Contractor clinic: Five tips for successful home working

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For some contractors and freelancers, the daily commute takes a matter of seconds and involves nothing more than moving to a different room.

If you’re one of the growing army of independent professionals working from home, it’s important that you create a professional work space in which you can complete your assignments.

Here are our top five tips for creating the perfect home office environment:

1) Choose the right space

Whether you have dedicated an entire room for office space, or just a corner of your lounge, having the right working environment is vital to successfully completing your projects at home. It will also give you a genuine sense of completion, akin to leaving the office, at the end of the working day. This will improve your wellbeing and sense of work-life balance. Pick a place where you won’t be distracted, and can get in a mindset to work. This could mean choosing a room away from where you relax or somewhere near a window so you can keep the room temperature moderate. It’s a matter of practicality and personal taste.

2) Be comfortable – but not too comfortable!

When you’re working you want to be comfortable. Indeed, it could improve your productivity. Have a chair that supports you properly and sets you up well with any equipment you are using. Dress in clothes you feel relaxed in but are appropriate for that working day. Lounging around in your pyjamas or a t-shirt and shorts is unlikely to make you feel on top of your game!

3) Have enough storage

Freed from the restrictions of the clear-desk policies imposed on many ‘permies’, it may be tempting to clutter your desk at home as you’ll face no consequences (not including your partner or housemate, of course!) However, many believe a messy work space can lead to a messy mind, hindering your progress. Give yourself storage space so your desk is clear. Use wall shelving or cabinets to file away important documents. Leave your desk tidy before finishing for the day, so clearing up doesn’t take up precious time in the morning.

4) Decorate – be as creative as you want

There are some extremely adventurous offices out there, such as Twitter’s natural feel and Google with its slides. It may be unrealistic to build a slide in your home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with your space. Redecorate, choose a new colour scheme to the rest of your home, or add some eye-catching 3D art. You don’t have to decorate – why not add some photos, introduce plants or even a fish tank? Wherever your imagination takes you, building yourself a creative environment may help stimulate innovative ideas.

5) Set aside time to have a break

Employees in offices get lunch breaks so why shouldn’t you? Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you can’t take time out. Set yourself a timed break where you can de-stress with some exercise, cook a meal, take a walk around a nearby park or call a friend. Whatever you choose, it’s important to have a breather in the day.

Have your say

Do you work from home? Do you have any tips about creating a professional working environment? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.