Ben Esposito - RE/MAX Real Estate Center

Posted by Ben Esposito on 10/7/2018

Home is, first and foremost, a place of rest and relaxation. Itís where we come home to after a stressful day to be with our family, our pets, or our favorite books and television shows.

But sometimes, the home also has to double as a place of work. Whether you have a job that allows you to work from home, or you just need a quiet place to sit down to pay bills or do taxes, at some point your home will need to be a place where you can focus. Thatís where the home office comes in.

Designing and decorating a home office is different than the rest of your home. Youíll have to create a balance between being comfortable and but also uncluttered. You want to give it your personal touch, but at the same time avoid filling it up with distractions. Finally, youíll have to think about your personal requirements for a home office. Will it be used often enough to merit a dedicated room in your house? Or can your office items fit right into your bedroom, opening up space for things like childrenís play rooms and spare bedrooms.

The bare necessities

There are a few things that nearly all home offices will have in common. Weíre talking desks, organizers, office supplies, etc. However, itís easy to get carried away with file organizers or containers filled with 10 different sizes of multicolored paperclips. One of the benefits of cloud computing and paperless billing is that all of your important paperwork can usually now fit in one small folder.

So, before you start picking out organizers, go through your important papers and find out what you can shred and what needs to be saved. Tools like Google Drive allow you to scan documents right with your smartphone camera and store them safely and securely in the cloud. That means fewer papers and less money spent on organizers and staplers that will just clutter your desk.

What kind of worker are you?

A hard one, Iím sure--but what type of environment helps you be the most productive? Are you better off tucked away in a dark corner surrounded by pillows and blankets, or do you work best in a well-lit room sitting upright at a clear desk.

Before you start decorating and arranging furniture in your office, take into account your needs. Thereís no use spending money on a large wooden desk if you work better curled up on the couch.

If you fall asleep and lose focus in the dark, consider arranging your desk next to a window or even purchasing a UV light for rainy days or dark nights. These will help you stay refreshed and alert to tackle whatever tasks you have before you.

Use space wisely

If you have a lot of items to store, consider a desk with drawers or a cart that you can push out of the way. This will help you from letting your desk get overcrowded.

When it comes to furniture, shop modular. Space-saving furniture can make a world of difference in a home office, which tend to be one of the smaller rooms in your home. Cube bookcases that let you choose a size are excellent for home offices because you can buy only as many as you need. You can always add more cubes later on.

Similarly, desks can also be modular and adjustable. One great option for home offices is a wall-mounted fold up desk. This will allow you to open up the room when youíre not using the desk if your office doubles as a home fitness room.

Posted by Ben Esposito on 9/24/2017

It's easy to romanticize working from home. There's a sense of freedom that comes with telecommuting that's nearly impossible to fully duplicate while working at a corporate facility. As a starting benefit, when you work from home, you forego the morning and evening commute.

This benefit alone is enough to make setting up a home office worth it. Added freedom and lack of commuting costs and time could be behind the mystery of why some workers are more productive while working from home versus working at a corporate location.

Productivity doesn't increase for all home office workers

There are studies that show that people who work from home generate a greater work output than employees and consultants who work out of a corporate office or an industrial location. Yet, working from home isn't always a win.

In fact, there are instances when working from home may be a bad idea. Difficulty staying focused is a leading reason as to why working out of a home office may not be a good idea for everyone. For example, do you produce at the highest levels when someone is nearby to watch your activity or monitor your progress in person?

Should this be the case, you might be better off working at the company site. Other reasons why working out of a home office might be a bad idea include:

  • Insufficient funds to maintain telephone and remote connections
  • Young children who are present for more than half of the workday (and you are unable to afford daycare or a babysitter)
  • Unclear agreements between you and other family members (an example of this is when your spouse or relative continues to stop by expecting you to run errands because they aren't clear that you're actually working)
  • Poor computer technology (a slow computer or a slow computer connection could easily add 30 or more minutes to your work day)
  • Perceptions that working out of a home office means that you can conduct household errands, leave home and pay bills or watch television for as long as you want or whenever you want

Take a complete look at home office arrangements

Employers review work from home arrangements on an individual basis for good reason. Telecommuting or work from home arrangements can alter the chemistry of an entire team. Some team members may resent that they weren't approved for a telecommuting arrangement while you were approved.

This could cause team members to question how serious people working from home are about their careers and their contributions to the department that they are assigned to. Perhaps even more important than the perceptions that work from home arrangements create in other team members is the level of discipline that people working out of a home office possess.

If you're easily distracted, think twice before you enter a home office arrangement. Make sure that your home office is comfortable and filled with the right tools and resources. You may steer clear of questions from management if you stay active on your work computer throughout the day. Reason for  this is that managers could monitor your activeness by checking your IM or Outlook status.

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