ASK US WEDNESDAY: “Suggestions for setting up a home office?”

by Leo Wiles
10 January 2018

I’m kicking off 2018 in the freelance world rather than going to an office and I’m in the process of revamping a space for my home office. What are the must-haves? Callie

I’ve set up a few home offices in my time, so I like to think I know a thing or two about creating a space that’s functional, beautiful and that you actually can be productive in. I’m not a huge fan of things like printers (I know Rach is), but I do think my suggestions below can make for a great space to work in.

The right gear. Swapping your kitchen table for a proper chair and desk ensemble can end back pain and tingly legs (trust me). Or, you might want to consider a stand-up desk to really shake things up.  If you think you’re being extravagant, remember that, like a good mattress, it’s actually an investment in your future health.

A sturdy plant. So, you may have noticed vertical wall gardens are the new big thing in interior design. That’s not to say you should run out and plant your own hanging garden of Babylon in your home office (hey, I’m not that high maintenance), but a medium-sized house plant can do wonders when it comes to purifying the air and warding off Sick Building Syndrome, according to a University of Technology study. There’s also something lovely and calming about having plants where you work.

Functional light. For an immediate mood enhancer, it goes without saying that you should harness the available sunlight by washing windows and drapes. Indoors, adjust your computer screens brightness display to reduce eyestrain and fatigue, and swap your desk lamp for one with a gooseneck for task lighting. You also want to make sure the bulbs are around 3-6,000 lumens for optimum use.

Less ‘stuff’. The books you’ve reviewed no long need pole position – nor does your 2016, 2017 diary or wall calendar (although, shameless plug ahead, we do think our 2018 writer’s calendar could be a nice addition to any workspace!).  It’s time to bin or archive stuff you no longer need, along with all the other out-of-date superfluous things that have crept in to your study. De-cluttering is not only cathartic, it’ll also make room for all the new ideas and clients you’ll have in the coming year.

A decent scent. If you’re going to burn the midnight oil, consider a little lemongrass oil in your diffuser.  It can increase your energy levels by strengthening you immune system, boosting your mood and even decreasing headaches, according to my naturopath.

A clean computer and workstation. Naturally a good spring clean of your desk and floors is ideal for starting fresh in a workspace, but you should extend this to your virtual desktops too. File finished projects and client work in email and your hard disk, sort out a two-part back-up system (in the cloud and an external hard drive), ensure all your software is up to date and do a mass delete of old or redundant emails, newsletters you no longer read and files you no longer need.

An office mascot. Okay, so not everyone will agree with me, but I’m a huge fan of companion animals. A dog underfoot, a cat on your lap or a goldfish on top of the desk can ward off the isolation many of us feel working home alone. Pets you can walk also force you to get off your bum and get some exercise!

What cool office additions are you planning to make 2018 the best year ever? Or is there something you have in your home office that you’d be lost without? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Leo Wiles

Leo Wiles has worked as an editor, journalist and PR for over 20 years before recently retraining as a photographer. These days, she spends her time behind a lens, juggling her own clients with her work at Rachel's List, and her three gorgeous but lively kids.

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