The events of 2020 have vastly increased the number of people who work from home. Needless to say, at this point, it brings up some interesting discussions — one of which is the importance of a home office.
While it’s certainly possible to work from home without a designated office space, we’d contend that it’s both less productive and less comfortable. And to expand on those points, we’re going to offer a few points. These will cover why you should set up a home office to work remotely and how to go about doing so.
Why Do You Need a Home Office?
The primary reason to set up a home office can be explained in one word: productivity. There are certainly some people who can get work done well and efficiently on the couch with laptops. Others might even work well outside on a nice day. But most of us do better with a designated workspace at which we can really “zone in” and focus exclusively on work. We’ve stated before that if you design an office space you feel particularly good about, it may even inspire you to get work done. There can be a certain satisfaction in using a carefully designed home office.
Another important reason to give real thought to setting up a home office is that it helps you separate your personal life from your work. This idea gets a fair amount of focus these days, and typically it’s done through digital habits. People will distinguish the personal from the professional via their online identities, email accounts, computers, and devices, etc. But when you’re working from home, it’s also wise to establish that separation in physical space. If you work in what you consider to be part of the home environment, it’s easy to let distractions seep in. But if you can set up an office, you might find that you’re better able to separate from the home and focus on work.
How to Set Up Your Home Office
The first step to setting up a home office is budgeting for one. Done properly, a home office should comprise more than just an old desk you might have had in storage and a coffee mug to put some pens in. Rather, it should be designed — with new furniture, appliances, and accessories, if needed — to resemble a truly professional environment. That doesn’t mean you can’t have your own personal touch on it, but it should look and feel like one if it’s to serve as a legitimate office.
The costs of getting a home office to that point can actually add up. Decent furniture is never cheap, and if you happen to be buying a new computer or tablet, you have a fairly significant expense on your hands. It’s for this reason that some companies have actually started handing out allowances to employees. This can be structured in different ways, but the idea is that companies are taking on some of the expenses to help employees set up appropriate, productive work environments. So before you try anything else, it would be wise to check and see if your own company might be offering this sort of assistance.
If you do have to finance an office on your own, though, these expenses fall well within the bounds of what you can use an ordinary personal loan for. Researching the various types of personal loans people can apply for today, it becomes clear quite quickly that home improvements and even general personal endeavors are considered .**perfectly valid. So, if need be, you can likely go to a bank or similar lender and receive the funds you need to set up your office in a short period of time. That way, even if the expenses aren’t that drastic, you can spread them out in loan repayments. After all, the sooner your office is set up, the better.
Once you’ve figured out funding, whether from your company, a loan, or other means, you’ll need to go about actually setting up the office, and here, though there are plenty of specifics to consider, we have one main tip: Prioritize finding ways to set up a productive environment.
Expert opinions indicate that this can be done by incorporating your own style, welcoming in natural light, and using the color green in your décor — which is to say there’s a lot you can do! But the key is to make sure that it’s a place you almost want to get to work in and where you can spend long, focused hours without losing focus or becoming too fatigued.
In the end, you should also remain open to change. This is a new situation for many people, and you may find that you need to adjust your office once you’ve tried working there for a while. Hopefully, though, the tips and insights above will help you to get started.
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Kara Ricks is a consultant and a freelance writer. Her work focuses primarily on business trends and entrepreneurism.