As work hours grow longer and transportation costs get more expensive, to be able to work from home has become the new American dream for many. But while it may be possible for people to bring work home with them or get jobs where they never have to commute again, being fully productive at home is difficult—if not impossible—without a decent workspace.
To create your own home office, you don’t even need to make any real renovations. This is great news for renters, since lease agreements typically prohibit making any major changes (many don’t even want paint on the walls). Follow these relatively simple instructions, and you’ll be set with an attractive, functional home office that didn’t cause you to empty your wallet!
Find the right space
First things first; unless you live in a studio or are living with roommates that prevent you from working elsewhere, your home office should not be in your bedroom. Many studies on sleep and productivity have shown that working in the same room you sleep in is often counterproductive and can tire you out faster. Locate a peaceful spot elsewhere in your home. A finished attic or quiet basement could work, as could an unused dining room (if you eat primarily in the kitchen or in front of the TV, why not make the so-called dining area your office?) Even just claiming a section of your living room could be a good option for you, as long as people aren’t walking through it all day.
Now, if you must work from your bedroom, do what you can to separate your workspace from your bed. At the very least, your desk should be facing away from it. You may even need to rearrange the furniture in your room so that your bed is in one end and your desk is in another. This brings us to the next tip:
Create a “room within a room”
If you don’t have a room that you can devote entirely to your home office, you’ll need to section off the space you have chosen and make it your zone of business. Fold-out screens work very well for this purpose and have the bonus of being aesthetically pleasing. You can also hang curtains from the ceiling and position furniture like bookshelves in a way that clearly separates your workspace from the rest of the room.
Get a desk
It’s true that not every person needs a desk to do their job, but those people are few and far between. Working while lounging on a couch can be tempting, as can working from a cheap table and old chair. But you can do better for yourself, and there are plenty of desks out there that won’t break your budget. Hit up the thrift stores and yard sales. If you don’t want to go the used route, check out discount retailers like Overstock.com.
Use your resources
While we’re on the topic of furnishings, look through what you already own for the basics. Chances are you already have a lamp you can use, pen/pencil holders, a stapler, a clock, extra paper, etc.
Make sure you’re connected
Most working professionals today require a computer to do their job in the first place, much less do it from him. Therefore, it is imperative that the space you choose has nearby outlets and a power strip with a surge protector. You will also need to check your Internet access and make sure it works well in that spot. To save money, avoid getting a new landline phone. Your cell will work just fine (but be sure your voicemail message clearly states who you are and is professional). Especially if you live with multiple roommates or have a family, your house’s landline will not be sufficient. Use that for non-professional purposes only.
Your office should always be a pleasant space to be in, and by working from home, you can truly make it your own. Everything should be nice to look at, but also motivational—framed inspirational posters and photos of family and friends work well, as do framed diplomas and education certificates.
If you want a home office but are still looking for that new home, use RentFinder’s search tool today.