You’ve come up with a great idea for a startup. Maybe you’ve even taken a few steps to get it up and running and things are going well. You know what that means, right? It means that soon this project is going to transition from being a hobby and into being a full time job. And before that happens, you’re going to need to have your base of operations all set up. No more working from the couch in your pajamas, no matter how comfy those pjs are!
If you’ve never set up a home office before, or are used to working out of a corner desk in a dorm room (as is the case for many twenty something ladies), don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. Here is what you will need to set up a great home office, no matter what kind of house or apartment you currently occupy.
Trying to find the contract you need when you have some paperwork strewn across your kitchen table and more stuffed into a drawer in your dresser is no good. You need to set aside space for your home office. If you have a spare room, great! Set your office up in there! If not, that’s okay–even a corner of your living room will suffice.
What matters is that you set up this space to be a working zone and that it is separate from your living space. One common approach is to convert a dining room or nook.
Note: Separating out this space isn’t just necessary for your work-flow and organizational skills. It also helps you write off a portion of your rent on your taxes!
Obviously you’re going to need a desk because you’re going to be spending a great deal of time here, you want it to be a desk that you love and that fits the theme of the room. You need a desk you will want to sit (or stand) at. Spend some time perusing sites like OfficeDesk.com for ideas and deals on something solid that will last a long time. Your desk is not a piece of furniture on which you want to skimp!
If you’re choosing a sitting desk (though standing desks are better for you), make sure you have a good ergonomic chair. You don’t want to wreck your posture!
You will also need at least one small filing cabinet for now and a space in which to store your office supplies.
From here, how you create your working space is up to you. Some women choose to include extra chairs for clients to sit in and, if they have the space, a comfy couch or a few bookshelves. Really, it will all depend on your budget and the space you have available. Start with the basics and then add as you can afford to do so!
Obviously you’re going to need a computer. A laptop is much easier to deal with than a desktop, provided you don’t need multiple screens for your projects. You’ll also want a tablet so that you can work on projects in a nearly-full-screen capacity when you don’t have your laptop with you (which will sometimes happen).
And, of course, you’ll need a phone so that clients can call you–though many people get around this by buying a Skype or Google Number and having the calls forwarded to their existing number.
From here, you’ll need the standard stuff: pens, paper, filing folders, sticky notes, paperclips, staples, etc.
Vibe and Decor
We’ve already talked about getting a good desk that looks and feels the way you want it to. This is usually the best starting point for any office space. It is much easier to build an aesthetic around a desk than it is to try to find a desk that fits a look you’ve already pulled together.
How you decorate (and how extensively) is really up to what works best with your work style. Some women find that having a lot of different decorative touches in their work space is distracting. Others get distracted by blank space.
You will want to create a space for inspiration right above your computer. You can hang a bulletin board for this or even just stick things straight to the wall (just make sure your landlord won’t mind!). In this space you will hang photos and articles and other items that inspire you and remind you of the project you’re trying to complete. These bits of inspiration are important for those days when the urge to slack is overwhelming.
Some days the urge to slack will get the better of you. It’s important to remember though, that if you have been procrastinating a lot lately or you have a deadline looming, you can always rent a short term office space in NYC. Many providers offer these on a daily or even hourly basis, so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the monotony of home!
Office spaces are incredibly personal. Use these tips to get yours set up and decorated so that you can get back to work!