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How to Set Up Your Home Office: A Simple Guide

Posted June 27, 2019, by Kristina Mitic

One in three Australians has seen the light and works from home. Some opt for it in order to cut down on commute time, while others work for international clients or run their own small businesses. Thanks to technology, working from home is more accessible and easier than ever!

From avoiding rush hour  (and that colleague you may not like so much) to having the chance to stay close to a loved one or catch up on one or two household chores during your break- - the benefits of working from home are undeniable.

But, how should you go about setting your home office? What are the best ways to utilise the space you have and be as productive as possible? Here are some tips to help get you started.

Pick a Quiet Space

Carving out a spot for your office can sometimes be difficult, especially if you're dealing with space limitations. Keep in mind that your home office doesn't need to be large or too spacious. Of course, it would be better if it's not tiny and you could move around in it. But, even if it ends up being on the small side, that's not the most important thing. The number one thing to consider is how quiet it is.

It goes without saying that the back side of the house or a calm spot of the flat would be best. You don't want to be bothered with outside noise when you're trying to concentrate. Any distracting noises, like car alarms, entertainment centre buzz or the sound of kids playing would ideally be stationed far from you.

However, if that's not possible - generate your own quiet. Close the door and put on some classical or calming music to keep yourself centred. Consider investing in a small fountain or waterfall statue, which would provide with some eye- and ear-relief. Or, look into getting a white-noise machine. There are viable options that will let you get your work done, without having to worry about any noisy intrusions.

Set Clear Boundaries 

It's vital to be able to focus. No matter what your profession is, you'll do better without interruptions. That means the "quiet rule" extends to your family, as well.

One of the main benefits and disadvantages of working from home is being around your loved ones or flatmates. It's great to have them around, but it's undeniable that they sometimes "forget" that you're not really home when you're working. So, in order to stop any major delays in your work and not have people asking stuff of you every second of every day - set clear boundaries.

Let the people who surround you know what your typical work hours are. If that tends to change, come up with a system of letting them know when you're in the zone and when not to bother you. A simple solution, like a sign on the door could work wonders.

This rule is also important for you. Even the most dedicated workers sometimes struggle with concentrating when they just don't feel like working. So, make up your own routine. At least in the beginning. Take some breaks when you feel your focus is slipping. And remember to be firm with yourself - you will need to push through it until you get used to working from home.

Ensure You Stay Motivated

By nature, people are social creatures. It is difficult for most to stay isolated without feeling forlorn. That's why you need to put your home office through the wringer, ensuring it's where you'll enjoy spending time.

Put some thought into decor. Put up a few motivational quotes up if that's your thing. Or, put up pictures of loved ones, pets or cutesy art on the walls. Alternatively, decorate the walls with certifications and diplomas, showcasing the path you've taken. But, be sure to leave an empty frame to symbolise the way you've still got to go.

Go with different coloured walls. Invest in a whiteboard and use it to plan your day out. Get a plant for your desk and watch life bloom while you work. The options are limitless.

If you still become restless, consider going to a co-working space once or twice per month - or whenever you feel like you need it. After spending a day being surrounded by people, you are sure to long for that perfect office you call your own.

Mind Your Body

Technology has changed the way we work. While some changes were for the better, others are taking their toll on our bodies. Have you ever considered the effect sitting down for hours at a time has? You've surely experienced back pain at some point in your career. Unfortunately, a vast majority of office workers and freelancers complain about back problems.

It's possible to counteract the pain with some exercise or deskercise! Try is yoga, pilates or even some regular stretching at your desk.

Since you're designing your own home office, make sure the space works for you. Look into ergonomic options that will see you avoid different types and levels of discomfort most people suffer from.

Simple ways to make your space more ergonomic include investing in a standup desk; ensuring your keyboard and mouse are in a proper position to avoid any unnecessary strain on the nerves in your hands; and keeping the monitor at an optimum distance to also relieve eye-strain.

Don't Power Through

The main advantage of working from home is being able to set your own pace.  Still, the desire to power through major projects in order to get some more rest tomorrow can become too hard to resist.

Try to avoid working more than four hours at a time. Take short breaks and be sure to eat lunch. Take a walk or do something physical on your breaks, so that your body has time to recover and recharge. Even if going outside is too much, step away from the desk. It will give you a nice mental-break and you will get a stronger surge of energy when you sit back down to work.

And remember - powering through projects in order to get more time for rest in the future is futile. Chances are - a new project is lined up and waiting just around the corner.

Kristina Mitic

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