While some people have the luxury of an extra room in their
home where they can create an office, others will likely
need to use a corner of the living room or other room to
work in. The important part is whatever space you have to
work with, that you create an organized and clean
environment for yourself.
This means to remove everything else from the immediate area
that is not related to business. (Coffee cups are excluded
from this rule). Put all your papers and bills, newspapers,
etc. that are not related to your business away somewhere –
even if you have to find a cardboard box to put them in.
A certain, at least minimal amount of organization can
really help you. The idea to be clean and clear in that area
where you work is so that you are better able to focus only
on the task(s) at hand. You do need to treat your home
business just like a job in most respects. That means
setting parameters. Treat it like a commitment even if the
only one you are accountable to is yourself.
Although much of your information that you need to keep
track of will be digital, you should think in terms of a
business and have an organized filing system. That just
means creating folders or labels in your email account where
you can save important login information, links, etc. in a
place where you can readily access them. It is also a good
idea to have a hard copy back up in place for important
things like your usernames and passwords – ‘just in case’
of a computer meltdown, it will help you to recover if you
have something tangible to refer to. Also, add
‘favorites’ where you save your frequently visited links
Because you will likely be spending many hours at your PC, a
very important consideration is ergonomic. You need a
decent chair that supports your back, and a footstool to
make the pressure on your lower back less – even if you have
to use the phonebook for this purpose.
You need decent lighting – not too dim and not to bright.
Your monitor should be at eye level – not above and not
below, straight ahead. Ideally your keyboard and mouse
should be level with your wrists and elbows, again, straight
in a line, not above or below. These things will reduce the
strain on your body and allow you to focus on the work
without feeling tired or uncomfortable. (No excuse to
‘knock off’ early!)
One of the beautiful things about working from home is you
can take breaks whenever you want to – and even if you
don’t want to, you should take breaks frequently. Your
brain, your eyes, your back and arms are only human. They
can only absorb so much at a time. You will really be much
more efficient and retain information better, if you allow
yourself time to rest. At least every hour or so, get up
and stretch – focus your eyes on something as far away as
you can see – or even close them for 5 minutes. Don’t feel
like you are slacking – it is a proven fact that people that
take ‘cat naps’ are more efficient.
There are many ads about working in your pajamas and etc.
and in fact you can work any time when you work at home.
However, it is still a good idea to get up and get dressed –
it is just psychological. After a while of nothing but
sweat suits or pajamas, it can get depressing. Of course
wear something comfortable and shoes are optional!