Did you know that most workers spend 50% of their waking time on the job? Spending some time on figuring out the perfect home office setup isn’t a bad investment.
When I first took the leap to working from home I had a million questions, and I didn’t know what I didn’t know to set myself up for success.
Now that my home working path is well worn, and I’ve had my fair share of stumbles, let me share some useful must-haves for your ultimate home office setup.
Call me Captain Obvious, but if you’re working from home, you need a desk. Don’t roll your eyes at me – it’s not just about having a desk, it’s about choosing the right desk.
I’ve tried to work remotely whilst staying in temporary accommodation, and trust me: makeshift desks just aren’t the same. If you’ve ever tried to do a serious amount of work whilst using a table that looks like this, you’ll feel my pain:
So, what kind of desk should you choose? You can’t go wrong with a generous-sized desk that keeps your body in proper alignment.
Unless you’re opting for a standing desk, in which case you’re a brave soul and I salute you, you’ll also need a chair. There’s no point searching far and wide for a desk that supports your posture, only to do all your work on a bar stool.
Instead, choose a chair that gives you the support you need and deserve. The perfect office chair will vary between people, but look for a slightly reclined position, dynamic back movement, and back support.
Don’t be this guy.
I hope you work in a south-facing house from a country with fourteen hours of sunlight a day, and that your office room has huge glass windows. But I live in a dark, gloomy country called England, and I often prefer to work at night. That’s where having the right light comes in.
You can choose between a table lamp and a floor lamp, depending on how much space you have and which you like the look of. I prefer a floor lamp with a light above my head level as I feel it’s better for my eyes. Just my preference.
Whichever you choose, evidence suggests using 500 lumens per square meter (I’m getting all technical on you now!), and opting for white light to increase productivity.
No power points at your ideal home office location? No problem. Run an unsightly extension lead and conceal it as shown by the guy in this YouTube clip:
And if you’re running power to anything that doesn’t have a battery, be sure to connect your cable to your next must-have item, an uninterrupted power supply, or UPS. That’s right, a UPS will never fail you because it has its own in-built battery which kicks into gear through a power outage.
You should also consider a surge protector to avoid voltage spikes, particularly if you work where the power supply is inconsistent. NPS Power Protection Solutions recommend connecting a UPS into a surge protector to give the double whammy of protecting your power supply.
Desk, check. Chair, check. Light, check. Power, check. Ok, now let’s start kitting out your ultimate home office. There are some tasks you can do from a phone or tablet, but in general, you’ll need a computer.
Please, don’t scrimp on this one. I’ve had my fair share of cheap laptops, and guess what? They’d always break within a year or two, and their value had depreciated so much, they weren’t even worth fixing.
However, if you’re planning on pursuing work that demands extremely high-quality graphics – like a graphic designer – you probably don’t need a top-of-the-range PC either. A mid-range computer or laptop from a respected brand will generally suffice, such as:
Do yourself a favor by buying a few essential accessories – the difference they make will surprise you. Here’s a list of popular computer accessories that will make your working life much easier:
The items you need depend on the work you do. I’m a writer; I can get by without many accessories. But I have a friend who works remotely as a software engineer, and he always uses an extra monitor and a mouse.
If you’re thinking of pursuing transcription, a special keypad is useful to ensure you can type as fast as possible.
When I was a kid, I’d make fun of my father for having an attachable mouse, attachable keypad, and an attachable monitor with his work laptop. Now, I totally understand: accessories can make the job that little bit easier.
Before I got high-speed internet access, my download speed was about 2 Mbps and my upload speed was less than 1 Mbps. If this means nothing to you, just think back to the days when your modem sounded like R2D2 on Xanax. Sloooooowwwwww!
To upload a YouTube video, I’d hit publish when I went to bed and hope it was done by the morning. No joke.
Unfortunately, if you live in rural Scotland, your internet will never be as that of a New Yorker. But make the most of whatever you have by upgrading to a great package and splashing out on a quality router.
Once you make the switch, you’ll wonder how you survived before!
When I say communication, I’m not talking about office gossip. You can set up your home office so that it’s free from endless chatter about what to have for lunch and who said what at the bar last night. But if your home job involves working with clients, customers, or maybe pupils, you need the right equipment.
I’d recommend investing in a Bluetooth headset with an attachable microphone – it makes such a big difference for sound quality during conferences or calls. You should also consider a voice over IP for cheap (and sometimes free) phone calls without a phone and a phone dock to charge your phone cable-free.
I know, I know: most of us are trying to be paperless. But at some point, you’ll need to print something. Don’t let it get to the point where you’re running around like a headless chicken trying to figure out where you can use a printer at 1 am. Just buy your own; they’re super affordable these days.
Make sure you choose one with an in-built scanner, too. Just because you can use that scanner app on your phone, doesn’t mean you should.
I’ve already told you how to conceal your power supply cables, but that’s not where cable management starts and ends. Don’t be that guy who has his phone charger, laptop charger, earphones, and a dozen other cables just laid out on his desk. Be this guy:
Don’t you just hate having a load of papers and random stuff lying around on your desk? I know I do; that’s why I use a desktop organizer. Although technically you still have a load of random stuff lying around, it just looks so much better once it’s placed in an organizer.
A desktop organizer is great for a few loose items, but if you have tons of paperwork, you might need something more. Consider a file cabinet. My mother files copies of every bank statement and official letter she’s ever received, and I think that’s a little excessive, but each to their own.
In case you hadn’t already noticed, I love storage. If you’ve already got a desk organizer and a filing cabinet but it’s still not enough, I’ve got you covered. Why not try a shelving unit or some storage boxes?
We’ve got to prepare for the worst-case scenarios. There are some things no amount of money can get back, so put external hard drives and USBs with important data in a fire safe box. Better safe than sorry.
Do you deal with sensitive documents? If you answered no, you’re probably wrong, and if you answered yes, you need to get a shredder. They’re strangely satisfying to use, too. Or is that just me?
This list isn’t conclusive. There are some other considerations for your home office setup, such as:
Hopefully by now you’ve already created a mental mood board for the perfect home office setup. But don’t go yet!
Once you’ve nailed the home office setup, it’s time to actually get started on your business. I know, it’s scary – but you’re not on your own. Check out our page titled ‘Start an Online Business and Be Your Own Boss’ for some popular businesses that help you Love Work at Home.
Also before you go, we’d be forever grateful if you’d share the article with others who might also find it interesting.
Have a fantastic day!