How to Build a Functional Work-From-Home Office

functional home office

Since the pandemic, a lot of Canadians have converted their dining room tables, basements, spare bedrooms, and even closets into work-from-home office spaces. 

Although a lot of people were lucky enough to keep their jobs during these tricky times, transforming your home space into an office is not always as easy as putting a desk in a room. 

The things most people should look to seek are comfort and functionality. 

With this in mind, there are many things you’ll want to consider including location, lighting, and equipment to make your home office space comfortable and ready for you to take on the day. 

Having a place at home where you can work without disturbance is essential to running a successful business operation however the type of work you do will determine the type of space you will need. 

If you’re a small business owner, a home office to you might be an additional benefit that allows you to stay in touch with your team whilst working from home, making zoom calls, having meetings, or simply getting a few things done before running out. 

If you’re a freelancer or contractor, a home office is likely where you’ll be spending the majority of your week, head first in projects and also a place that may require you to store your equipment. 

With this in mind, you will want to choose the best location in your home to accommodate your daily routine. 

Choose a Quiet Area in Your Home

Ideally, a quiet area in your home is the best place to designate for your home office. This is especially true if you share the house with roommates, children, parents or spouses. 

Basements, spare rooms, or even a cornered-off area of your living room are all ideal spots for getting your head down and cracking on with some work. 

The location of your homework office may also come into question depending on the industry you work in.  If you meet clients often, you may want a room by the front door, or if you are a contractor or freelancer, you may need a larger space in the basement to finish projects.

Consider Lighting 

Believe it or not, lighting has a major impact on your productivity, workflow, and mood. That is why offices invest in that bright, almost blue lighting. 

Any light that has a warmer glow such as a fireplace or lamp gives off a warmer light and promotes relaxation and won’t function well in a workspace unless you are a massage therapist or beautician. 

Natural sunlight or cooler lighting (like that office lighting with the blue undertones) promotes productivity, alertness, and well-being. So working by a window or in a room with blue lighting can help you get more done throughout the workday and stay more alert into the night.  

If you are looking to spruce up your space try adding some greenery or a plant that will also help promote feelings of well-being and calmness. 

Take an Inventory of Supplies

Before you rush off and buy any office equipment, assess what you already have that could be repurposed.

Try reusing things like lamps or lighting and take inventory of stationery you already have. These are all small products that add up. 

Using what you already have can leave room in your budget for you to invest in other, more costly items like office furniture. 

A good chair and desk are always worth the money spent, and you almost always get what you pay for. Considering your needs and how functional you need both to be in terms of how and when you will be using them. 

If you are in an industry that requires you to sit all day, place comfort at the top of your priority list. 

Accessibility and access, space needed (ie: how big you need your desk or chair to be), the size of the room it will be in, and what it will be used for should all also be taken into consideration. 

For ergonomic reasons and for the more active worker you could even invest in a standing desk.

However you choose to set up your workstation setup, you simply can’t put a price on your health – the benefits of having and investing in an ergonomic desk and chair hugely outweigh any cost.

Additionally, you will want to consider all of your business needs before investing your money into costly techs like printers, desktops, and laptops. 

Get your Tech Set-Up

Now that you have your room ergonomically organized, it’s time to get serious about the technology that you’ll need to run a smooth operation.

Internet connection with WiFi is a given, and beyond that, it simply depends on your business needs.

Some people find background music makes them more productive, in which case it would make sense to invest in a proper set of speakers – there’s nothing worse than grooving along to the latest hot record through the tinny sound of in-built speakers.

If you’re a creative – photographer, designer, or illustrator for example – it’s worth buying a multifunctional office printer. This will save you tedious trips to the local print shop and enable you to focus more energy on your creative process.

Work With Your Tastes

Some people find the tranquillity and calmness of a neat and tidy desk more productive than a messy one (if you’re the latter, lucky you – messiness is also a sign of a secret genius at work).

Everyone works differently and what’s most important is finding what works best for you. If having streams of paper and pens scattered across the room is your jam – own it!

Alternatively, if you find that painting all the walls white and only having a desk, chair, and computer (shout out to the minimalists) gets the juices flowing, own that too.

If you’re using a shared space – for example, a lounge or dining room – as your home office, this might be trickier than those of you that have a dedicated room.

Don’t let sharing space put you off; empower yourself to create a space that works for you. Are the kitchen lights annoying you? Turn them off. Too many cushions on the sofa? Remove them.

Separate Business from Pleasure

If you have started a business and are pursuing your passion, whether part-time, as a freelancer or as a full-time gig, you are a professional, so treat yourself like one!   

This means setting up a business account, registering your company name, setting up a GST account, and registering your business either as a sole proprietor or incorporation. 

This will help you immensely during tax season when you will want to write off your home office as a deductible towards your business, along with all of your other expenses!

Have a Way to Keep Time

Workers working from home are more likely to overwork than those working at an office. Before you know you will be clocking 14 hour days if you don’t have a way to track your hours and time. 

Time tracking apps like Harvest will allow you to track your hours so you will know exactly where you are at, at the end of the week. They are also really helpful in reminding you to take a break throughout the day. 

This will encourage you to avoid overworking and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Create An At-Home Water Cooler or Coffee Station 

A coffee station or home water cooler can be the place you congregate with your co-workers or take a break from that project you have thrown yourself into. Work should be satisfying, not crippling! 

Your coffee station to cater to you and all of your favourites. This will also make you feel like the office is a place to work and play. 

Having a place that encourages you to stop and rest is always a great idea for clarity and will help overall mood and productivity. 

During the pandemic is it crucial that we create room for ourselves to be comfortable in our work environments. The adjustment of transitioning from office to home has forced people to readjust their idea of what work means. Creating a comfortable and functional home office will benefit you and your business in the long run and provide a haven away from whatever else is going on in your home. 

Remember, you are a professional, so treat yourself as one! A considered work environment that suits your work style will help you be more productive in your day and in turn, increase your sense of well-being and work satisfaction. 

Do you have any questions about office equipment and printers for your new home office? Contact us today – we are happy to get you started!