When you work at home, you need to have a place that is all yours for work. It is the space where your dreams come true and creativity can be expressed. But you can do that at the dining room table or on the porch, right? Well, yes. But you still need to create a place that is reserved for your work.
The Need for a Work Place
You might not think you need a place that is solely for work. Start working from home and you’ll quickly find out that you do need it. Work can be done from home, but it needs a special place. Why? Because home doesn’t know where the boundaries are at times.
Let me give you an example from my life.
I’m working at the dining room table. Good space. I can spread out everything and get my work done. Oh, but the kids are home from school. The dining room is in the same room as the living room. They have the TV on. I can’t concentrate. Okay. Where do I go now? I could go to the basement. Oops, another kid has that area. There is my bedroom, but then I have to continually move things when the day is done and stack it up somewhere.
I work on the couch, kitchen table, patio, rec room, bedroom and where ever. Where do I put my reference books and my office supplies? With my work everywhere, I can’t ever find what I need because there is no home for it.
My work doesn’t have a home. It needs one.
Tax note: Having a place designated for your work can be a huge tax benefit each spring. You need to have a room solely used for work. If you have that, calculate the percentage the square footage is compared to the entire living space you have (house or apartment). Multiply that percentage against your mortgage, or rent, utilities, and property taxes. Those numbers are now your business expense.
Now on to designing your work space.
How much space do you need for the work you are doing? It can vary from job to job. Most people just need a small space as they have laptops where they can move around easily. Their work space is more for privacy or storage of business supplies. I’ve known some people to convert closets into work space which suited their needs just fine. Others take a corner of a room or an old storage room. Look around and be creative. You might even add a small addition to your home, but that will be pretty pricey. Just make sure it meets your needs.
You will need supplies. No matter what you do from home, you’ll need some basic supplies in your work space. The basics usually include notepads, pens/pencils, trash can, lamp, and computer equipment. For me it is also a dictionary, thesaurus, shelves for all my books, planner, folders, filing cabinet, stapler, highlighter, and similar things.
Don’t forget that you’ll need a desk and a chair to sit in. You can have a small card table or an executive desk. It’s up to you and what you need. In a pinch, any chair will do, but you’ll eventually want one that is designed to support your back if you use that chair a lot.
Getting all the supplies for working from home can be expensive, but if you put some energy into it, you can almost do it for nothing. Look around your home for items you can use until you have the funds to get more suitable supplies.
This is one thing that gets neglected because people just don’t think about it. The lighting in your work space is very important. Poor lighting can lead to headaches and eye problems. You need to be able to see your work clearly.
If the lighting from the ceiling is inadequate or not there at all, make sure you have a lamp or two that makes up for it. My work space is in the basement. The light in the ceiling is not that good so I have an extra lamp to brighten up my work space. It helps in easing the strain of my eyes which in turn avoids headaches and other discomforts.
Do you need quiet when you work or can you tune out all the activity around you? If you need quiet, you’ll want to make sure that your work space is located away from the hustle and bustle in your home. Don’t have it in the family room if you have a large family. Put it away from everyone.
You might need noise of some kind but just not that of kids yelling and moving about the house. In that case, have a radio or earbuds you can use on your computer or other electronic like an iphone. Many people have to have noise but constructive noise.
Know how you work with sound and design your work space to the optimum situation. You’ll be more productive if you do.
I know this was not a section you expected to see from me, but… I know that if my work space has a pleasant smell I work better. Working in an office, I couldn’t light a candle or have potpourri. Aside from the candle being a fire hazard, others in the office might not like the scents. Well, if you are working from home, you can have any scent you want.
I enjoy lighting my fresh smelling candle each day I sit down to work. It makes me feel good which leads to more productivity.
The end result should always be a work space that will help you be more productive. It all depends on what you do in your job, the space needed, the supplies needed, and the right atmosphere to get the desired results. Think outside the box. Look to what makes you more comfortable and design the work space just for you.