Many small businesses start up at home - and that means that you can find yourself working from the sofa, dining table or even the spare bedroom. It's a great way to get started as it means that you don’t have to pay any rent, but no matter how small or multi-functional, it is important to have a dedicated space to work in - whether that means creating a home office, or finding space outside for a workshop set-up. Whether you work in that area for the whole week or divide your time between locations, it's highly important that your space is comfortable and inviting. The design of our offices can have a huge impact on our mental wellbeing and productivity, so it's a good idea to give the design some conscious thought.
Home offices can be in a variety of locations in the house - some people pick a space like their kitchen table and give it a new function, while others are lucky enough to have a spare room, loft conversion or garden studio to use as a workspace. When choosing where to go, consider what kind of working environment you need for what you do. If peace and quiet is essential and you hate being interrupted, locating yourself in a central area of the house may not be a great idea. But if you’re hoping to combine work and family life and thrive on multi-tasking, your dining room may be idea’. For most people, it's a good idea to try and work from an area that can just be dedicated to work - having to constantly clear away and move your things if the space has more than one function is annoying, plus being able to literally close the door on your workspace creates a better mental separation between home life and work.
If your home office has wires hanging everywhere and cables dangling, or television aerials propped up on boxes of files, it doesn’t just look untidy - things take longer to find, which costs you time - your most precious commodity now you work for yourself. On top of that, there is a growing body of evidence that clutter impacts our productivity. So tame your tech by selecting wireless options for your router, keyboard, printer and mouse. If you are working with power cords, make sure your desk surface has a grommet which can channel cables down to the power source and use cable tidies to keep them neat and easy to unplug if needs be.
Good lighting is a really critical part of the mix when setting up your home office space. If at all possible, choose a location with lots of natural light - a desk near a window is always good - as having light and a view stimulates our creativity. Try adding translucent shades to keep the glare down or add privacy while also maximising the light, and position a mirror opposite the window if the room is dark. If you can’t locate near a window, try adding a piece of colourful artwork that you love or an inspiration pinboard to the wall facing you so there’s something to catch your eye and encourage you to periodically look away from the computer monitor for the sake of your eye health. Remember to think about introducing task lighting to the room with a desk lamp and consider using full spectrum daylight bulbs to combat dark cloudy days and keep that brain fog at bay.