Looking for ways to spruce up your home office? Unlike a cubicle in an office building, a home office opens you up to more design possibilities. You can arrange the pieces and design the environment to make you feel productive and ready to tackle your to-do list. Whether you’re a creative freelancer or a management consultant, you need a place to think, get organized, and, of course, get stuff done.
Create a Different Vibe for Your Home Office
The overall vibe of your home office sets the tone for your workday. If it blends in with the rest of your home, you may feel less like you’re running a business and more like you’re just hanging out. No matter where you set up your home office, try to make it different so it signals to your brain that it’s time to work. Both sides of the threshold should provide comfort but in their own unique way: The relaxed feeling of your bedroom or den is not suited for a work mentality.
Design your home office in a way that keeps you focused on what you need to accomplish, whether it’s meeting clients or finalizing documents. That can be a very personal decision – the colours, sounds, and views that help you focus might make someone else feel distracted. Using colour psychology in your office can help you choose your paint, furniture, and accessories based on the vibe you want to create. For example, red may give you a sense of urgency, while green creates a balanced, comfortable feeling. Also consider the factors that help you stay focused and increase your productivity, and incorporate those elements into your unique office design.
It’s difficult to make your workspace truly yours at another organization, but your home office is a chance to be a bit rebellious. There may be certain artwork that inspires you and frees your mind: Maybe it’s a Banksy piece or childhood comics. Maybe it’s the relaxing trickling water of a fountain. Whatever you choose, make sure your pieces serve some sort of productive purpose and don’t become a distraction.
Construct Multiple Workspaces Within One
Your home office may be more beneficial if you create multiple distinct working areas. The main area probably contains your desk because it serves as your home base for working, but you can and should get creative with the other sections. You might add a place to brainstorm new ideas, such as a couch or a chair with an ottoman so you can get comfortable as you brainstorm or read materials that might inspire your work. Having these two distinct areas allows you to maintain a productive flow to your day.
Depending on your business, you may need other work areas. If you sell and ship physical products, you need a space to store inventory and prepare shipments. If you make handcrafted items to sell on Etsy, you need storage space for your supplies and a workspace to actually make the items. If you meet with clients in your home, you need a comfortable, inviting space to sit down together.
Acquire the Right Office Furniture and Decor
Instead of spending money on things that look nice, building a practical workspace should be your priority. A chair with proper back support, a desk that can sustain your materials, and abundant storage options are crucial. After you’ve locked down the practical elements, then you can think about aesthetics. Additions like plants or artwork can add life, but too much of anything can become a distraction. Would a cool orange wall color ultimately hinder your workflow? A good way to think about finding a balance with color schemes is to incorporate the colors you desire within rugs or pieces of art.
As for furniture, think about your desk and your chair. Consider getting yourself a standing desk, which is a great way to stay alert and healthy. Or if you’re on a budget, you can build a desk to your own specifications. Whichever route you choose, make sure the desk offers enough workspace to accommodate your computer and any other tools and materials you use regularly.
Let There Be Light
When considering the location of your home office, think about the amount of natural light available. If your situation allows it, position your desk near a window. Placing your desk against a wall can make you feel like you’re back in a cubicle. Additional lighting, such as lamps and overhead lights, is next on the agenda. Don’t rely strictly on overhead lighting: Consider lamps, floor lights, and track lighting with dimmers to control the lighting level in your space.
Choose a Quiet Environment
Noise is an often overlooked aspect of setting up your home office, but it’s very important. Consider the phone calls you make and the quiet time you need for brainstorming. Don’t just opt for the room with the best layout; also think about the noise factor. If you don’t have any options besides the noisy room in the back, a running water fountain can help muffle other sounds. Additionally, freemium music-streaming services, such as Spotify, offer fantastic playlists to help keep you focused.
Lights, Camera, Action
With services like Skype and Google Hangouts allowing free videoconferencing, you want to be mindful of your office’s background. Your clients and associates should see an environment that’s nothing short of professional. If one wall holds your family photo shrine or your playful comic section, make sure the other wall is fit for your videoconference backdrop. Lighting is also an important factor to consider when videoconferencing so the other people can see your face clearly without shadows.
Deduct Your Home Office
One of the many benefits of having a home office is the ability to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. That deduction can help you reduce your tax liability and improve the financial footing of your business. You may also be able to deduct a portion of your utilities, mortgage interest, property taxes, and maintenance costs if you have a dedicated home office space. The deduction is a percentage of the total you pay for those expenses based on how much of your home you use as a dedicated office.
Creating your ideal home office involves way more than looks. Pick a layout and design elements that support your productivity, and keep track of all your expenses accurately with tools like QuickBooks. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage business on the go. Download the app now.