By Veronica Logan

To some, working from home might sound like living the dream, however, the reality is that it often requires as much dedication, responsibility and focus as working in an office environment does.

When thinking of working from home, one is often presented with thoughts of the numerous perks such as managing your own schedule or saving time and money that would be spent in traffic (or staying in your PJ’s all day if you wanted!).

That said, there are definitely some other considerations worth mentally engaging with if it’s your first time going this route.

With this in mind, we have put together some of these key considerations for setting up your first home office as well as how to set up the space to be as productive as possible:

Invest in decent office equipment

Once you have chosen the right room to turn into your office, and made sure the basics are covered in terms of creating a space to help you focus, it’s time to consider what office equipment will be necessary to get you through the day.

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While it might be tempting to spend a fortune on making your home office look good, it’s wiser to spend money on items that will help assist you in doing your job effectively.

Key pieces to consider investing in include a suitably sized desk, a comfortable desk chair (ideally with lumber support) as well as a decent computer set-up and a fast internet connection.

Make the space personal

Most of us have experienced what it’s like to work in a space that offers little or no visual stimulation so be sure to consider your own sense of style when it comes to the design and décor for your home office.

Research has shown that an inspiring and uplifting office space can go a long way to instilling one with a sense of happiness and wellbeing and in turn boost productivity levels.

Similarly, research has also shown that productivity increases in the presence of greenery or nature so remember to include a few houseplants where possible.

The more you enjoy working in your home office, the more likely you are to want to spend quality, focused time working in the space

Get organised

The trick to creating a productive home office space is to ensure that you have enough storage and/or filing space. Having a neatly organised office goes a long way to upping your levels of focus and productivity so be sure to be disciplined with filing and declutter wherever and whenever possible.

If you can, why not spend the last 10 minutes of every day filing any unnecessary paperwork and making sure your desk is clear and declutter for tomorrow’s fresh start?

Keep the professional and personal separate

While working from home can often blur the line between your professional and personal space, it is imperative that you keep your personal life far away from your home work space.

This will help you, and even your family, establish clear work/life boundaries and enable you to mentally keep track of what is or isn’t work or home related.

You can even consider setting up a separate business account and telephone line to avoid mixing work and home income and expenses.

Commit to your own working hours

Define your working hours to help clarify necessary work parameters for yourself as well as to help reduce distractions such as unannounced family visits or the lure of household chores. Establishing this upfront will also ensure that you have considered and are working to the same schedule as that of your clients – just because you can (or prefer) to work at 2am, doesn’t mean your clients do too!

That said, once you’ve set your own hours, be sure to hang or keep a clock close by to ensure you don’t get lost in work and neglect switching off as you don’t have a car ride home to get to. For your own peace of mind and wellbeing, even when home, a work day must come to an end!

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Check your emails at a certain time each

Although this might sound counter-intuitive, logging on and checking emails at random can be hugely time-consuming and more often than not, very distracting to the task at hand.

It is therefore recommended that you keep your email closed and check it at pre-determined times during the day; for example, once at the start of the morning, again before lunchtime and then an hour or so before calling it a day.

This will allow you to focus on whatever it is you are working on without getting side-tracked by an email query or issue until time allows.

Get insured

While most of us have home insurance, it is worthwhile looking into any additional insurance needs that might be specific to your line of work. For example, your household insurance may cover the theft or damage of your laptop, but it doesn’t cover the expensive software that you might have bought and installed on it.

Furthermore, working from home might mean that you are working as a freelancer so be sure to look into income protection insurance to cover you should anything happen to impair your ability to work.

Working from home requires a large degree of discipline and focus but it can also be incredibly rewarding as well. That said, it’s very important to spend time setting up a space and environment that both inspires you to remain professional and productive while allowing you to get the most fulfillment out of owning your work day and space.

This article was first published on www.privateproperty.co.za

Author: Private Property