Set Up Your Home Office

for Maximum Efficiency

If your home office is set up so that you must get up every few minutes to get a copy out of your printer, send a fax, or get a necessary book from the bookcase, then your home office is not set up for maximum efficiency, and is likely breaking your flow of concentration, thus reducing the amount of work you accomplish. While working from home can offer comfort, efficiency and ease, if your office is too casual or isn't effectively separated from the remainder of your home, peak productivity is likely lost. It is absolutely imperative that your family members understand that your office is off limits to interruptions if you want to be a success in your field.

Separate Your Office

Although your office doesn't need to be large or expensive, if you use it daily for work, it does need to be separated in some way from the rest of the house. Trying to work in a space where the television is blaring, the kids are coming and going, and your husband is asking you questions is just not effective, or even possible for most people. Once you've chosen your space, arrange your furniture for maximum efficiency, placing printers and fax machines within easy reach of your computer. Try to keep all of your work items within your work space so you can easily find things and can be efficient within your space. If you ensure your work items stay within your work space, then when you are not working you can relax in your home space without seeing work.

Establish Hours

It can be really helpful to establish specific work hours for your home office. This allows you to be fully at work when you work, and at home when you are not within your "work hours." Having set work hours lets you actually be more productive-organize your day so that work is work and home life is home life. If you have an outline of sorts for your day, then you know which hours are spent in your office and your productivity increases significantly.

Five Most Common Mistakes

When people set up their home offices, there are five very typical mistakes they make which include:

· Thinking you can tune out the television, the kids, your husband, etc.

· Inadequate storage

· Lack of space for reference materials and books

· Slow or inefficient equipment

· Inadequate wire management-cords and wires everywhere

These mistakes can be alleviated through the use of solid bookcases placed close to your work space, no noise distractions in your office (a door with a "no interruptions" sign is best), new, up-to-date equipment, and wire management for cords and wires.

To Think About....

Speed and efficiency are critical in your home office; invest in the fastest equipment available so you don't spend precious time waiting, and think about a wireless router so you can work on your laptop from your desk or a chair and table. Consider a separate phone line so that clients don't get a busy signal when your teenager is tying up the home line. Ensure your office has good lighting-ideally as much natural daylight as possible. If there is no natural lighting available, then task lighting will be required for daytime, and will be required for night lighting and cloudy days in any case. To avoid glare, don't place lighting directly above computer screens. The new energy guidelines suggest reduced-light levels in offices as it is much easier on your eyes. Working at home can be a blessing and a curse, so make sure your home office is designed with the future in mind, and make sure your family is aware of the boundaries placed between home and your work.