Home offices are awesome.
They’re the ideal way to create a home-away-from-home-within-a-home that lets you focus on your hobbies and work.
It’s the workshop for the modern-day white collar professional, the entrepreneur, and just about anyone else who wants a place at home where they can turn a profit.
(Or, like, hang out and play video games.)
Regardless of what you do and how you want it to look, every home office has the same five base criteria.
I only figured this out as I transitioned jobs back in November to a work-from-home marketing gig. I wish I had known how to make a home office beforehand because it would’ve saved me a lot of time and a bit of cash, too.
So if you’re in the same situation — or if you’ve always wanted to make a personal and productive spot in your home — here’s what you need to do!
1. Establish Your Workspace
Your office is a room. Your workspace is where you get stuff done.
For me, my office is the top room of my house. It’s basically a finished attic.
But the “attic” is too big for a single office. That’s why I cordoned off part of it to make a workspace.
I chose this layout for a couple of reasons.
First, I’m a huge fan of megadesk.
Second, it’s a desk shape that works well with the room. Even though it’s open to the rest of the room, it feels completely cut off — the way a workspace should.
To make sure it was as practical as I had hoped, I fitted my workspace with:
- Two desks
- Two monitors
- Two HDMI cables
- A keyboard
- A mouse
- A mousepad
- A laptop
- A USB hub
- A whiteboard
- A swivel chair
Stuff aside, there’s still an important question.
Does it work?
The answer is a happy (and relieved) yes.
My workspace functions as a workspace because it’s essentially cut off from the rest of the room (and house).
But it’s just one part of my home office.
The other major part isn’t even really about working — directly, anyway.
It’s about being anything but.
2. Establish an “Other” Space (if Needed)
“Other” spaces are fun.
They’re the non-work areas that you can create in your office to let yourself get away from your job throughout the day.
(After all, everyone needs a break.)
Depending on the size of your office, you may be able to set up one or two “other” spaces that cater to different concepts.
One of my “other” spaces is made for reading. It’s a few extra chairs, a bookshelf, and a lamp.
Another one is just a keyboard.
And then another one is a blanket where I can watch my son.
So why bother making “other” spaces? It’s because of an interior decorating concept called zoning.
Zoning is the creation of different spaces in a single room that let you do different things in them. Most of the time, you’ll hear about zoning in reference to small spaces like studio apartments.
These are spaces that are too small to have walls, but too connected to feel distinct.
So instead of having a bedroom-kitchen-office-living-room in 300 square feet, you have a bedzone-kitchzone-offzone-living-zone that feel a bit different.
It’s not just a random idea, either. Zoning is shown to help you get into the “zone” (so to speak) of the purpose of that zone.
So in an office zone, you feel focused and ready to work.
In a living room zone, you feel relaxed.
In a bedroom zone, you feel sleepy.
And it’s all because of zoning!
3. Get a Reliable Computer
We touched base on this in item #1, but a computer is so important to working from home that it bears repeating.
Here’s the thing: Most consumer computers are not functionally equipped to deal with all of the things that you need to do throughout a workday.
Work computers often require multitasking. You’ll have multiple web browser windows, tabs, programs, and other software running in the background at all times.
That means you’ll need something with a powerful processor and a lot of RAM. The processor is basically the engine of your computer, and higher amounts of RAM make it better at multitasking.
Weirdly enough, this means gaming PCs are often the best work-from-home computers.
(Or Macs. But who can afford one of those?)
I recommend an HP Omen. I bought one a few years back for about $1000 (1/3 the price of a comparable Mac), and it’s still going strong.
With that, you now have the main workhorse of your home office.
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One thought on “3 Essentials to Set up a Home Office (and to Work from Home)”
Chris, I really enjoy your ideas and comments. This one is especially important for those of us who are mostly confined to their homes. Establishing a routine and a SPACE for specific tasks is important. Stay well! 🙂