Opening my office to you is a bit like sharing a part of myself. Home offices are, after all, places we build around ourselves – our tastes, our ways of working, our unique needs. I’ve enjoyed working from locations all over the world, but my home office is special because it’s so personal. Here is mine in use for our EMEA marketing all hands call with the EMEA team of 30 people.
Richard Branson works from a hammock on Necker Island; James Hamilton, an engineer at Amazon, prefers to work from a 52-foot yacht. Both are glamorous examples, but it’s clear that not everyone would be able to work efficiently from these spots – they suit the people that created them (and reflect something of their characters to boot).
If you’re setting up for the first time, listen to your own needs. That said, there are a few simple tips that can make the process easier:
- Make this somewhere you actually want to work
Space and budget vary, of course, but if you’ve been given the ability to work from home, why recreate the look and feel of an anonymous office in the City?
This is your space – make it somewhere you want to work. That could mean painting your walls in a colour that relaxes you, adding some plants to the room (studies say they make people happier), or adding some art to the walls to brighten things up. Think about what will inspire you for the day ahead, and make this a place where you want to spend time.
- Get comfy
Your home office isn’t just about look – it’s also about feel. This is a space in which you’re going to spend hours of your time, so it’s important that you set up your screen and desk chair with the same principles of posture and ergonomics that you’d see in any office – the key is to have the top of your screen at eye level. My Herman Miller chair was not cheap but a worthwhile investment.
- Create space for reflection
If you have space for it, you might think about creating a space in which to read and reflect. An armchair is as good as anything, and can provide a great spot to come up with a creative solution to a problem you just couldn’t tackle at your desk.
- Hide your cords
Your home office is bound to be full of tech gadgets, and most of these are now sleek and elegant devices that only add to the look of your space. The problem comes with cords, so it’s worth doing something to hide them. There are plenty of ways to keep cords tidy, so a little research goes a long way – you won’t regret doing this if you’ve ever had to untangle a mess of wires from under your desk especially when cables are a bugbear of my wife!!!
- Stock up on the essentials
It’s the moment a flexible worker most fears – the printer is out of paper. Avoid this and other dramas by creating a stationery cupboard to rival a small business. Pens, printer ink, staples, notebooks: all of these have a habit of running out when you most need them, so stay prepared and stock in advance.
- Clock in
If you’re setting up a home office, chances are you’re planning to work with at least some flexibility to your hours. If this is new for you, hanging a clock on the wall can help you establish a reasonable rhythm of work. It may sound obvious, but having a clock in your office space can also ensure you know when to call it a day and ‘leave the office’.
Good communication tools are vital to collaborating easily, quickly and effectively from your home office. Emails are great, but it’s far easier to reach a decision and build rapport when you’re chatting face to face on a video call as you can see in the image above. Instant messaging is another good way to keep in touch – it’s particularly useful for sharing links or asking quick questions.
- Don’t forget that home is home
Don’t let your office bleed into the space in which you relax. If you do, you’ll find it hard to switch off at the end of the day – it’s important that your home remains your sanctuary. Even if you live in a studio flat, there are many creative and space-efficient ways to keep your home office separate from your living space – Pinterest is a good resource for those that are looking for inspiration.
Do you have any home office tips that I’ve missed? What would your ideal home office look like? Tweet us @PolycomEurope using #HomeOffices