The latest trend in the working world is to do so from home. Whether you’re freelance, self-employed, or just need to take a sheaf of papers home every night, for many, space for a home office is as vital as a living room these days. However, anyone who regularly works from home can attest, ensuring you have a space that you can call “a working environment” is vital for any kind of productivity; and since we spend so much time in these spaces, it’s only right that the room is at its best.
Whether you’re refurbishing your home office or planning a whole new space it must possess the right tools for the job at hand, from printers to shredders, do you know where to start? When it comes to a home office, there are certain necessities – let’s see what’s on the list.
Home Office Must Haves:
1. Take a SeatAre you sitting comfortably? Bad backs and neck aches start right here. Unfortunately, folk who choose to work from home often spend a lot more desk-time than their commuting counterparts. This brings us to the first of many home office must-haves: is a proper chair. When you’ve got a little budget behind you and all the inspiration that Pinterest can give, it’s easy to get carried away buying items that look great… but won’t necessarily feel great after a couple of hours work time.
The old saying goes, a workman is only as good as his tools so invest some real money on an office chair and you’ll save on the chiropractic bills later. The right office chair should be ergonomically suitable, this means that it should support your body in a variety of positions whilst still allowing you to carry out tasks with efficiency.
- Back support; known as “lumbar support”; the chair should help to keep your spine in its natural ‘S’ curve shape and ensure the muscles surrounding the spine aren’t overworked.
- Adjustable height; obviously, not everyone is the same height so one size doesn’t fit all. Your chair should adjust so that you can keep your feet flat on the ground without compressing your thighs (which restricts blood flow).
- Swivel; chairs that don’t swivel are plain irritating, especially in the workplace when you may need to regularly move to get things that you need. A swivel chair will also eliminate the need to twist around and potentially harming your back.
So, basically, if you only spend money on one thing for your home office… make it your chair.
2. At the Desk
Likewise, your desk needs to be your second largest consideration; mainly because it could be a costly investment! Fortunately, with your home office desk, and unlike your chair, the necessities that should be considered can go hand-in-hand with the aesthetics (yay!). However, unfortunately with desks, you can’t try before you buy so we would recommend that you head to the store you’re baring in mind:
- Is the desk large enough to accommodate all of your items?
- Is it of the correct dimensions to suit your height, chair level and room size?
- Will this desk suit your current or future home office interior design theme?
Standing desks are a good option for home offices as it allows you to move around more freely – and get out of the habit of sitting down all day long. Missing out on a lengthy commute can be an unhealthy pitfall of working from home in which case a walking desk could be a good idea.
3. Correct Lighting
Your commuting counterparts will be blessed with large windows, bathing them in natural light all day long and industrial (and expensive) lighting systems supplied by their employers. However, to ensure your best working self, the home office must have is to ensure you have a decent lighting setup, to avoid squinting and eyesight problems. A spotlight for small work, and a good, clear, overhead light. Anyone with any kind of design or art profession it is especially important.
4. PC, Tablet Or Laptop!
This is the definition of a home office must have – if you don’t have this, you’re pretty stuffed! The literal size of your space and the type of work that you undertake will determine what kind of tech you’ll need. However, where space and budget allows a desktop is always preferable for efficiency and proper posture. If you already have a good laptop for the job and want to keep costs down you should consider just buying a docking station, desktop screen, keyboard and mouse – this way you get the benefits of a PC without the huge overheads.
If, however, you’re in the market for a new piece of tech then make sure to conduct proper research on what type is right for your work. You should be able to head to any tech store to talk to a professional about your options.
This is an item that almost all large offices have but a general knowledge of is lacking – and thus often does their presence in home offices. Buy some buffer time and invest in a decent UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply unit, which is backup for when the electricity decides to pop off for a limited time. This means it will prevent you from losing a whole morning’s work and pulling you your hair out. It allows enough time to safely power off too – perhaps saving you a new computer.
6. Storage (Physical)
Reference books, family photos, forms, documents, staplers and scissors and suchlike should be stored away – after all, a tidy room makes for a tidy mind. Think about your storage space; it should be able to house everything you already have, plus whatever you build up or collect over time and easy to access if it’s information that you’ll need to refer to.
7. Storage (Digital)
In regard to digital storage, it’s probably one of the most important things you’ll need. An external hard drive (or two) could save your bacon. It’s always best practice to save all of your work twice (or three times if it’s particularly important) in separate places. This will cover you for a few reasons: if you lose your laptop or it gets stolen, which is more likely to mobile workers, and not to mention if it breaks (all those coffee shops with free wifi… all that coffee). You don’t want to be left without a back-up! So, do your research and get backed up soon.
A printer is non-negotiable, but then you’ll almost certainly need a scanner and copier and possibly one that can connect wirelessly, and even to your smartphone if you’re in a rush would be ideal. Unlike normal offices, you’re probably not working with a surplus of space so investing in one that does all the jobs will save time, money, space and hassle!
9. Power Surge
Many office gadgets are often overlooked until it’s too late. For instance, a surge protector should be a staple in any space that uses any computer equipment – protection you won’t want to leave off that shopping list.
10. Shred It
Finally, there are some documents that will need to be disposed of carefully. So invest in a sharp shredder. Also useful for out of date household bills, documents and personal items.