these things actually cause us to feel stressed. Add the plants that make you feel happy, being sure to include high oxygenating plants such as snake plants to keep your office’s air quality at a high and healthy standard.

The last piece of advice before you go off and put your creative abilities to work, is to make your office an awesome place to work, but not to make it too comfortable. You should have reasons to leave the office and enjoy leaving – go out for lunch, take a walk from time to time. When it’s time to go home, do that, lock the door and enjoy being back in the comfort of your home again – even though you may have only moved a metre, make it feel like you’ve teleported at least a few kilometres away.

With all of this in mind, you should be able to create the perfect workspace for yourself, something which for most people is merely a dream.