Successful entrepreneurs put some thought into designing and setting up their home office. That’s because the right workstation keeps you motivated and more productive.
The wrong workspace is terrible for your body, mind, and bottom line. You probably already have or know about the standard items: computer, desk, and a fast internet connection. But other lesser-known things are just as important.
When you have all the right items in your home office, you can transform it into an uber-productive, inviting workspace. Without them, you’ll likely to end up with a soul-crushing, time-wasting cave.
So, get out your Office Depot list and check these essential things every entrepreneur needs for their home office.
Essentials for a Productive Home Office
1. Clean, Inviting, Healthy Environment
Your home office isn’t just the “spare room.” It’s a vital part of your success. Treat it that way and create a stimulating and inviting ambiance that supports your well-being and reflects you.
Keep your home office clean and tidy always and add some greenery. Studies show the benefits of plants within the workplace include boosting creativity, mood, and productivity. Colors other than green are beneficial too.
Hang a few pieces of artwork that burst with blues, reds, and yellows to boost mood and creativity. Swap your art out for other pieces when things get boring.
You can also engage your sense of smell with essential oils. Smells have a profound effect on our mood and physical well-being as well. The right smells from herbs and essential oils in the workplace can even improve your immune system and lower your blood pressure.
Moreover, consider installing a humidifier for your home office If you haven't installed one yet. Though they are often overlooked, but humidifiers are essential for your home’s health. Humidifiers help the body’s immune system and guard against irritants. Proper moisture levels can also combat muscle and joint pain, as well as making sinus pain and irritation a thing of the past.
2. Smart Home Tech
Smart technology not only saves you time by automating small tasks, but it can also help reduce your monthly energy costs. And with a home business, you can expect your utility bills to rise.
Your computer, monitors, and coffee mug warmer not only use more electricity, but they also produce more heat. That's added warmth you’ll need to cool down during the summer months.
Today’s smart thermostats monitor your cooling schedule and learn what temperatures you prefer. Then they adjust their settings to save you energy. Some models come with remote sensors that can adjust your cooling based on specific rooms of your house. That's a helpful feature for keeping a home office area comfortable.
And you can change your smart thermostat via an app on your phone. Here are some more cost-saving smart tech ideas for home-based offices.
- Smart lighting
- Smart power strips
- Smart plugs
- Wi-Fi Controlled Ceiling Fans
3. Good Lighting
The right lighting increases your productivity and boosts your mood. Workplace studies show that optimized natural lighting improves health and wellness. It also decreases eyestrain, headaches, and drowsiness in workers.
Position your main workspace near a natural light source like a window or sliding glass door. To avoid glare, place your monitors at a 90° angle to the source or use an anti-glare filter.
Next, add some blue artificial lighting via a small desk or floor lamp. Use daylight LED bulbs rated at around 5,000k. These blue colored lights emit daytime light wavelengths, keeping your circadian rhythm on track. And they’re energy-efficient too!
4. Wireless Headphones
Wireless headphones are an all-purpose tool for home offices. You can take a client’s call and stay hands-free. Or jam out to your favorite Spotify playlist without tripping over chords.
With Bluetooth earbuds, you can listen to music, while staying alerted to incoming calls. Noise-canceling wireless headphones eliminate the aural chaos of busy households or next door construction.
And don’t skimp on quality. Look for headphones with a long battery life, sturdy construction, and long-range Wi-Fi connection.
You need a UPS. No, not the package carrier — an “uninterruptible power supply.” These heavy-duty power strips keep your computer and monitor working during an outage.
If you’re in the middle of uploading important documents, a power cut means you’re leaving your client hanging. And a sudden power outage may wipe out unsaved documents and hours of work.
Some UPS models come with surge protection too. They save your computers, monitors, and modems from sharp fluctuations in power that can fry their circuits.
You can spend anywhere from $45 to $350 on a UPS, depending on your needs. But they’re definitely cheaper than buying a new computer or losing a client.
6. Cloud-Based Data Backup
External hard drives and paper copies are effective ways to backup your data, but they’re not enough protection. Too many threats to physical backups exist to rely on them alone. Home floods, theft, or hard drive crashes can ruin more than your day. They can cost you clients.
Use free services like Google Drive (15Gs of space) to store docs and pics. Or if you use cloud-based software like Microsoft Office 365, use your 1TB OneDrive for easy data syncing and storage.
7. Time Tracker
Your time is your money. If you’re a freelance or contract worker, you need to track your project hours to know if you’re charging too little or over-delivering.
Tracking your time doesn’t take much effort. If you prefer an analog approach, pick up a digital timer for a few bucks. Or try a free time tracking app like Toggl that works in your browser and syncs between devices.
Timers keep you efficient, but they also help you combat a common workplace problem — working too much. Use a timer to set intermittent break periods and hard stops at the end of the day.
As every entrepreneur knows, building and scaling a business is not a simple task. Creating an environment where you can succeed can therefore make all the difference, not only for your bottom line, but also for your well-being.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to building the home office that boosts productivity and helps you achieve your goals.