What Are the Best Tips for Setting up a Home Office?

Eugene P.

Setting up a home office, especially for the first time, can be a daunting task, but there are some tips that can help bring focus to a job that might otherwise become chaotic very quickly. The location of the office in the home is important, because it needs to be a place of work. Equally important is putting the right type of furniture in the office so it is professional, comfortable and well suited to the space. Office supplies are something that will be used every day and using even a very rudimentary inventory system can prevent lost time as supplies start to run out. Additionally, some consideration needs to be given to the psychological aspects of the space so it is pleasant and professional to work in.

A printer for a home office.
A printer for a home office.

The most important choice to make when setting up a home office is where it will be located. It should be someplace that is not in the way of foot traffic in the home, so there is not a large amount of noise or potential interruptions. The space also should be large enough to accommodate any required furniture and equipment. If the business will need to entertain business clients, then easy access to an entryway to the home can make a difference to the client and help to provide a more professional appearance. If possible, the room or area also should have some natural light and windows to prevent the space from feeling cramped and dark.

Desks and computer chairs are necessary home office furnishings.
Desks and computer chairs are necessary home office furnishings.

When setting up a home office, the layout of the room is something that can help to determine exactly what type of furniture and equipment can be used. The location of outlets on the walls, the presence of sconces that could prevent tall cabinets from being used, and other features should be noted. The area should contain furniture that is functional, professional and leaves some open space in the room. If there are few electrical or phone outlets available, then there might be limited options for the location of computers and other electronic equipment.

A trackball mouse is useful when you don't have a lot of desk space.
A trackball mouse is useful when you don't have a lot of desk space.

Just like a normal office environment, supplies need to be purchased and tracked so there are no unexpected shortages during a work day. Keeping the supplies in a single area — and keeping track of what is on hand and what is being used — can help to determine items that need to be purchased more frequently than others. Having supplies in a dedicated drawer or cabinet can help to keep them intact longer, because they will not be exposed to dust or have the chance to get lost.

A shredder can help alleviate junk mail, old paperwork, and unnecessary papers.
A shredder can help alleviate junk mail, old paperwork, and unnecessary papers.

When setting up a home office, it is vital to separate the workspace from the home living space. Family members who are home during the day need to understand that the office is off-limits while it is in use. Psychologically, setting up a home office should involve creating a space that is comfortable to work in, but that has a distinctly separate feeling from the rest of the house. This can be achieved by using different decor in the room or a space that has a separate outside entrance.

Keeping an inventory of office supplies will ensure that supplies don't unexpectedly run out.
Keeping an inventory of office supplies will ensure that supplies don't unexpectedly run out.
Office supplies are critical to running a business from home.
Office supplies are critical to running a business from home.
Home offices should be setup in a quiet space to promote productivity.
Home offices should be setup in a quiet space to promote productivity.
Home offices should be designed with equipment requirements in mind.
Home offices should be designed with equipment requirements in mind.
Calendars can be helpful in a home office.
Calendars can be helpful in a home office.
A wrist rest might be a good addition to a home office.
A wrist rest might be a good addition to a home office.
Pushpins may help with organization in a home office.
Pushpins may help with organization in a home office.
Home offices should always have a professional appearance.
Home offices should always have a professional appearance.
Vendors may offer discount office supplies to repeat customers.
Vendors may offer discount office supplies to repeat customers.
A desk clock is an important part of any home office.
A desk clock is an important part of any home office.
Noise canceling headphones can help minimize distractions while working from a home office.
Noise canceling headphones can help minimize distractions while working from a home office.

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