Six little things you definitely need in your home office

Working from home has a lot of benefits. You have complete control over your work environment. However, not everyone controls that environment very well. As great as it can be to work from home, it can also be risky. Your space needs quite a few things to function well as an office. Things that can help you maintain a healthy, comfortable working life and efficiency in tackling that work. Here, we’re going to look at a few little things that can help.

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Climate control

One of the most overlooked things that any home office needs is you control of the environment. Particularly relating to the air and temperature. A home office needs to be a room with a window, for example. Fresh air is important. Air quality contributes to keeping you from getting sick, for example. Being able to control the temperature is important, too. Whether it’s having any kinds of heating in the room or the kind of desk fans you can find here. After all, you’ll likely be working in there when in the heat of summer and the chill of winter. Don’t make it a highly uncomfortable experience on yourself.

Comfort

Comfort is not a word that’s synonymous with work, but you could account for it in your workspace, anyway. A chair that’s both supportive and comfortable is a must have. If you take breaks from the computer once in awhile, a separate space for relaxing is also a good idea. Something like a lazy boy or even a bean bag chair to give you a break from the usual working environment is important. If you don’t put a bit of effort into making your workspace more comfortable, you might grow to hate it.

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Snacks

You need some kind of snacks in your workspace. Hopefully something that’s not too sweet or junk-food like. Whether it’s to help you keep up the energy for a high pace of work or combat the urge to hunt the kitchen for something to eat. Similarly, it’s a good idea to get yourself a little tea or coffee making station, as well. A lot of us have need of a cup or three a day to keep us on an even keel. Save yourself the walk to the store by getting your own.

Movement

That said, you do need to get out of the chair once in awhile. It’s easy to set up a little working out station in the office. All you need are a few light dumbbells or a pull-up bar that goes in the door. It’s important to make sure you get a bit of movement even if you’re flat-out working, however. Height adjustable tables can be very helpful in that regard. Sitting all day is tremendously unhealthy so switch it up from time to time. Your legs, back and neck will all thank you for it.

Organisation

It’s not all about how comfortable you are as a person, of course. You should also be making changes to your workplace that makes it easier to organise your work. If your work relies on putting ideas together or tracking multiple things, it’s good to have a physical reminder of it as well as a digital one. Make yourself a little corkboard to pin your pages of notes and reminders to. It’s a lot less clutter than pushing papers around your desk. It’s also an efficient way of organising. You just need one look scanning over your board to see the basics of what you need to keep track of.

Security

You also want to make sure that your work is secure. Whether it’s from malicious or unintentional disruption. Make sure your network is secured and that you’re paying for a premium antivirus and antispyware software. Keeping your important documents in a physical safe is crucial, too. As for your computer, one of the risks it’s most susceptible to is electric surges. Not only will this knock it out, it can wipe it entirely. A surge protector will eliminate that risk for you. It’s likely the tool you need to make money, so keep it safe.

Making the best out of your home office is making sure it’s a space you can comfortably work in day-in, day-out. Part of that is maintaining your health while you’re there. Part is making it an environment that helps you work. Finally, give yourself a bit of comfort to take a break once in a while. If you have those nailed down, then you’re going to have a lot more success with it.

How you can add a personal touch to your office

home-officeYour office is where you’re going to be spending 40 hours of your week, slogging away at your desk to get all your work done. But it need not be a dreary set up; it’s so easy to add a personal touch to your office which can help with productivity, morale and general happiness. Here’s how to add a personal touch to your corner of the office and ensure you hit those deadlines in style:

A photo frame or two

Displaying your memories is the easiest way of adding a personal touch to your office. Whether it’s your wedding photo, a picture of your kids or a group shot with friends, having a personal image in an attractive frame on your desk will definitely add a personal touch.

Something homemade

If you have children, encourage them to get crafty and make you something to decorate your desk with. This could be something as simple as salt dough handprints, painted with their names on or something trickier, such as a ceramic pot to hold your pens in. Pick up some craft supplies and encourage them to use their imagination and create you something you can cherish forever.

 Get motivated

Do you have a saying you live by that motivates you to get out of bed and start working in the morning? Then look into having a print created featuring this motivational phrase. Sites such as etsy feature lots of sellers who can create attractive custom made prints for you, that you can then frame and hang in your office.

Bring in some colour

Colour will instantly brighten and rejuvenate an office space and can be introduced via cushions, stationery, coasters and wall prints. Choose items in your favourite colour to really add a personal touch.

 Add some plants

Whether you have a green or brown thumb, the right plant can add a real personal touch to your office. Choose succulents or air plants if you don’t fancy taking much time out to care for them or something simple like a peace lily that does require some watering every now and then but can be kept in dim environments. Here are some great plant options for your office space.

Light it up

If you don’t benefit from large windows in your office, then it might be time to add a personal touch (and some light) to your space, with either a lamp or some cute battery operated fairy lights that can be draped over shelves or around your monitor. Choose something that will reflect your personality; pom pom fairy lights or a lamp with an animal shaped base are perfect when it comes to adding some light and personality to your space.

Use a fancy calendar

Put the yoga cats calendar down and back away slowly. There are so many attractive and useful planners and calendars you can pick up now to add some personality to your office. Head to Paperchase or back to etsy again to pick up something fun and well laid out, which you can fill with all your planned events and birthdays that are taking place over the coming year.

Business Mums: This Could Solve Your Biggest Problems

home officeThe number one  problem for business mums has to be childcare. If you're running a business around a family, most childcare isn't  flexible enough to fit your working life.

Working from home isn't  as great as it might seem, either (unless your home office is like the one on the right…). You can miss connecting with other adults, you're stuck sitting in the trail of mess left by your children and you really wouldn't want to invite clients in to sit in it too!

photo: Jeremy Levine Design

If you live in South London help is at hand from May – and I hope it will extend to the rest of the country soon.  Let me introduce guest blogger Melissa Talago to tell you about Third Door and the  launch competition you can enter now:

Ever since I set up my own PR business almost 4 years ago, I have battled with one thing: Childcare. It has been a nightmare. When the kids were both still under 3, they went to nursery. But the nursery only had Mondays and Fridays available, the worst two days for me to get anything done in my industry. Plus if the kids were sick, they couldn't go and I was left once again not able to work. There were times when I had way too much work and needed extra childcare and other times when I didn't have enough work to justify having them in childcare, but couldn't risk losing my nursery place.

And did I mention the cost!! My pay used to go directly into my bank account and straight out again to the nursery. I should have just gotten my clients to pay the nursery direct and cut out the middle man!

I know I'm not alone in having these issues. Childcare for working parents – particularly those trying to freelance or set up their own business – is a nightmare. But now someone has at last had a brainwave. It is just such a good idea, that I absolutely had to work with them.

Take a look at Third Door – particularly if you're a parent living in SW London.

Shazia, a mum to a 2 year old and 4 month old (so imagine how much sleep she's getting!), decided that there had to be a better way of allowing parents to work remotely with flexible child care that suited them.

So she and her husband created Third Door, where you get flexible work space (a hot desk or meeting room) with on-site childcare (in an OFSTED registered creche) all done on a pay-as-you-go basis.

No more having to stick to certain days assigned to you by a nursery. No more having to pay for childcare that you can't use when your child is sick. No more mad rush to pick your child up from nursery after work – because they're just downstairs. No more wondering how your child is doing, because you can pop in and see them, perhaps have lunch with them. No more working on your own in your spare bedroom without any other adult company as you can network with like-minded parents in your area. No overheads of having your own office.

The benefits just go on and on. Like I said, a brilliant idea.

The company is launching in May in Wandsworth, just up the road from Cupcake Spa for those of you who know it. And to help celebrate its opening, Third Door is running a competition that I genuinely think will change somebody's life.

The prize includes:

  • 30 hours of free workspace and childcare
  • Third Door membership
  • a Business in a Box package that includes logo design, company name registration, business cards, letterhead and website creation
  • 3 hours of consultancy from experts in finance, legal, marketing, PR, technology, social media and business coaching
  • a laptop
  • a smartphone

Basically all the tools you need to start up your own business or enable you to work part-time, freelance or possibly build up a blog. Sometimes in fact, all you need to be able to change your life is some child-free time to think, a blank screen to tap ideas onto, a strong coffee and someone to talk to. If you win this prize, you can do exactly that!

So if you want to enter, go here. And please help spread the word about this to anyone who you think would benefit from it.

Melissa Talago is the owner of Peekaboo Communications

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