Whether you telecommute as a full-time employee, operate your own business from home or engage in creative hobbies like web design, writing or painting at home, make sure that you build out your home office the right way. After all, you could easily spend 20 to 40 or more hours a week in your home office. Lack one key component and you could find yourself struggling to focus on your work.

Lighten up your day

Choose a room in your house that has at least one large window for your home office. Install quality fluorescent or LED lights. Hang light weight blinds at the window, instead of heavy drapes, to allow plenty of natural light to stream into your office. You’ll see better and feel better too.

Home office ergonomics

Go for an adjustable chair and a desk with a pull-out keyboard tray. While you’re shopping for home office furniture, check to see that the chair you plan on buying is comfortable and aligns well with the desk that you want. Proper desk and chair heights could help you to avoid back and neck discomfort, especially on days when you log lots of hours.

Backup computer resources

You won’t have to worry about this if your employer gives you an office computer or laptop. But, if you’re an independent contractor or entrepreneur who works from home, you’ll want access to a backup computer should your regular PC go on the blink. A tablet with office software applications, an extra laptop or a low cost desktop can do the trick.

Easy filing space

There may be times when you need to keep printed documents. For example, you might need to keep printed receipts for tax purposes and printed copies of signed client contracts. Expandable file folders save space. Metal six foot tall filing cabinets can be placed behind your home office door. Another option is to store paper documents in plastic storage bins. The best option depends on how long you need to keep the documents and the volume of printed materials you’ll keep.

Great Wi-Fi

You’ll get more done faster if you have great Wi-Fi. Internet and computer download speeds should be fast enough to not cause you to have to wait several seconds or a minute or longer before a web page pops up or a Word document opens. As a tip, you can speed up download times by deleting unnecessary files, removing unused and unneeded applications off your computer, turning off pop-up ads, installing good Internet security and anti-virus software and keeping your computer battery in good condition.

Spice up your home office

Place a few plants in your home office to spruce up the space. Family pictures, posters with motivational quotes on them and artistic gadgets and knick knacks also work well.

Eliminate distractions to stay engaged in your work. Avoid checking email throughout the day, answering your cell phone and watching television. Try it and see if your production doesn’t improve.

As a homeowner, you’re constantly faced with a variety of spending decisions, many of which could improve the quality of your life or just put a strain on your budget. The challenge is to monitor your cash flow, anticipate your family’s needs, and avoid spending more than you can afford. There’s a goal that’s much easier said than done!

Although managing one’s budget is based on personal priorities and financial resources, it’s often useful to consider feedback and perspectives from other homeowners. The following thoughts are based on the experiences of one such homeowner.

  • Tool sheds are not an absolute necessity for most people, but they can be extremely helpful in protecting your yard equipment and keeping your property looking neat. If you own a riding mower, for example, there may not be space in your garage to store it. For those who own a backyard swimming pool, a shed can be very useful for storing pool chemicals, maintenance equipment, and pool toys. While a tool shed can set you back a few hundred dollars or more, getting one on your property will make your yard look nicer and keep your tools, chemicals, and machinery in a safer, more secure place.
  • Many people are aware that a basement dehumidifier can remove excess moisture and help prevent the growth of mold. This is especially important if you’re storing anything of value in your basement, such as old books, important documents, clothing, framed art, or collectables. Since basement humidifiers vary in price from a couple hundred dollars to well over $1,000, some homeowners postpone buying them. However, when you factor in the potential cost of mold remediation and having to throw away belongings that get damaged by moisture and mold, the cost is much more justifiable. If you’re fortunate enough to have a dry basement with a humidity level of less than 50%, then a dehumidifier may be an unnecessary purchase. If you want to be sure, though, you can buy a cheap humidity gauge for $10 or $20 — either online or at a local hardware store.
  • A ceiling fan may seem like a frivolous expense for a screened in porch, but you’ll be mighty glad you have one on hot, humid days! You might think that large window screens would provide ample circulation for an outdoor porch, but unless there’s a breeze — either natural or man made — then that hot air will often just sit there and linger, much like a guest who has overstayed their welcome! A ceiling fan can pull that uncomfortable air away from you and stir up some much-needed circulation. Ceiling fans, which typically cost between $100 and $200 (plus installation) — create both the look and feel of a cool, breezy environment. They also help reduce air conditioning costs inside your home.

Since everyone’s personal needs, budgets, and lifestyles are different, there are a lot of factors that come into play when deciding whether to purchase (or postpone) any of these three items. Hopefully, this blog post has provided you with some helpful insights on making those decisions!

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