10 Tips for setting up your Home Office

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We live in a modern world where employees are expecting more from the workplace of the future. Megatrends like increasing individualization and urbanization create an new set of requierments employers have to deal with. A recent study that Matrix42 conducted together with the German Fresenius University shows, that millenials are a self-confident generation, with precise ideas and expectations of their future workplace.  Amongst other things Generation Y wants to balance their professional work and family life. Employers encounter this trend with the offer of work from home.

Are you one of the lucky ones who has a home office regulation? Well congratulations! Now all you have to think about is how to set up your workplace at home. In the coporate world companies provide a well balanced workplace: the right amount of office plants, the perfect chair and the AC is always at the right temperatur. But how can you get a professional set up in your own four walls? We’ve collected 10 top tips to help you set up your home office.

Man wearing jeans shirt and glasses sitting at the table in a home office, working on laptop.

Man wearing jeans shirt and glasses sitting at the table in a home office, working on laptop. ©Izabela Habur/ istockphoto.com

  1. Keep work and private space seperated
    As charming as it may sound to work from your couch you should keep a line between your personal and professional life. Not only that there’s way more distractions on your couch (a.k.a. “Is the new Game of Thrones Episode out?”, “I will just play one round of GTA.” ) but also you will work less efficiently as your living room provides a different mood than an office. You will notice the psychological effect of working in a destinated area. Keep in mind that especially if you have kids it should be in a room where you can close the door and create some privacy. You should locate it somewhere further away from the playroom as kids tend to be quiet noisy. In addition you should remove as many distractions as you can from your office space: TV, game console even non work related books should move into another room. If you don’t have a seperate room as an office you should choose a specific area in your home to turn into an office space.
  2. Position your desk near a window
    As simple as this may sound you should position your desk near a window. Not only will the natural light boost your energy but also it’s way nicer to work with natural light than in a dark space. After all you should like to work in your home office or why else would you want to do it?
  3. Get good lighting
    Yes we just talked about natural light but what about the winter months when it gets dark early or when you have to work late? Don’t neglect a good artificial light fixture! The ceiling light might not always be the best solutions as the light can be too bright when you’re working at a computer screen. Get a table lamp so that even in the darker hours of the day you will still be able to read and write at your work area. Try out different light intensities and tones to find one that will work best for you. If you ask me I prefer warmer tones but that’s just my personal preference.
  4. Get a work chair or how about a stand-up desk?
    If you tend to sit a lot at work you should invest into a comfortable office chair. I can tell from experience that the nice looking pinterest worthy chair I bought is not really the best to work on for 8-10h straight. As ugly as the truth (and chair) might be, a real work chair which will force you in an ergonomically correct position. It will offer the comfort and support you need to power through a day in your home office. You might even want to consider a stand-up desk if you prefer that instead of sitting all day. Goodbye back pain!
  5. Keep your office hours
    It get’s harder and harder to seperate work life and private life as e-mails are just one scroll away. Nevertheless you should enforce office hours and try not to work longer as you would on a regular work day. Yes you don’t have to drive to work so the time you would spend communiting is saved. But hey that’s one of the perks of working from home! Vice Versa keeping office hours will help that your private contacts will call/meet you after you’re done working.
  6. Up to date technology
    Usually your company should supply you with the basic tech you’ll need: smartphone, laptop, tablet. What you should have at home is reliable wireless internet and probably a printer. In the age of BYOD you should also consider the right software to keep your companies data save and up to date. Matrix42 Unified Endpoint Management can help with that. Another Tipp: What you should also keep in mind when picking a space as an home office is how many sockets you’ll need for your various electronic items. An outlet strip can help with that issue.
  7. Add some Greenery
    Plants can reduce stress levels and increase productivity in the workplace. That’s even scientifically proven! Add some personal touch to your home office with your favorite plants! Luckily you don’t have to rely on those typical office plants. You like orchids or prefer succulents? Go for it! If you feel comfortable in your work place it will boost your creativity.
  8. Dress professional
    If you have ever worked from home you know how tempting it is to just work in your Pajamas all day. I’ve been there myself! But as silly as it sounds you should always dress properly and treat your home office like an office! There could always be a spontanous video call with your boss/colleague/costumer. I’m sure you don’t want to take that call with bed hair and PJ’s on. Also consider your activities during the day. Does your kid have to be picked up after school? You have a meeting with a client in the afternoon? Well how are you going to do that in your comfy sweatpants? Take the time in the morning and be ready for whatever that day has in store for you.
  9. Keep a stock of office supplies
    There’s nothing worse than running out of office supplies while working at home. Make sure you don’t run out of the basics like printer paper or paper clips. How will you explain to your boss that you have to make a run to the store (during work hours) to get a battery for your wireless mouse? Simply keep a small stock of everything on hand and you will never have that problem!
  10. Find a storage solution
    Now you have extra paper, pens and all the other stuff you need to keep your home office up and running but now another question arises: Where to keep all that stuff? Get some filing cabinets, extra shelves, files and folders to keep you from piling up too much clutter on your desk. Also cleaning up paper piles and other various items laying around your office at least once a week will also help with that storage problem.

Do you have any other tips we should include in the list? How does your home office look like? Comment below!

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1 thought on “10 Tips for setting up your Home Office”

  • David Koenig says:

    I am home office worker since several years. here are my tips:
    – Explain to your family that Homeoffice time is work-time. You can not go to Supermarkt or do some other home-work-stuff during this time.
    – Have your own Coffee Machine. There is a high risk to meet your childs or an interesting newspaper during your walk through the house in the kitchen to get a coffee.
    – Clean your desk before start work. Don’t squash yourself between the old socks and your annual tax declaration.
    – Make a break as you do in the office. This is the time for your family, answer some question and of course something to eat. Explain them, that you have to go back in one hour when you start your lunch time.
    – If you have a cat: Sorry you loose. It’s not possible to close the office door to keep away the cat. Kitty will win always 😉