Why Have A Separate Home Office When Working From Home

Home Office Space

I always have a sense of irony with these type posts when I read them as the corporate offices you have typically left behind happen to be the most uncomfortable offices available. The office I currently occupy while I wait to start my new employment is extremely uncomfortable. As a space saver we now have smaller desks which I regularly bang my knees on the drawers which are crammed under the desks. Furthermore the person sat next to you is pretty much sat on your knee. You also pick up every single conversation within the office. If one team are having a quiet period work wise and are having a conversation about the match last night while you are trying to finish a report this can be a HUGE distraction in the work office.

The opportunity to work from home however enables you to create the office space you would desire. The difference between been in the office and at home is that you have other distractions at home which can limit your productivity. House work, TV, doing some gardening and children. These are all distractions which can limit your ability to work smartly from home which is why the need to create a nice home office is essential.

 Anybody can make a success of working from home it just categorically comes down to the conditions you work within. Before we moved to our new house we had a two bedroom flat which meant when I worked from home (rarely at the time) I worked off the dining room table. This was a wooden table, wooden chair and was absolutely unforgiving on the body. Moving to the new house we had an extra bedroom, a very large one at that which is now the dedicated office space. Having this space makes such a difference.

If you are looking into a working from home solution long term or have been given this life changing opportunity then make it work for you. Work harder, work smarter and become a better all round employee.

Why is it important?

Improves productivity:

They’ll be a reoccurring theme throughout this blog as I will use the term ‘productivity’ a lot. It’s the main goal of working from home. Work within your conditions, your time frames but work more efficiently and perform better.

Having a self contained office space is essential to assist productivity. The purchase of a desk within its own self contained room/area of the house provides the space you call ‘work’. Having experienced working from the dining room table I can tell you it’s not fun. When you are working you need resources readily available, you need a constant, consistent set up which you can leave and return to everyday. A desk with your work spread out over will achieve this.  Having your office tools ready available stems efficiency. Personally I have a large desk which can easily accommodate my laptop and monitor as well as space for other resources. Make it your space just like you do within the office environment. Don’t take anything out of the room, use it as an office and you will be more productive.

My own aim is to have my home office space to be superior to anything within the office environment. To fully benefit from the working from home opportunity you need to take it seriously and to be serious you need to be productive.

Comfortable environment:

Any office job can be gruelling at times. Working behind a desk 8 hours + a day, your legs feeling like lead balloons, your back in knots. I am sure you’ve had those days because I have…..regularly.

Make your home office a haven for comfort. Essentially this will be your hub for a significantly period of time so comfort is one of the first things you should go for. If I go back to my dining room table with wooden chair then you would quite easily say that’s not the ideal when it comes to comfort. You spend as long in the office than you do in bed and you wouldn’t persist with the worst mattress in the world would you? Why continue with an uncomfortable office?

The first investment should be the best chair you can find within your budget. Makes sense right? In an office job you sit down all day long so the chair you sit in needs to be so comfortable that you enjoy sitting in it. Of course it still needs to be work proof too. None of these reclining chairs. Spend time finding the right chair for your needs and make sure you TRY the chair before you buy. You can get some amazing deals online however you won’t know how comfortable the chair is until you sit in it. You can pick up some fantastic chairs from Ikea. Here is the one I have just purchased.

Secondly and this is more of a personal preference but I always recommend a foot rest. Having a footrest means you can change the angles of where you rest your feet throughout the day. I find my feet and my back are the areas which cause me the most pain and by having an awesome chair and a footrest you can counter this.

Make your office space as comfortable as possible. If you are in a happy, comfortable environment then you will work better.

Maintains Discipline:

Having a nice home office environment separate from your house promotes discipline when working from home. When talking to friends who work from home this is one of the biggest challenges of remote working. By creating the ‘perfect’ home office environment you will be more comfortable within your office and less likely to lose discipline.

Furthermore having a dedicated office space removes any distractions from elsewhere in the house which again maintains discipline. This is equally important for those with young families or house hold pets. By having a dedicated office space where you can shut the door and everyone knows you are working will improve your discipline as well as letting family members know that you are in work mode and you cannot be distracted. By maintaining boundaries from and continuing to have a clear distinction between work and life you will become disciplined and the home office will be viewed the same as the work office.

Limits stress/injury:

We briefly touched on the injury side of things via the comfortable environment section however it’s not something which should be underestimated. By sitting in the same position for long periods of the day, performing similar motions like typing can ultimately create stress on both the body and on your mind. By creating an ergonomic working environment you can prevent injury and stress.

By having the necessary equipment within a specially designed environment you can limit the chances of injury. Stress and injury can be prevented by some of the following:

: Natural Light to prevent strain on the eyes which typically results in headaches. Keep the curtains open at all times and if you are struggling for natural light then invest in a good desk lamp.

: Open a window to circulate air within the room especially within the summer. Stuffy rooms are uncomfortable working conditions.

: Good posture is essential in preventing injury. By having a good quality office chair and maintaining an upright posture you will be comfortable at all times and will lessen the risk of any injuries/pains.

: A clean desk space is a happy, stress free environment. Remove any useless clutter and if you eat at your desk make sure you clear up as soon as you have finished eating. By having a disorganised desk you will become disorganised in your work and stress will creep in. Organise you office space well and you will in turn organise your mind well.

: Make your office individual to you. Have something within your office which makes you smile or makes you happy. Family pictures or something which is a brief distraction can reduce stress instantly and make you smile.

Everybody is different. It’s human nature that we all have individual traits which make us unique. The points made however are essential for making your home a happy office and your office a happy home. The way you implement the above will be different for each and every one of you. If you’re a graphics designer you will need more office space than a content writer or if you are a web developer you may need more equipment than a remote personal assistant. The key is to focus on the four areas and tailor these to suit your individual needs. What will make you comfortable when working from home? What makes you disciplined? Indentify these and act upon all of the four points and you will be successful when working from home. Not only will you improve your quality of work, productivity and efficiency but also your body will be stress free, as will your mind.

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.


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