5 Tips for Designing a Practical Home Office

As a freelancer or small business owner — or if you’re thinking of starting out as one — you’ll need a home working space that is comfortable, motivating and reflects what you do. Whether you’re an accountant, virtual PA or a graphic designer, UK new homes builder Miller Homes, has these tips to help you design the perfect home office.

Distance yourself from your home

It may sound simple, but having a separate office space will help you switch off from work when you’re at home. If you don’t have a spare room, choose a corner in a quiet spot and invest in foldaway furniture, which you can put away at the end of the day.

When selecting a room, think about how it will affect your mood, health and motivation. Natural lighting and good ventilation can do wonders for your productivity. Place your desk near a window but keep your computer out of direct sunlight – this can damage the device as well as causing eyestrain. A strong desk lamp with a warming bulb may be needed in winter when daylight is reduced.

As much as we enjoy spending time with our loved ones, sometimes we just need to focus. It may be best to invest in locks for your office door, so you don’t get any unexpected interruptions while you’re on an important call or working to a strict deadline.

Design the office of your dreams

The best part about working from home is that you can make the space your own. And that doesn’t just mean choosing the office playlist! Don’t think you have to stick to plain walls and traditional office furniture ­­– unless you have a taste for the industrial style. Adding a splash of colour can really enhance your mood. Orange can invoke energy and motivation (although it can make you feel hungry) whereas green is said to reduce anxiety and make us feel at ease. Explore the psychological effects of colours and add elements of brightness here and there to open up the room.

Add eye-catching artwork, plants, inspirational quotes and, of course, examples of your own work and achievements. Remember, you have plenty of freedom to experiment with a style that reflects your personality – it’s your space!

Image credit: Miller Homes

Appropriate furniture

While it might be tempting to set up shop at your dining table, it isn’t always practical. Creative freelancers may need a larger desk for their work, while a financial consultant will need lockable storage space for important documentation.

Comfort and health and safety should always be at the front of your mind, paying particular attention to your back, wrists and eyesight. Find a chair comfortable and a desk that fits the space of the room, but is large enough for all your equipment and work. Cheaper options may seem like a convenient choice, but office equipment has been designed with your posture in mind. Do your research and find the best furniture to support you.

Finally, remember to stand up regularly and take short breaks outside for fresh air.  Or invest in a height adjustable desk so you can choose to stand up for an hour or two while you work.

Image credit: Miller Homes

The right equipment for the job

Decorating your office is the fun part of working from home, but now you have to think practically. If you will be travelling to and from client meetings, then you will need to purchase a high-speed laptop. But if you will be spending most days at home, then a powerful desktop alongside a tablet may be a better decision. You may also need a printer and scanner, although if this is a once a month necessity, it’s worth getting a quote from a local printing firm. Finally, a dedicated landline phone for calls also helps you look more professional.

Remember to take out business insurance for all of your equipment on the off chance that it breaks, is lost or is stolen.

Running your office on time

Even though you have escaped the daily commute of the regular nine to five, it’s important to lay some ground rules. Make sure you have a clock somewhere in the room so you can don’t work for 16-hours straight, and give yourself regular breaks – even if this is just popping into the kitchen to make a coffee.

Setting regular working hours is a good start, obviously they can be a bit more flexible, but it helps you find a routine, keep focused and lets your family and clients know when you’re in work or home mode.

For more information on Miller Homes and its developments across the UK, visit www.millerhomes.co.uk

Fiona Pilliner
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