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The five most important aspects of any home office

By Matthew Ferraro

As technology advances, remote working is becoming a fact of life. With that in mind, we look at five aspects to focus on when setting up a functional home office.

One in three Australians now regularly works from home, according to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. As more workplaces embrace the idea of remote work, that number will only increase.

That means having a functional and comfortable workspace at home may soon become essential. To that end and to help remote workers be more productive, we’ve picked out five essential aspects to focus on when setting up your home office.

1. SEPARATION 

If you don’t create separation between your office and the rest of your home, your work will follow you everywhere. After 5pm and on weekends you’ll still feel like you’re on the clock, which is terrible for your work-life-balance and can lead to problems with stress and relaxing.

To that end, your home office must be in a room that can be shut off outside of work hours. Keep distractions like TV and magazines out of the space and if possible make your office a distinct room, so that you can separate work from play mentally. Do everything you can to maintain that boundary.

2. LAYOUT

Organisation is the foundation on which efficiency is built. That’s why your home office should be well laid out so that it’s a space in which you can stay focused and access everything you need to work.

Ensure that the things you use everyday are at your fingertips and feature prominently in the room. Remove distractions and put items that you’ll only need occasionally out of sight but within reach. Simplicity and minimalism will help your mind remain clear and focused on the task at hand.

3. EQUIPMENT

The old saying ‘a bad workman blames his tools’ misses the mark. The truth of the matter is a bad workman has bad tools, so you must ensure that you have the equipment necessary to get the job done efficiently and effectively in your home office.

If possible, invest in a setup that’s similar or better than what you have at work. If your equipment’s up to the task, you may find that thanks to decreased distractions and increased focus you’re able to get far more work done at home.

4. PRIVACY

Professor Robert Kelly, an associate professor of international relations recently gave his expert opinion on CNN News regarding a dire political crisis in South Korea. He broadcasted direct from his home office becoming a viral internet sensation when his two children loudly burst into the room on live television.

The point is that there’s so much that can distract you when you’re working from home. Whether it’s curious kids, rowdy flatmates or noisy neighbours, you must be able to shut yourself off so that you can work distraction-free. That may mean dropping the kids off at daycare before work, or simply locking the door and letting your flatmates know you don’t want to be disturbed.

5. LIGHTING

The lighting in a room can affect your mood and productivity more than you might think. For that reason, when setting up a home office you should choose a room that gets as much sunlight as possible.

You should also make sure that the lighting in the room is bright and even so that your eyes never strain when reading or looking at a computer screen later at night.

Pay close attention to these five aspects when setting up your home office and the results will speak for themselves. When that happens your employers are likely to keep coming around to the idea of remote work – and you’ll enjoy better job flexibility as a result.

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