Ideally, you would want your work at home office to be a separate room dedicated just to your work or business. Few of us have that option, though. Therefore, we resort to finding a space within our home that we attempt to set aside just for working.
Read on for a few things you should consider when choosing your work at home office space.
Shhhh! Be quiet!
A majority of jobs currently available to remote workers involve customer service. And most of those customer service jobs involve phone support.
Work-at-home phone support jobs usually require employees to have a quiet, dedicated, and distraction-free area from which their work will be performed. Listings for these types of jobs rarely state that a potential candidate must dedicate an entire room as a workspace. However, you should designate a specific area within your home for the time you spend working. That means you can choose to take calls from a corner in your living room, as long as you are able to maintain a quiet background within your living room. That means callers should not be able to hear your children, pets, spouse or neighbors from that corner.
So the first thing to consider when choosing a space for your work at home office is the ability to keep that area quiet and free of distractions.
Secondly, decide how much space you will need for your office. Do you only need enough room for a desk and chair? Or will you need room for additional storage? If you’re running a business, you will likely need more surface space than a desk can provide.
Also, make sure to consider how much space you will need for all of your office equipment. The average desk is big enough for a laptop or desktop computer. However, if you need multiple monitors or a phone or printer, you will quickly run out of room for writing or your important office supplies. Also, it is never too soon to consider if you will have room to expand if your job or home business requires you to.
Plug it in
Third on your list of considerations is the availability of electrical outlets to power your equipment. While you may find a convenient corner to place your desk, you may find that the nearest outlet is too far for your computer’s power cord to reach. Because I live in an older home, I experienced this issue when setting up my home office.
Additionally, if you have multiple electronic devices that need to be powered, such as a monitor or printer or your router, you may need multiple outlets for everything. Again, I have experienced this issue as well. I learned to be very creative with power strips, which are the cheapest way to deal with too few power outlets.
One more important consideration in choosing where to set up your work at home office is internet availability. If you set up your office in the quiet corner in your dining room, will you have a strong enough WiFi signal to do your job? Will you need to consider moving y our desk closer to your router? Or do you have the option of moving your router closer to your desk?
Many remote jobs want their workers to be hardwired to their routers so that they can maintain a strong and consistent signal at all times. Such a requirement further complicates the matter of choosing a space for your home office. However, purchasing an Ethernet cable long enough to reach between your router and computer will easily solve that issue.
Potential Spaces that can be used as your Work at Home Office
Home office or study
Perhaps you are lucky enough to live in a home that was designed with a home office or study. If so, that’s great! If it is not already in use (or even if it is), you can set it up to serve as your dedicated, distraction-free space for earning income or running your business.
The most ideal space for a work at home office is a room in your home that is not currently used or occupied by another person living there. So if you have an extra bedroom, it would be a great home office. The extra bedroom option works even better if the room has a door that can be closed, does not share a wall with the heating or air conditioning unit, and is not too close to the street so that you can avoid outside noise from traffic and neighbors.
The next best option for a work at home space is your personal bedroom, especially if you are the only occupant of your bedroom. Even if you share your bedroom with someone else, as long as the other person is willing to clear out while you’re working, you can easily maintain a work at home office in there. Essentially, you may only need enough space for a desk and chair and the ability to close the door when you are working.
Living room, Den or Family room
I group the living room, den, and family together under the same heading because they are all common areas within the home. All of these rooms are shared with others within your household. Because others will need to use these rooms at some point during an average day, they are not ideal areas to set up a work at home space.
However, if you are able to get the other people in your household to respect your designated work time and space or if you live alone, these areas could work. As I stated above, essentially you may only need enough space for a desk and chair.
Dining room or Kitchen
Of the rooms within your home, the dining room and/or kitchen are the least ideal areas for setting up a home office. Like the living room, den, and family room discussed above, these are common areas shared by all household members at numerous and differing times during the average day.
Closet or utility room
If you are not claustrophobic (uncomfortable in small, enclosed spaces) a walk-in or large closet or a reasonably-sized utility room in your home would be a good space for your work at home office.
Detached building (not a garage)
Do you have a guest house or shed or anything that is a separate building from your home on your property? If it receives electricity and WiFi, it could be a great home office.
Room or Space at a Family member’s or friend’s or neighbor’s Home
Do you have a family member or neighbor that has an extra room that you could use as an office? While this option may seem a bit far-fetched, I have had a few co-workers who have used their family members’ homes while working when they lost power or the internet in their own homes.
Renting a space for remote work seems to defeat the purpose and benefits of working at home. However, you may have a job that makes this option and cost viable for you or perhaps the business you started is just too big an operation to run from your home.
Of all of the suggestions on this list, the absolute least ideal place to perform a work at home job is within any public place like public libraries or coffee shops. While there are many remote positions that do not require working on the phone, making a noisy background a non-issue, a public space is, by definition, not distraction-free. More importantly, the internet connection available in a public space lacks the level of security needed for accessing your company’s databases and files.
Choosing your work at home space for a customer service phone support job is primarily about ensuring that background noise will not interfere with your ability to work. If you live with one or more people or pets, having a room or workspace where the door can be closed would be ideal to block out background noise and/or indicate to others that you are working.
Common areas like your living room, den or kitchen are much less ideal but can work if you live alone or are able to get others in your household to respect your job’s requirement for no background noise.
If none of those options are available to you, even squeezing into your walk-in closet using the extra bedroom in a family member’s home could provide you the solitude you may need.
Working at home has wonderful benefits. Making the effort to carve out a spot in your home to take advantage of the peace and freedom a remote job provides you is well worth the work.
Where is your office located in your home? Is it time to relocate? Can you think of any other alternatives for setting up a work at home space? Let me know in the comments below.