Setting Up Your Home Office

When working from home, you should create a work area that best suits your home office needs. Depending on what you will be doing in your office area will determine which items you will need the most.

For example of a specialized home office setup; a transcriptionist will need to have a quiet space and often a specialized headset to better understand voices would be best. Whereas a writer might just use a laptop and sit in a comfy chair or even on a sofa typing contently. Not one setup will fit everyone’s needs, but most people that work from home will have common needs.

Here are a few common home office ideas and suggestions.

Standard home office recommendations…

  • Dedicated work area, most likely with a desk. This is where the place you go to get stuff done.  An isolated and quiet area would be best. When you are in this location others know not to disturb you.
  • Dedicated desk. If you require a working space that uses a PC that you should have a dedicated desk, big enough to hold your equipment and still have some free space not to feel cluttered. Even if you use a laptop a dedicated desk might benefit you. There are laptop stands that raise your laptop up to eye level.
  • Personal computer or laptop, Mac or PC the choice is yours. Some work at home jobs will require a certain operating system so check out the PC requirements if you are working from home for a company.
  • Multimonitor setup is highly recommended. Studies show productivity can increase 60% when using a dual monitor setup.
  • A phone line. Depending on what you are doing. If working as a remote worker ( telecommuter ) know that many companies require you to have an actual landline, not mobile or VOIP services such as Vonage If you are working for yourself and will receive many calls from your clients, a dedicated phone line / virtual number might work just fine. This can be as simple as a Google voice number or other voice over IP phone service such as Grasshopper
  • High-speed Internet. Again depending on what you are doing will determine what speed you should have at a minimum. Nowadays 10megs a second download is considered the lowest acceptable rate. Also now not all Internet is created equal, typically cable, DSL & fiber Internet is the best, whereas satellite should be avoided unless you have no other options such as cellular Internet.
  • Dedicated business email account. You should separate your business from your personal dealings as much as possible. Plus if you are in business for yourself you need to establish your brand. Part of that is having your own domain name and using it as your email address.
  • Printer A laser printer would be preferred, often just a monochrome printer will work just fine.  Inkjets can be had for under $50, but the ink will cost you much more, in the long run, to keep it going than a laser’s toner replacement.  Laser printers are typically much faster than an inkjet as well. Color inkjets seem really attractive due to their low entry price, but the cost of ownership will be very expensive for any large color printing tasks. Color lasers can be expensive to run for large jobs. They are great for doing color proofs and small jobs, but large print runs get costly. You are better off to pay an office center to print out color copies than to use an inkjet or color laser for any bulk color printout jobs.
  • Do not disturb / at work sign. It’s easy to get distracted when working from home. One home office requirement should be work hours. Yes, I know it sounds like a job, well it is. You are earning an income by doing work, others need to respect your time. Often people think if you work at home you have a lot of free time, nothing can be further than the truth when starting your work home career. So print out a small sign stating you are currently at work and please do not disturb unless it’s an emergency and hand it on your area’s door if possible so others know you are hard at work.
  • Focus music / white noise. Not everyone can find a space quite enough to work without being distracted by noise. So if this is your situation then perhaps a white noise generating device or playing focus music from a website such as http://brain.fm will keep you on task.

Again these are common home office recommendations. Your needs will differ based on your work. It’s crucial you set up your office to succeed at your work at home lifestyle.

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