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Tips for setting up your home office

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By Jane Hinchey

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When I first started my online business I shared our home office with my partner.

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We have a small villa and used the spare {tiny} bedroom as an office. In it we had squeezed two desks, filing cabinets, computers + printers.

It sure was squishy but it meant that I had a designated ‘work’ area in the house. Not in front of the TV on my laptop – but an actual office that I could go and shut the door and spend a couple of productive hours getting things done.

Having worked from home for a few years, I’ve found it really important to keep your work area {or home office} separate from the rest of your home. Two reasons:

1. Your home has tons of distractions that are going to keep you from working in your business and
2. Sometimes you need time away from your business, so if you can manage a home office or at least separate space, it’ll help negate both of those issues.

This is why you need your own space – I equate it to sanity.

Don’t have a spare room you can turn into an office? It’s about getting creative with what you do have, because believe me, when you’re trying to grow your business, you need your own creative space – it doesn’t have to be big, but it has to be YOUR space. Whether it’s a desk in the corner of your bedroom, one of those cupboards that opens up into a mini-office or space in the garage {by the way, I’ve had my office in the garage before! Use what you have.}

My initial home office setup was enough to get me going, but I soon found it really hard to concentrate and get stuff done because I wasn’t happy with my surroundings. I hated my brown L shaped desk, it made me feel like I was back in a cubicle. While my red racer back chair was comfortable it looked like it belonged to a teenager. Everything was mismatched and I found it stifling my creativity. So I upgraded and it barely cost me a cent {tip: sell the old stuff to buy the new}.

Let’s get into the nuts and bolts of what you need in a home office and how you can do it on a budget.

Furniture

Okay, well there’s the obvious, a desk and a chair. I’m not going to go into recommendations about the best type of desk or chair – it all depends on your budget and what you already have. I bought a big old wooden desk second hand – I think its history was it had originally been in an office on a ship. What I loved was that it had two drawers on each side and they went all the way to the back of the desk… I’ve never seen such long drawers in my life! Anyway, I stripped the years of varnish off that baby, painted it white and gave it a gorgeous shabby chic overhaul and ‘hey presto’ one very awesome office desk.

I splurged on a white office chair – because I’m petite and finding comfortable office chairs is challenging, so spending a bit of money on a chair made sense.

In the garage we had an old hutch/cabinet that used to be in the dining room many years ago but now no longer suited our house. So I sanded that back as well, gave it a lick of white paint and the same shabby chic treatment as the desk and now I have great storage for my office.

Electronics

I use a laptop but I also have an external monitor, which makes work so much easier. I can highly recommend hooking your laptop up to a monitor because it essentially gives you two screens. Great for working on multiple documents or when you’re going back and forth between different web pages or what not. I also have a wireless keyboard and mouse, so the laptop doesn’t need to be right in front of me, I’m pretty much using it as an extra screen and it helps with the ergonomics having the external keyboard.

I bought a long USB cable for the printer to get it off my desk. Those things take up too much space, so it’s sitting on an old set of bedside drawers in the corner of the room. I store my paper in the drawers, along with my software CDs and anything ‘techy’ that I may need. Not sure if you know this, but laser printers chew up a lot of power, so I only ever turn it on when I need to print something, then I turn it off again… I don’t let it sit there in standby mode all day. It’s a multi-function printer by the way, so it scans and copies as well.

I wanted to put up a white board but didn’t really have the wall space, so I bought an easel from ebay and put my whiteboard on that. The beauty of this is that I can drag it around anywhere, so I can have it right next to me when I’m working, or out in the hallway if I’m shooting a video and I don’t want it in the shot.

Make your home office space a comfortable, welcoming space for you to work in. If it’s unwelcoming you’re not going to want to sit down and work, so do what you can to make it a space you love. Put up photos, have flowers on your desk, light candles. It doesn’t have to be big or extravagant; you can turn a little corner of your home into the best, most productive work space ever!

Do you love your home office?

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Jane Hinchey - to view all of Jane's blog post click here

Jane Hinchey is a ‘Do It Yourself’ website champion & small business liberator, furnishing you with the tools you need to craft a smokin' - hot online presence. She's the creator of the Jane Hinchey Biz Academy and craves tropical holidays, coffee, and sexy shoes! You can check her out at JaneHinchey.com

Website: http://www.janehinchey.com

  • I didn’t know that about the laser printer. I have now turned it off. Thanks for the tip 😀

  • love this article Jane. I’ve finally moved my office to an outside dis-used bungalow we had and it’s the best move I ever made. No more smiley faces drawn on my invoices by my girls or lost paperwork and I’ve put my own girly stamp on the place complete with fresh flowers and fragrant oil burner. Sighhhh! peace at last

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