Working from home has many advantages. Strategy sessions in sweats. Not a problem. Lattes at your convenience. Check. Even business calls in bunny slippers. No worries. Lighthearted jests aside, an ideal home office allows for comfort, efficiency and maximum productivity. With more and more people consulting, freelancing or running side businesses, a home office can provide a smart solution. To be successful in a home office, plan an environment for your needs:
Designate your work area. Whether a personal suite or a cubby area, home offices should have a clear work area with specific space for computer equipment, printers, reference materials, office supplies and paper. Keep items that you use often, such as a telephone and computer keyboard, within easy reach.
Embrace ergonomics. For most people, their best work happens when they are comfortable. It may be tempting to grab a kitchen side chair, but invest in an office chair that has proper back support. A solid, ergonomically-sound chair helps reduce fatigue and increase productivity. Place your computer screen at an optimum height and use wrist rests.
Be accessible. Many home-based workers report that clients don’t care where they are as long as they are readily available for conference calls or online meetings and meet deadlines. If you are using a cell phone, make sure there are no dead spots or consider a land line back-up.
Transform with the right lighting. Lighting contributes to productivity and a good mood. Keep your home office lighting uniform and moderately bright. Depending on your space, consider overhead lighting and floor or desk lamps.
Storage and style. Combine different pieces like stacking shelves or baskets to create media centers, resource shelves or other home office spaces. Consider modular components or simple shelving, which allow you to design customized storage with a built-in look.
Add some character. Create an awards wall. Frame your children’s artwork. Add mementos that mean something to you.
Repurpose. Transform unique and inexpensive flea market or garage sale finds, such as bookcases, shelves and tables, with a fresh coat of paint.