Running your small business from home has never been easier thanks to the radical advances made in technology over the past decade. With the advent of digital communication services and cloud-based data storage and software, running a small business from your home can be both economical and very convenient. But what does this new freedom mean for the work environment that we now create for ourselves? Being free from the traditional office setup means we can tailor our work environment to suit our personal productivity needs but how do you best achieve this?
Here are a few tips to consider when setting up your work environment at home.
Finding the right location for your home office is an important first step. For many this will be a straight-forward decision as they will already have a study or spare room in mind. However, it’s important to consider an alternative work space that may be available around your home. While having an established office is important, many home workers find it beneficial to have a second area that they can access in order to reset when they go through periods of frustration or overwhelm. This needn’t be an entirely new office but could be a simple table in or outside of your home that you can easily escape to and get started again with relative ease. Experiment in using this space at different times during the day. You may be surprised by the impact this can have on your focus and ability to deal with tricky problems.
Once you have decided on the room or location of your home office you will need to put some serious thought into the actual layout of that workspace. This will require planning how you’ll set up your computer and where your desk will be. If you haven’t yet experimented with using multiple screens, you may want to make this a priority. Having multiple displays for your computer means you can have more of your work visible and this can provide a real productivity boost. Standing desks have also become quite popular recently and allow you to work from both a seated and standing position which is thought to aid posture and reduce ailments caused by being seated at a desk for long periods. It’s highly likely that you’ll spend some considerable time in this workspace so consider its layout carefully.
There are numerous benefits to having a clear, organized work desk including increased productivity and reduced mental stress. A great way to start this habit is by taking all of the usual items that live on your desk and placing them in a box on the floor. You then should take out only what you need, when you need it and then keep those items organized neatly in your work space. By doing this you’ll likely find that many of the ‘things’ you have in the box will stay there and after several days you’ll have only the essentials on your desk that you actually need. A great way to maintain this habit is to ensure that at the end of every day you spend 5 minutes cleaning and clearing what is on your desk so that at least 80% of the surface is visible. It’s very easy to end up with piles of documents, folders, cups and whatever else you encounter throughout your day on your desk. By ritually clearing this away you’ll avoid the temptation to continue layering these items on top of each other.
Using music to help you focus
The use of music in an office is usually a divisive issue between those who love to work with it and those who find it distracting. If you’re a music lover though you’ll be glad to hear that there have been numerous studies into the positive effect of music on productivity. Even better though is the range of options you have available for introducing music into your workspace. Many people will find the radio an easy source to use but if constant talking and adverts aren’t your thing, consider signing up for an affordable subscription from Spotify or Apple Music to fulfill your musical needs. If vocals are distracting for you, there is a great online service called ‘Focus at Will’ which streams specially selected instrumental tracks that have been scientifically proven to increase concentration and productivity. Use this with a set of noise cancelling headphones and you could find a far more effective you. If all of this sounds too high tech, there is always your vinyl collection and a record player to help you stay mellow and get more done.
Working on your business from home can revolutionize the way you spend your time. By tailoring your work environment to suit your particular needs you’ll begin to wonder why you ever stepped foot in an office in the first place.
Carl is the co-founder of www.rockitrecordplayers.com.au, an Australian store that specialises in contemporary and retro-style turntables and record players. As a vinyl enthusiast, Carl has made it his mission to curate the finest collection of record players in Australia.