When starting a business, it's essential that you have the right place to focus and concentrate if you are working from home. Here are some home office tips which will help you transform whatever space you have into a happy haven where you can get some serious work done.
Once you are set up, book yourself onto a Country Living Build-A-Business Day course and learn the marketing, social media and financial skills you need to take your business to the next level. Browse our range of 2017 course locations and dates here.
1. Take a good look at your home
In order to work most efficiently you need a room of your own away from the hustle and bustle of family life. It's also much easier to achieve a good work/life balance if you can shut the door on the place where you run your business.
Try to identify an underused room where you'll be able to focus. This doesn't need to be a huge space, but comfortable enough for you to work in. Perhaps a spare bedroom or even the garden shed - with heating of course.
2. Consider what you actually need and work from there
The whole point of creating an office is that it's a suitable space to really work in – so practicality and functionality are important factors to consider. You may love freestanding desks and contemporary design, but before purchasing any furniture ask yourself whether it is practical and functional.
If you need a lot of storage space for files, make sure you search for a desk with built in drawer space and a tall shelving unit. Think about how you intend to do your filing and how you'd like to organise yourself. Chalkboards and desk organisers will help you stay on top of things. Once you know what you need, then you can start shopping for what you want. We recommend starting with one of these top 10 Country Living-approved interiors websites.
3. But remember that your workspace should also be an inspiring one
Whilst too much can cause your desk to look messy, a few choice items that truly inspire you are certainly a good thing. Postcards of places you love, a special painting, pictures of business women that inspire you, or even a mood board, will help get you in a creative frame of mind when you sit down to work. But be careful not to go overboard – remember this is your workspace and too much clutter will only clutter your mind.
"I have always tried to make my office as un-office like as possible. You would probably prefer to spend your time at home, so why not make it a bit like home? I had my desk made from recycled timber by local craftsmen. I use rugs and carpets, interesting paintings or photos and old furniture such as Georgian corner cupboards. Apple packing cases serve as book shelves and space-dividers." Alastair Sawday, founder of Sawday's
4. Divide and conquer
If you don't have a room to spare don't fret. Instead, try sectioning off part of a larger room and claiming it as your office space. This can be a quiet living room corner or dining room table. Use curtains, a screen or room divider to separate the space. If you're the creative type, you could make your own divider by attaching three panels of MDF together using hinges then decorating with stylish wallpaper. Alternatively you could buy one like the below (£145, Wayfair). The built-in shelves make it functional as well as beautiful.
5. Get outside!
Consider adapting your garage, garden shed or outdoor room into a workspace: Outdoor offices work really well as they give a great sense of separation and there are fewer distractions. being closer to nature may also inspire your craft. Follow our guide on how to take your shed from creak to chic and adapt it to your needs.
6. Go green
Studies suggest that we can make our workspaces happier and healthier through the power of nature. Viewing countryside scenes such as trees or water can reduce stress, anger and exhaustion while increasing levels of happiness, energy and cognitive function. Try popping an indoor herb garden or bonsai tree on your desk. Alternatively you could select a piece of wall art which depicts the natural environment.
7. Think in colour
Did you know that the colour blue is said to be the most soothing? A strong blue promotes clear thought while softer blues help calm the mind and aid concentration. Brighter colours, like yellow and orange, help spark creativity and energy. However, they can also foster nervousness.
Darker, more morose colours, may look stylish but are far less stimulating and may make you more tired and less inclined to work. Keep your space light and airy but consider painting one wall a bolder colour to keep your creativity flowing. Alternatively, consider painting your office space in a pale pastel shade, which will instantly make the whole area feel lighter and in turn boost productivity.
Follow our guide on how interior paint colours affect your mood.
8. Stand up
Sitting down too much isn't all that good for our bodies or our minds. If we start to slump physically, often our brains start to slump too. So why not stand up while you work? Standing up instead of sitting down will help energise and focus you as well as help to cure backaches and burn calories.
Desks like the below (£395, Varidesk) are perfect for at-home offices. They simply sit on top of your existing desk and allow you to stand up and sit down in intervals without having to move any of your things.
9. Let there be light
A well-lit room is essential to feel awake and ready for the day. Lighting can make all the difference when it comes to boosting creativity, as a dark space can leave you feeling tired and uninspired.
Try to ensure your office has access to plenty of natural daylight. Arrange plenty of mirrors around the room to reflect any natural light you do have and create the illusion of luminosity. If your desk faces a wall, try arranging it so that you have a window view instead - it will help to offer some respite from staring at the computer screen all day. If this isn't possible, try using a good natural light lamp like the Beurer TL100 2-in-1 Day/Mood Light, £150, John Lewis.
Loud, irritating noises are not what you want when you're trying to work. Ensure you situate your office in a quiet corner of the house and nowhere near that noisy washing machine.
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