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How to create the perfect home office

About to start working from home? You lucky thing. Working flexibly brings with it a number of benefits - more time with friends and family, a quieter atmosphere and fewer distractions to name just three.

But the key to working from home and actually enjoying all these benefits is in creating a comfortable, inspiring and pleasing space in which to work. So, if you’re one of the 4.2 million people who work from home in the UK, here’s a guide to creating the perfect home office space.

Working from home essentials

This is your home-working starter kit. A list of 13 essentials that’s everything you need to start building the perfect home office space.

  • Wi-Fi access - excellent Wi-Fi access is crucial. It’ll help you get everything done, and it travels, so you can sit out in the garden and work (weather permitting).
  • Laptop - gone are the days of big clunky black things that are difficult to cart about. Today’s laptops are super slim and easy to use. Get one you can take to meetings, coffee shops, on the tube...
  • Phone headset - you might look a bit daft wearing one of these, but you’ll soon get used to it. Headsets are comfortable and effective and mean you don’t have to hold the phone up to your ear for long calls.
  • Motivational poster / stickers - we all have down days, so stick a favourite motivational quote up on the wall to get you through when you have an off-day.
  • Filing cabinet - the more work you do and the more clients take on, the more the paperwork will pile up. Keep things organised. For the more digitally inclined, get your Google Drive in order.
  • USB flash drive - a second storage device other than your laptop is an absolute essential.
  • To-do list - start the day as you mean to go on by jotting down all your must-dos. You’ll feel very satisfied when you tick them all off at the end.
  • Stationery kit - the basics (pen, pencil, ruler, paper clips) should be all you need. Oh and Tipp-Ex.
  • Notepad - yes, a notepad. OK, so you can jot down notes on your laptop, but it’s good to have a pad of paper handy should you need it.
  • Printer - doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, just a simple printer that does the job.
  • Bin - having a bin in your home office means you don’t have to keep heading to the kitchen every time you want to dispose of something.
  • Desk - if you have the space, invest in a large desk. That bit of extra space comes in real handy.
  • Chair - make sure you choose a comfortable chair that supports your back and gives you good posture.

Enjoy where you work

Once you’ve got all the basic bits of kit, make your office space homelier by opting for aesthetically pleasing furniture that’s also functional - chairs and desks that support your back and put your feet snug to the floor are what you need. Space allowing, consider a small sofa or beanbag on which you can throw yourself for a 10-minute booster nap or glass of wine at the end of a long, productive day.

Optimise your space for productivity

Furniture experts OKA have put together an infographic on making your home office more productive, so here’s a few tips from them on enjoying an efficient and effective home-working experience.

Keep the heat up - the temperature of a room can affect the productivity of people sitting in it. 70 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimum range for a temperature conducive to efficiency.

Consider a blue and green colour scheme - some blue and green wallpaper or curtains could well boost your productivity, with both colours being associated with higher productivity.

Take a lot of mini breaks - rather than 1 long lunch-hour, consider short, snappy booster breaks of about 5 minutes. Such breaks have been shown to increase mental acuity.

And maybe have a nap - having a 20-minute nap in the afternoon is better for you than sleeping in by the same amount.

Listen to some music - having some background music on can help your concentration. Research suggest listening to some tunes can help you increase your output by 6 per cent.

Four ways to get the most out of a work-from-home day

Approach each day like a work day - get up, get a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast. This will put you in a professional frame of mind.

Work when’s best for you - working from home could mean you’re freed from the 9-to-5 that so many hate. If so, you can choose when you work. If you find you work best from mid-morning to late evening, do it.

Stick to your tasks - it’s easy to get distracted when working from home. To ensure procrastination doesn’t get a grip on you, organise your working day as effectively as possible and stick to your tasks.

Put a divider between your work and home life - this could be something as simple as shutting the door to your home office once you’ve finished, only to open it again the next day, or ensuring your family and friends know that when you’re working you’re not to be disturbed.

Working from home in the UK

The availability of relatively cheap internet access coupled with the increase in social media use has given rise to a number of mini digital industries – such as vlogging. There are numerous ways for someone to harness the web and social to forge a career.

Image Credit: Flickr / blupics

Hilton Freund, has been part of since 2013. His extensive expertise and knowledge as a marketing and communications professional are applied in his daily work at senior executive level, where he is comfortable and competent at managing teams and process, as well as implementing business strategies and directions for success.