August 6, 2013


home officeWorking from a home office is not the same as working at home.
If you have an office office, you could easily spend some time working from home too. The photo shows a cramped setup that might be usable for short periods

Working from a home office means working primarily from the office located in your home. I've been working from my home office for over 3 years. We’ll explore three keys for long term success.

1. Equip

The key word in “home office” is office. An office is a place you work. An office is equipped with the right tools for you to get results. These tools might include:
  • an office-grade chair
  • full-spectrum lighting (ideally daylight)
  • a business-grade computer with an external keyboard and external monitor
  • a computer table with a keyboard tray with an adjustable height
  • a business-grade printer/scanner
  • reliable, fast Internet
  • a desk or table
  • filing space
Does your office look like an office? Sitting in the corner of the basement is less than ideal if you have options. A separate room is ideal for privacy and to separate your work and home lives.

Maybe you have no visitors. That doesn't matter. Your physical surroundings affect your  mindset, productivity and results. Even colours make a difference. It’s easy to scrimp on your setup. If you had an outside office, what would you pay in rent? Maybe you can use a portion of that money to equip your home office in stages.

I'm lucky. In the mid 1990s, I had a 20’x20’ office with solid oak furniture and chairs finished in the fabric of my choice. When the company switched to open concept in grey/beige, I bought my furniture.

2. Work

You go to an office to work. You’re in the right frame of mind and dressed appropriately. If you wouldn’t go to an outside office in your pyjamas, why go to your home office that way? At least dress well enough for a video conference call.

You're at your office to work. so work. With no one to monitor you, you might not be accountable. You can bring in discipline by having rules (e.g. no personal tasks except during breaks), a schedule (e.g., slots for checking email) and using time tracking tools.

3. Go Home

When you're done working at an outside office, you go home. The travel creates a buffer. You lose that when when your office is at home. How do you stop working? This may be your biggest challenge — especially if you enjoy what you’re doing.

There’s no place like home if you can’t stop working. You don’t what your home office to become your office with a kitchen, shower and bed.


PS If the patio beckons, maybe you wait until your lunch break?

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