The complete home office checklist
Working from home can be a great way to beat the commute, save time, and enjoy work-life balance. Whether you’re self-employed or telecommute a couple of days a week, you’ll want your home office to be comfortable and supportive of productivity. This checklist for everything you need will come in handy if you’re setting up a new office from scratch or looking to upgrade an existing office.
Furniture and seating
Your office furniture is the key focal point as well as the core functional element of your home office. An adjustable desk and comfort seating are essentials.
- Desk and adjustable desk – Sit-stand desks are affordable and may be better for your health. You can choose an adjustable table or a sit-stand desk to go on top of your desk. Make sure your desk is big enough to allow for sufficient leg room as well as a footrest if you use one.
- Seating – No home office would be complete without a comfortable chair. Choose an office chair that offers ergonomic support. Make sure it’s the right size for you.
- Visitor seating – If you see clients in your home office, don’t forget to add a few extra chairs for these in-person visits. If you have a waiting room, a comfortable couch and coffee table will also be vital.
Shelving and storage
Avoid a cluttered desktop and surfaces by having enough shelving and storage. Depending on your work, you might need to have filing cabinets, bookshelves, and supply cabinets. Rather than picking out what you think you might need for shelving, review your paper files, stationery, and supplies to estimate requirements before you walk into the store.
Other storage items to consider include desktop options such as stackable storage for miscellaneous items like cards and pencils.
Good lighting improves the décor and mood of your home office space, It’s also essential for practical purposes: you need to be able to see without strain. Try different lighting options, and incorporate natural lighting by opening up the blinds during the day. You might use a combination of overhead lights and desktop lamps to get your lighting right. Consider screen glare when setting up your lighting.
Power and charging
Organise your power and charging accessories so you’re not at risk of tripping over them. Use cord organisers to affix them to the edges of your room, for example. You’ll want to ensure you have plenty of outlets to power up everything from your computer to printers, so get an extension cord with multiple outlets if you don’t have enough in your office.
A surge protector helps protect your electronic equipment against power surges. You can find surge protectors in-built to outlet multipliers, and you can even find them with USB ports to make charging your devices easy.
If you must have uninterrupted power, consider getting an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). This gives you power for a fixed period of time in the event of a blackout.
IT and communications
Get productive and connected with the right IT equipment and communications setup.
- Computer – A computer is essential for any home office. Make sure the screen is large enough so you’re not having to zoom in for intricate work. If you work with multiple documents, two screens can boost your productivity by making it easier to switch between documents quickly. Use a monitor stand to ensure your screen is at the right level (at eye level or lower).
- Notebook – You might need to have a notebook along with your desktop for working on the run. Alternatively, you might prefer using a notebook as your main computer.
- Keyboard – Use an ergonomic keyboard to boost comfort. Other options for keyboards include mechanical keyboards, which tend to be more expensive but durable and comfortable to type on.
- Mouse – Computer mice come in a range of sizes and shapes, so find one that’s right for your hand size.
- Printer – A multifunction printer with copying and scanning capabilities will probably be sufficient for all your paper-based work.
- Telephone – Whether you use a VoIP or traditional landline phone, your phone should be compatible with your computer or landline setup. Make sure it supports the features you want, such as call waiting, conferencing, and loudspeaker.
- Router – A stable internet connection is vital for working from home. Ensure you get a reliable connection by having the right router. Check with your ISP for recommended models, so you can achieve maximum speeds.
Stationery and supplies
Your stationery requirements might be minimal, but if you do some paper-based work, you’ll need to fill up on supplies.
- Paper – Stock up with paper for printing out forms, client files, and other documents. You might also need paper for photocopying document.
- File folders – If you keep paper files, file folders, along with labels, will come in handy.
- Other stationery – Stock up with items such as pencils, pens, scissors, binders, and notebooks.
Adding some aesthetic elements to your home office can make it more appealing while helping boost ambiance.
- Artworks and photos – Add a personal touch to your home office with artwork, framed photos, and paintings.
- Pot plants – You might like to add some indoor plants for visual appeal and to boost air quality.
- Rugs and tapestries – A colourful rug on the floor or an attractive tapestry on the wall can add some colour to an otherwise sterile environment.
Setting up a productive home office is about your needs and personal preferences. Having comfortable furniture is vital, along with getting set up with the right IT infrastructure and fast broadband. Adding personal touches like artwork and pot plants can help you achieve the mood and ambiance you want.
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