This is My Space: How to Set Up a Home Office

home officeThis installment of our business startup series discusses the importance of your home workspace. One consideration when you decide to start a business is figuring out where you will do your work. On the surface, this may seem like a minor decision, but your workspace and surrounding environment can play a huge role in your productivity, efficiency and overall level of stress.

If you expect to work from home, you can expect to face some unique challenges. But armed with a well thought-out plan, you can create a home office that supports your working style, even if you don’t have a spacious dedicated space to call your own.

Identify Your Workspace

We’d all love to have an empty room to convert into a home office, but sometimes there just isn’t the space. Or if you’re like me, you may have a home office “home base,” but work best when you change up the scenery (I work all over my house with my laptop).

The most important step of creating a home workspace is picking a spot and identifying it as your “office.” Regardless of where it is, you should not only start to think of that space as a work-only space, but get the support of your family and other household members up front.

Limit the “Living” Space

Once you have a workspace identified, you need to make it work-ready. Try to separate the area from your living space as much as possible with a shoji screen, strategic furniture placement or even a curtain. Create a separate feel, even if your workspace is part of another area of your home.

Focus on the Must-Have’s

What do you need to do your work at a bare minimum? For most of us, this means a modem and/or wireless router, a computer, a surge protector, a flat surface of some sort, a phone and maybe a printer. That’s the most basic physical needs for a web-based business.

Some other potential necessities include a fax machine, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), a local server, a backup computer, filing cabinets and shelving. Your workspace should accommodate the must-have’s, whatever you identify them to be.

Organize Your Space

Organization is important for every home office, and the smaller the workspace the more important it is. Setup a system for storage and filing, get rid of all the unnecessary stuff and clean out your space regularly. If you have storage space available in your home, consider using it to store less frequently used files and supplies.

Set Ground Rules

If you are working with children at home, creating rules for both your workspace and work time is extremely important. Everyone in your household should be aware of where your workspace is located, what is on the do-not-touch list and what behaviors are expected when you’re working.

Be Flexible

Your business will grow, your family may grow, your living arrangements may change, and the configuration of your office and your needs may change as well. Take a look at your set up from time-to-time and re-evaluate so you can reorganize and redesign when necessary.

What is one of the most important tips you can offer for creating a functional home workspace?

Image credit: Henkster

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • Adam Petrie

    Having set up my own home office just over a month ago, I decided it was important for me to only be able to work in one place. I understand the idea of changing scenery, but for me, sitting with a laptop anywhere in my house would mean a significant decrease in productivity. Instead of a laptop, I opted for an iMac and located it in a room with no other distractions (i.e no TV or Playstation.)

    My ‘Home Office’ is now a dedicated work space and as a result I am able to focus better and easily escape work when I need to take a break.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Brad Rhoads

    How about using a treadmill desk instead. Join our community of treadmill desk users at http://officewalkers.ning.com.

  • Guy Dufour

    lol office space lol

  • http://thecybertramp.com stikkybubble

    try not to work in the same space you sleep in – if you must set up your ‘office’ in your bedroom, do everything you can to make that area seem different and separate – I like the suggestion of a screen above. The reason is so that your brain ‘knows’ that you are in a different environment when you are trying to rest.