Whether you work from home as a freelance writer, or in any other home-based business venture, having a home office is essential. It doesn’t matter if your office is in located in a separate room of your home, or the corner of your living room. What matters is having the right equipment which makes performing your job much easier. Here’s how to get started:
Set a Budget
Creating your home office starts with good quality, basic furniture and equipment. If you’re starting from scratch with no equipment or furniture, you’ll need to set a realistic budget. Your budget will ensure that you get what you need without breaking the bank. Thankfully computers and other office equipment have become more affordable over the years. Start with the basics and build your home office from there.
Find the Right Work Space
If you have an extra room, you have the makings of the ideal home office set up. You can do things like choose a paint color that inspires creativity, hang art and close the door to household noises that might distract you from meeting deadlines. If you’re short on extra space, or happen to be a busy mom who needs to constantly keep an eye on what’s going on around you, choose a small spot in the main area of your home to create your home office space. The size of your office doesn’t matter as much as functionality does.
Buy Ergonomic Office Furniture
You’ll long in some long hours working at your desk, so choose sturdy, durable furniture built to last. My personal preference is a desk that provides lots of working space and has enough compartments to hold your supplies and important files.
Ergonomics is important to ensure that you are comfortable and maintain good posture as you work. Ergonomic furniture is specially designed to fit and support your body and its movements to improve productivity, health and cognition. Choose a desk that provides plenty of leg room and that it high enough for you to sit comfortably without banging your knees against the edge (this can be an issue for taller girls like me).
Choosing an ergonomic chair is also vitally important. The chair needs to be comfortable and provide support for your back. Learn more about how to choose an ergonomic chair for your office in this previously posted article.
Choose a Computer
Decisions, decisions. Should you buy a desk top computer or go with a laptop? Thankfully computer options have become much more affordable. I own both a desktop and laptop, but the desktop has become both my backup and the family computer that the kids use primarily. I use my laptop pretty exclusively now. I can take it with me to work in my favorite coffee shop or the library when I need an instant change of scenery, airports, hotels, and anywhere else that kindly provides free Wi-Fi.
Find the Right Printer
Printers are essential for freelancing. I print lots of ebook and resource material. I also print my work to proofread before submitting the final draft (I catch more errors that way).
I used to automatically go for the all-in-one models (print/scanner/fax) until my IT consultant advised against it saying they take up too much hard drive space. Now I keep things simple and make sure the model I choose has a scanner. I was recently forced to buy a new printer, and after years of paying an arm and leg for ink cartridges decided to go with a laser model instead. I didn’t pay much more than I did for my last ink jet printer, and the toner seems to last longer.
If a new printer isn’t in your budget right now and you’re currently using an ink jet model, U.S. residents can take their empty ink cartridges to a local Walgreens and have them refilled for about half the cost of buying new.
Collect Reference Material
Writers typically need basic reference material on hand like a good quality dictionary and thesaurus (although each of these can be easily accessed online as well). Other writer must-haves I recommend:
Your writing specialty will ultimately determine the types of reference material you’ll find most beneficial. For instance freelance writers who write for parenting magazine markets will not need the same reference books as a freelance resume writer or freelance grant writer.
Provide Additional Storage
A bookshelf and small file cabinet will help keep your office in order and make it much easier to put your hands on important items quickly.
Add Personal Touches
Your home office is a personal space and should include items that reflect your style and taste. A quirky, oddball collection, sophisticated color choices, Islamic art, nature prints, framed inspirational dua and other quotes can all be included based on your own preferences to create a space that inspires innovation and creativity.
What do you consider a home office essential you can’t do without?
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