Updated: Aug 27, 2020
As a freelancer or contractor, sometimes your "office" is wherever your laptop can find a lap. This flexibility is a big part of why so many people love working outside a typical corporate structure.
It's also important to create a quiet spot at home dedicated to your craft. A thoughtfully designed home office can give you more privacy and more space, free from distractions at your local coffee shop.
When you're ready to plan your home office space, focus on these five areas first.
"Staying organized" is a concept that varies by individual. We all have our own work styles, and what looks like an organization to one person might seem like chaos to another. Worry less about matching your organizational style to one that looks appealing on a webpage or magazine page and more about what works best for you as an individual.
Having an organized home offices means you:
Can find what you need when you need it. This applies to both physical and digital files.
Have a system for prioritizing tasks. Again, either a physical or web-based calendar can work well.
Have all the tools you need to do your work. Before you begin your workday, check that you have everything you need at hand (pens, paper, laptop, mobile or landline phone, headset, and so on). If you need to log in to a remote system or another service, do that right away—you don't want to deal with tech issues when you're busier later in the day.
Invest in a quality chair. You'll be sitting in the same spot for hours each day, so be kind to your back! Try out chairs in person and look for one with sufficient lumbar support that's the right size for your body. Shorter and taller people, in particular, will likely find that some chair styles are more comfortable than others.
Be sure your desk is at the right height. If you have to slouch or stretch to reach your keyboard all day, you'll feel it in all the wrong places. Take time to get your chair positioned so that your forearms are parallel to the floor or close to it when you type.
Let in the light. One of many advantages of working from home is the ability to take advantage of natural light, far from the glare of fluorescent bulbs and windowless cubicles. Consider ambient light, as well. A well-positioned desk or floor lamp can add warmth and help reduce eyestrain.
Block out the sound. Background noise is a potential distraction for home-based workers. Whether it's other people in the house, noisy dogs, lawnmowers, or the sounds of your city outside the window, noise can be a problem. If at all possible, set up your office in a private area of your home, with a door.
Consider adding white noise through a dedicated machine or a streaming service over headphones. A phone headset can help block background sounds when you're on the phone, too, on both sides of the call.
Put a personal spin on your workspace. Fill your space with family photos, some greenery, or maybe even an essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy benefits. Personal touches can help you focus, relax, and be more productive.
Home Office Tax Benefits
Did you know that many home office expenses qualify for tax deductions? Contractors and freelancers, especially, can often write off portions of utility bills, office supply costs, and a long list of other home office tools. Lunafi makes it easy to keep track of hidden office deductions you might be missing.