Spend some time on office planning before you decide to work from home. The idea of working in pyjamas with the coffee pot and fridge nearby is appealing but the reality may hold some surprises. Do a little research and chat to persons who actually work from home to better decide what will suit your requirements and personal quirks.
1. A Home Office Where?
You can set up a home office just about anywhere in your home where there is sufficient space. Office planning should include enough room for your equipment and an orderly workspace. Feeling comfortable in that area is also important – do you feel that you work better secluded or do you enjoy having movement and others around you? Where you set up your office needs careful consideration, take the time to do this.
Areas that provide possible choices are:
- An oversized laundry room which can accommodate your desk and some storage cupboards or shelves.
- You could finish off a section of the garage linked to the house.
- A spare bedroom is usually a good choice for home office.
- Enclosing a verandah or patio is another alternative.
2. Be Honest With Yourself When Office Planning
Know yourself when office planning.Will you have enough quiet and privacy to be productive in your home office? Are you able to work in a quiet house? Some people need the presence of co-workers to be productive.
Are you easily distracted when working alone? When the mail arrives will you open it; if the house phone rings will you answer instead of letting it go to voicemail? Can you tune out family activity in other parts of the house? How will you deal with dogs barking, the kids squabbling and neighbours dropping by?
3. Setting Up Your Office
The built-in kitchen table may be enough space for your phone, laptop and printer, but is it ideal? In a small area, perhaps the outlay on neat space-efficient office furniture is the way to go.
Ensure that you have the storage space and all you need to get the work done in your office. Do not share your work “tools and equipment” with the household if you want to always have it on hand and in its place when you need it.
Set boundaries for the family to ensure your work, computer and other items remain undisturbed and the pens and pencils don’t walk out of your office!
4. Will Working at Home Create Restrictions for Family Members?
Some considerations are:
- Will the kids be able to have friends over after school?
- Will you ask your spouse to refrain from running household machines while you are working?
- Is the sound of a television going to distract you?
- If your office is inside your home, you are going to hear the noise of family life. That can create tension and resentment if you do not have a plan for co-operation
- Deciding on your working hours is essential to allow you to work undisturbed, optimally and keep the balance between family life and home life.
How are you at drawing boundaries? Family members and friends often assume that if you are in the house your time and attention is available to them. To your family, if you are home, that means you are not seriously working. Can you convince them that your deadline is not their competition?
Are you willing to set firm boundaries so you remain uninterrupted while working? Are you going to be able to fit your work hours into the time that the rest of the family is at school and work?
6. The Ideal Home Office Worker
- The ideal home office worker enjoys working alone.
- Personal interaction from co-workers is not necessary for productivity.
- Successful home office workers know how to organise their work time and family time, keeping them separate.
- The ideal home office is set apart from the main living areas of the house and has a door.
- Family members are 100% supportive and respectful of your working hours.
Home Office Planning
Working from the comfort of a home office has many benefits. Coffee breaks when you want them, Snoopy keeping your feet warm on a cold day, being home when the kids are ill, saving on fuel and transport time are some on the plus side. It can even make family life more manageable.
Self discipline and sticking to your plans is invaluable. So consider carefully to make sure this is the right choice for you. For assistance in planning the perfect home office, contact My Office Furniture. Contact Cape Town Office | Contact Johannesburg Office