Essential Qualities of a Home Office

by Steven Snell

on March 12, 2009

in Business/Freelance

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Being able to earn a living working from home is a great privilege, and something in which most freelancers and web workers invest a great deal of effort. Part of being successful in this setting is creating a work space that is conducive to getting things done, and that will help to keep you relaxed and at peace when things can get stressful.

In this article we’ll take a look at 9 essentials of a great home office. I’d love to get some feedback from readers that have opinions on the topic from their own experience.

1 – Equipped

Regardless of what type of work you do, your home office will need to include the tools that allow you to do your job. For designers, this includes a decent computer and other related equipment (scanner, tablet, printer, dual monitors, whatever you need to get the job done well). You’ll also need basic office furniture and supplies.

Spending money on equipment and supplies is difficult for a lot of freelancers, but in some cases it’s necessary. You’ll need to evaluate how you can spend your money that will put you in a position to work more efficiently or to produce higher quality. In these cases, the expense is an investment in your business that should result in more income. And of course, legitimate business expenses are tax deductible.

Photo credit: Paladin27

2 – Separated from Living Space

One of the most difficult things about working from home is the separation of work from the rest of your life. Knowing when you should be working and when you should be relaxing and spending time with family or friends is a challenge that you typically won’t face (at least not to this extent) in a typical office job. Another challenge is feeling like you should be working even when it’s time to relax.

By maintaining a home office that is separated from the rest of your home, there will be a clear line between the two. Sure, it will still be easy to work longer hours than you probably should, but creating a physical separation of the space is a great first step. Additionally, it will help you to keep a more organized work space.

Photo credit: Super-Structure

3 – Quiet

Staying away from distractions is another challenge for those of us who work from home. In order to maximize efficiency and to be able to get the necessary work done, having an office that is away from noise is essential. Not all of us prefer to work in silence, many freelancers listen to music while working. This is fine (and normal), but the distracting noises are what should be avoided.

Keeping a quiet office is much easier when it is separated from the living space in the home, especially if others are around while you’re working. Your office doesn’t need to feel like you’re secluded and trapped away from everyone, but it should allow for a time of distraction-free work.

Photo credit: jmayzurk

4 – Well Lit

Most of us that work from home spend a great deal of time looking at a computer screen. Proper lighting is necessary in this case to keep your eyes from straining too much and to allow you to work without getting headaches. Lighting will have a big impact on how you feel, how much energy you have, and how long you’re able to work.

When it comes to the issue of lighting for a home office, natural lighting is desirable. If possible, choose a space for your home office that has a window that will bring a good amount of sunlight into the room.

Photo credit: rephlektiv

5 – Comfortable

There’s probably nowhere else where you will spend as much time as your home office. If you’re going to be putting in a lot of hours, comfort is essential. A comfortable workplace will result in better efficiency and more enjoyable work.

Creating a comfortable office includes several different factors. Of course, the chair that you sit in and the desk that you work at will have a big impact. Other things like the size and layout of the room, and the temperature could also be factors.

Photo credit: Fernanda Mancini

6 – Peaceful

The ideal home office should create peaceful feelings that allow you to get your best work done. Colors should generally be calming, rather than something that will lead to tension. Decorations and even the scents of the office can also have an impact here.

We all have different preferences for how we would like to decorate our office and what makes us feel at peace. Of course, there is no right or wrong here, just a matter of creating something that works for you.

Photo credit: TranceMist

7 – Organized

Let’s face it, some of us are a lot more organized than others. It’s important for a home office to be organized enough that you are comfortable and that you can quickly find whatever you need. No one wants to waste valuable time looking for things that are out of place.

In addition to being organized, keeping a clean office can also help to maintain a peaceful setting for work. In some cases this can be difficult, as home offices are often pretty small and full of items.

Photo credit: jaxmac

8 – Motivating

When you work from home there is no one looking over your should or telling you what you have to get done. One of the keys to a home office is creating an atmosphere that motivates you to do your best work and to keep moving forward.

Motivation comes in all different ways for various people. Maybe a photo of your family on your desk will provide motivation. Maybe a picture of a dream vacation spot will help. Maybe having a notebook at your desk with your goals written down will help. Whatever the case, find something that motivates you and incorporate it into your daily life in the home office.

Photo credit: Erik Eckel

9 – Enjoyable

I left cubicle life for several reasons. One of them was that I simply didn’t enjoy my work and I was just killing time until I could get home and work on my own projects and a part-time business. Working from home allows me the opportunity to actually enjoy my daily tasks, and I want it to stay that way by having an environment that is pleasant.

All of us have a need to enjoy the work we do, efficiency and productivity are not the only concerns. In your efforts to create a home office that helps you to do your best work, don’t forget to keep it fun.

Photo credit: Jeremy Levine Design

What About You?

What are your ideal qualities of a home office?

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About Steven Snell

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design. Connect with Stephen on google+