As a freelance writer, I often find myself working from home. Whilst I enjoy the freedom of being able to work in my PJs, it can be challenging to combine your home with your workspace. In this little guide, I’ve put together a list of things to think about when setting up your home office. Whether you get dressed or not is up to you!
First things first (and perhaps the most important thing): the desk. Whilst working in bed might seem like the dream, it isn’t going to be long before your shoulders and neck are hating you for it! You don’t need a special office desk but make sure your desk it at a comfortable height. It’s good to have an allocated area that’s just for work, but if you don’t have space you can get creative by using a fold-down desk or using another table area in your home (even though I have a “work desk”, I quite often find myself working at our dining table). You might want to invest in an ergonomic office chair, but I find a supportive and comfortable chair with armrests works well for me.
I hadn’t used a fountain pen since school, and I had forgotten what a joy they are to write with.
Ok, now for the exciting part: STATIONERY! I mean, who doesn’t love shopping for jazzy notebooks and funky desk paraphernalia? But before you load up on highlighters and post-its, think about what you really need. I, for one, can’t remember the last time I used either of the aforementioned office accessories. Whilst most work is now done digitally, I still feel the need to make lists and jot down ideas using good old pen and paper. To avoid “pen rage” (you know that feeling when your shitty biro runs out and you’re aggressively scribbling in a futile attempt to force out the last drops of dried up ink), it’s worth stocking up on some decent writing equipment. I was lucky enough to be sent a set of pens from the LAMY Lx collection and writing with them is a DREAM. I hadn’t used a fountain pen since school, and I had forgotten what a joy they are to write with. The rollerball and ballpoint pen are also a surefire way to avoid “pen rage”. What’s more, they each come in a beautiful case which goes a long way when it comes to making my desk look pretty (more on that in the next section).
Make it your own
The best thing about working from home? You have complete creative freedom when it comes to your desk. Want to install a disco ball? Go for it! If you’re not really down with the whole Saturday Night Fever vibe, I find adding some greenery and some artwork can make your desk a more attractive space. I personally like to keep things minimal, but If you’ve got lots of stationery, paperwork or other bits and pieces there are endless desk organization ideas on Pinterest.
The most important thing to have in your home office: WiFi (unless your work-from-home job is being a monk). This might sound obvious but if your home WiFi is slow it’s going to make it harder to do your job. When you decide where to put your desk, check if the WiFi signal in that room is strong enough. Do you plan on using a desktop or laptop computer? I prefer to use a laptop as it gives me the freedom to work in a different part of the apartment (or escape to a cafe when I’m getting cabin fever). On the other hand, a desktop computer can be far more comfortable to work at. If you want the best of both worlds you can also invest in a screen, keyboard, and mouse to transform your laptop into a comfortable, desktop-style setup. And the final thing your desk needs? Power (both in electrical and caffeine format).
Ah distractions, the eternal enemy of the home worker.
Ah distractions, the eternal enemy of the home worker. Whilst it’s impossible to eliminate all distractions (cup of tea anyone?), there are a few things you can do when setting up your home office space to keep them at bay. Try to set up your desk in a room where there is no TV, and where people won’t be coming in and out to disturb you. I tried working from my parent’s dining room table during my Christmas break: big mistake. Whilst it’s nice to have a window to let in natural light (and look out of when your brain needs a break), I find it better that it doesn’t look out onto a busy street. People watching = ultimate distraction!
Do you have a home office? What are your essentials for creating the perfect workspace? And how do you stay focused (and away from the biscuit tin)?
This post is sponsored by LAMY but all opinions are my own.