(StatePoint) Thanks to modern technology, more Americans are able to work from home than ever before. According to the latest American Time Use Survey, 24 percent of employed persons do some or all of their work at home.
If you’re joining their ranks — whether full-time or part-time — there are several things you should know about working efficiently and effectively from home.
Make it Comfortable
Whether you plow through a full day’s work in one sitting, or take breaks throughout the day to attend to household business, you’re going to be spending large chunks of time in your home office so you’ll want it to be as comfortable as possible.
From furniture to computer related hardware, opt for ergonomic products that prevent stress-related injury.
Ensure your space gets plenty of light, ideally natural. And because it’s entirely yours, don’t forget to decorate! However, if you plan to receive clients or business associates, keep it professional.
Make it Functional
To prevent distraction, a room with a door that closes is ideal. If that’s not possible, set your home workspace as far apart from the bustle of other household activities as possible. Steer clear of televisions, chatty household members and the siren call of the refrigerator.
Your space may be limited, but you can create storage space out of thin air. Shelves that mount to the wall will free up the floor, and keyboards that open up to create a supply storage space, will eliminate clutter on your desk.
If you’re a one-man or one-woman band, you’ll especially want to invest in new technologies that will help you stay organized.
If you’re constantly monitoring your email — and who isn’t these days? — consider a telephone that connects to a PC, allowing you to consolidate your communications in one place. For example, the Contact Sync feature from Panasonic’s KX-TG9470 phone series allows for incoming calls to trigger a pop-up contact in Microsoft Outlook, making caller information and notes from previous calls readily available at a user’s fingertips. Users can also make outgoing calls directly from their computer through their Outlook address book. More information can be found at http://shop.panasonic.com .
Consider backing up your files digitally for easy searching. Electronic filing systems can be safe and secure, and will survive unforeseen catastrophes.
Even if you’re only in your home office one day a week, the way you set up your space matters. To do good work, you need your workspace and equipment to work for you.