(BPT) - One of the biggest mistakes businesspeople make is assuming that working from home will automatically result in a higher level of productivity. Unless you carefully construct your home office environment, you may find that working from home is less productive than you anticipated.
Staples, the world's largest office products company and a trusted source for office solutions, offers the following tips for setting up your home office to help maximize your productivity.
The ideal working environment
Home office setup is an exercise in knowing yourself. Before you make any decisions, make a list of the things you need to spur productivity. Some people can work at a desk in a common area of the house with the television running in the background. Others want a closed-door environment where distractions are minimized. For some people, a home office is a place to finish up work from a regular day job. For others, a home office is a primary workspace where they spend eight or more hours of the day. Before you start rearranging the furniture, decide what you need as an absolute minimum to encourage you to use the space as intended.
The right office furniture, equipment and supplies
Once you have decided whether you're going to segregate an area of the living room, convert a spare bedroom or set yourself up in the basement or garage, you should start thinking about home office furniture. The type of office furniture you pick and the way you organize your space will significantly impact your productivity.
Whatever your preferences are, investing money up front in the style of office furniture that makes you comfortable will naturally lead to greater productivity. At the very least, this ensures that you won't be tempted to relocate to the bedroom instead of working at your desk. Likewise, an upfront investment in office supplies and equipment will help you get your work done faster and avoid distractions.
The cost of outfitting a home office
A basic home office setup can cost you under $500 if you already have a computer that you can relocate to your new space. There are a number functional office furniture options that look expensive but are actually quite affordable, especially if you are willing to put the furniture together yourself. A printer and a phone with voicemail can round out a basic home office setup.
A more advanced home office setup would include a fax machine and a photocopier. Fortunately, there are 3-in-1 office machines that combine a printer, fax and copier all in one piece of equipment for under $300, saving you money and space. Keep in mind, however, that a machine that does many things often offers fewer features for each specific function. For example, if your work at home requires more than the occasional photocopy, it can be more efficient to buy a dedicated copy machine that has special functionality to handle a heavier workload.
Don't forget to set aside money in your home office budget for office supplies. From paper to paper clips, you will have to buy all of the little things that you took for granted when you worked for an employer. A home office is sometimes considered the holy grail for people who work. Who wouldn't want a comfortable home oasis where commuting is a foreign concept and the work just gets done? To achieve home office nirvana, make a plan that is specifically designed to meet your individual needs and choose the right home office furniture, equipment and supplies to make your plan a reality.