The Best Home Office Setup – 5 Do’s and Don’ts
Setting up a home office is one of the best ways to ensure that while working from home (either full time or part-time) you are at your most effective. That said the best home office setup isn’t for the faint hearted and there are some common issues that can prove to be the undoing of your endeavour. Below are my 5 Do’s and Don’ts for people taking the plunge.
Best Home Office Setup
- Have a Reliable and Fast Broadband Connection – This might seem to be a no brainer but if you’ve a slow connection you won’t be able to do even the basics such as Skype or send emails with decent attachments. Also the ‘up’ speed is much more crucial here than for your usual day to day home broadband connection. At a minimum you’ll want 1mb up for general use.
- Have a Backup Solution for Broadband – Sounds like overkill but on a residential broadband connection you’ll find that if it’s going to fail it’ll be during your most important time of the week and consumer broadband does not have the same guaranteed up time as a business line and can take longer to be repaired. Even if it’s just the ability to connect to your mobile phone in ‘tethering mode’ at least it’ll get you out of a jam.
- Get a High Quality Headset – For Skype and other VOIP solutions this is a must anyway but if you’ve worked from home as much as I have you’ll know that neighbours alarms, dogs and children go ‘off’ on a regular basis and listening to the siren, barking, or screaming while you concentrate on work is near on impossible without a pair of noise cancelling headphones and microphone. And don’t get me started on lawnmowers….
- Have a Plan for Breaks – I never walked so much as I did when I started working from home semi-permanent. Have a plan that gets you away from the desk regularly and try to see some real people during the day even if it’s just to buy a coffee in the nearest ‘bucks. Stir Crazy isn’t just a great Richard Prior Movie, it’s also what awaits you if you hole up in your house day in day out.
- Buy a Second Good Quality Screen – Working in an office you get used to some of the nicer technology options and one that I particularly find useful is the second screen. Dual screen makes for a much better workflow. Also unless your laptop is of the 17″ HD variety it’ll do you good to look at a monitor in the 21″ – 27″ bracket. Make sure it’s high quality LED/ Retina to keep those eyes healthy.
- Use a Room that’s used Day to Day – By all means keep the spare bed in the room but day to day the only thing that should be in there while you’re working is you and your work. Obviously this goes double for anything that generates noise (washing machine, little person, pet)
- Buy a cheap chair – If you’re lucky enough to have never had a back injury you’ll maybe not get this at first but trust me when I say the cheap chairs out there will introduce you to the world of back pain quicker than lifting a piano up some stairs. Get an ergonomic chair and desk setup and practice good posture. You’ll thank me for it later.
- Use standard lighting – Again you might ask why but after a few weeks or even days working under the faint glow of a standard room light fixture you’ll realise just how strained your eyes can get (see the blog on Twitchy Eye) Better to get a good overhead light and a desk lamp for more focused works.
- Live in your Office – This isn’t easy but call it dedication or blind obsession you’ll find that the office will have this weird tractor beam like quality that drags you into it even during ‘down time’. When it’s not office working time close the door and make an effort not to go in – not even just to answer that one email.
- Live in your Office II – Being at home all day only using internet for communication may suit your needs just fine but in reality we live in a 3d world and still the best way to find new leads, new customers and a social life is to get out and about. Even though the home office may be the cheapest option starting out consider an office share 1 day a week or month to get you into the real world. And when you’re there network your heart out, one of the best ways to find potential customers and identify their needs is by chatting informally