Whether you run your own business from home or work remotely on the regular, setting up a home office has probably crossed your mind at some point or another.
One would be forgiven for thinking that this is an altogether straightforward affair, but knowing exactly how to set up a home office actually takes a bit of thought and planning...which is why we’re exploring the topic today.
Why bother setting up a home office?
It’s a perfectly good question, especially when you can just as easily sit on the sofa with a laptop...or not get out of bed at all! Deep down, however, we all know that this isn’t best practice. Not evenly remotely…(sorry about that!)
If you want to get the most from your time invested, whether that be for yourself or someone else, setting up a designated home office is the way to go. It’ll likely mean you’ll actually spend less time working, and no one can argue against that!
There’s also the fact that if you have space in your home you should always make use of it. This is especially true when you come to sell your property, as buyers will always prefer to see how a space can be used rather than it becoming a dumping ground for ‘stuff’.
Turning a spare room into a home office was number one on our list of 5 Ideas That’ll Make Good Use Of Your Space for good reason. More and more people are working from home these days, so if you can hit that sweet spot with a buyer you’re putting yourself at a huge advantage.
How to set up a home office: A step-by-step guide
So, now we’ve established the why, it’s time for the how. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to set up a home office:
Make a list
Before you start hauling filing cabinets about or rewiring your home, it’s important to get everything straight in your mind first, and the best way to do that is to make a list...or ten!
Planning is everything for a multitude of tasks, and setting up a home office is no different. Jot down everything you need to make your home office perfect. Chances are, you’ll likely have most of the stuff required, but it’s still a good idea to consolidate it all in the form of a list.
For those who like to get geeky, nested lists (which are basically, lists within lists) are the way to go. Using nested lists means you can split your home office into areas, tasks, or just about anything. For example, you could have a nested list with the heading DESK and below it list everything that needs to be either on it or within reach to make your workday easier and less disrupted.
While nested lists are great, writing them out on paper can get a little overwhelming. Thankfully, there is a better way, and it’s free! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Workflowy. If you haven’t already signed up, you should. It’ll change your life, both work and personal.
Select your ideal spot
With your comprehensive home office list in hand, your next task is to define your ideal spot. Now, for many, this will probably be preordained, but you can always drill down further.
Say, for example, you have a spare room like the one I mentioned above. That will naturally be your first choice for the perfect home office, but what about actual positioning of your workspace? Things like this are best thought through before you start buying furniture and equipment that could end up cluttering the area and making the space, well, unworkable.
Two things to bear in mind: lighting and distractions. Always try and go for a spot with as much natural light and the fewest distractions possible.
Prepare your space
Some of you may be lucky enough to have an already decorated room to move into, but others will be starting from scratch. Choosing things like colours can be more important than you think, so, again, take your time and select wisely.
Flooring, too, should be taken into consideration, especially if you have a chair on casters that’ll need to be moved from place to place. Hard surfaces will naturally work better than carpets here, but if you’re going to be at one desk all day you could easily get away with a chair mat. This will allow you to slide in and out from your desk and help preserve your beloved carpet as well.
If your future home office lacks the aforementioned natural light, as some rooms unfortunately do, now is the time to address that by adding some decent overhead lighting. You can also invest in an Anglepoise lamp for your desk, or something similar, once you’re set up, but getting the overhead lighting right is essential.
You’ll have a good idea from step one about what you’ll need for your home office to run smoothly. Now you’ll need to organise all that good stuff and make your space workable.
Storage solutions are the obvious port of call here, but you’ll want to get the balance right as too much storage can leave a space looking just as cluttered as the clutter they are designed to tame.
Modular home office storage is a great idea, as you can switch things around when required and keep things flexible, which will allow the space to grow with you and your business. Equally, multi-functional furniture can come in very handy. Things like storage desks that serve a dual purpose will work especially well in tight spaces.
With all the planning and preparation in place, it’s time for the exciting part: getting everything set up in your new home office.
It’s always best to start off with larger items of furniture first, as these will be easier to maneuver when you’ve got the maximum amount of space to play around with. From there, it should be all of the things that will support your day-to-day working environment as well as all your equipment, such as desks, chairs, cabinets, and electricals. It’s also a good idea to give everything that needs it a thorough clean as you go.
Now all of your big items and office equipment is in place, step back and make sure you’re 100% happy before you start to bring in the final, smaller items. Things to check for here are too much glare on your screen from a nearby window, having enough room to maneuver your chair as you wish, easy access to files and papers, and anything else that could prove to be a hindrance. Finding out such things now is far better than later on, so check, check, and triple check to ensure all is well.
Once you’re happy, it’s time for all the other essentials to enter the new home office. Hang whiteboards, bring in desk tidies, position lamps to illuminate dark spots, and plug in all the electrical items ready for business.
Now you’re all set up and you have a home office that’s functional, it’s time to add a little feeling that’ll help make it your home office.
This can be as simple as adding some indoor plants and artwork you love, and should, in fact, remain as uncomplicated as you can possibly keep it. However, do try to make the space you’re own. After all, you’re going to be spending a large amount of time here, so you might as well love it.
Petty Son and Prestwich have been helping people buy, sell, rent, and let homes for well over a century in and around East London. If you’d like to find out exactly why our family-run business has stood the test of time, give us a call or pop into our Wanstead office.
We can’t wait to meet you!