When I started working at home, I just had a slow-running computer, dial-up connection and a small, cluttered desk in the bedroom. My work schedule was sporadic; I didn’t have a specified time when to sit down and get some work done. My attire was ultra-casual, as in jammies and bunny slippers.
Slowly though, as I became more committed to my new role as a wahm and started to earn enough to buy some decent office equipment, I decided I needed a home office makeover.
Although, an office space at Raffles Place is a great option to think about, coming up with your own home office is even better depending on your situation. If you’re thinking of setting up your home-office, here’s a list of things to consider:
- Find your spot – The first thing you must do is find a spot in your house to set-up your home office. Ideally, the best spot must have good lighting, ventilation and minimal distractions.
- Design a layout – Now, consider how you want to set-up your office keeping in mind the furniture and equipment you will need. Look around your house and see if you can find items already there that you can use, then make a list of other items you need to purchase.
Here is a list of basic items you will need when creating your home-office:
- Table – Choose one that will fit into your workspace, is sturdy and has lots of shelves for storage.
- Chair – This should be at a level complementing the height of the table. Choose a chair that is comfortable, has good back support and has wheels. A swivel chair is a good choice.
- Lamp – If you work during the night or your work area doesn’t have good lighting, a lamp is essential. Choose one that offers the right amount of brightness.
- Desk Organizer – This is very important if you want to be organized and be more efficient. Find an organizer where you can store your pens, paperclips, fasteners, stapler, scotch tape, scissors, correction fluid, post-its, and other small items.
- Storage Bin – This is where you will place your office supplies such as bond paper, folders, manila envelopes, binders, plastic protectors, etc.
- Filing Cabinet – This is where you will store all your important files such as contracts, bills, receipts, etc.
Personal Computer/Laptop – Invest on one that will last for several years. This will be your greatest investment because most of the jobs available for wahm’s are online. So don’t cut corners; choose a computer that has ample memory, more disk space and a modem to connect to the Internet. The basic set-up of a PC is the following:
- disk drive
- CD-ROM drive
- hard drive
Depending on your needs, there are additional items you can purchase such as a fax modem, sound card, speakers, video card, surge protector and power supply back-up. I personally use a computer that has a Pentium 4 processor.
- Software – Determine which operating system you wish to run on your computer. Examples of these are: Windows 2000, Windows XP and Linux. I personally use Windows XP Home, it’s fairly easy to use and offers a lot of features that helps me work more efficiently. Next is the software applications, these usually comes with the computer you purchased such as Microsoft Office which includes Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and Outlook. Depending on the type of job you want to pursue, there are many software’s out there that will help you get the work done. Microsoft Internet Explorer, for example, enables you to connect to the Internet, while PaintShop Pro is a graphics application.
- Internet Access – This is another essential; choose the ISP provider that suit your needs. Nowadays, there are many Internet providers that offer fast connection, reasonable rates and online protection such as virus and pop-up blocker.
- Printer – Either black and white or colored printer, a laser printer or an ink jet printer. I used to have a black and white laser printer then upgraded to a colored laser printer. There are also printers that are multi-function, meaning it’s a printer-scanner-fax-copying machine all rolled into one.
- Scanner/Fax/Copying Machine – Scanners are great when you have to send documents and photos online. A fax machine is needed when you have to send documents offline and is especially helpful when you’re dealing with someone out of state or even overseas. Copying machines are used to make copies of important documents.
- Telephone – A must for home workers. Many work at home moms invest on a second phone line; the first one is used for personal calls and the second one is used solely for business. A second phone line is highly recommended if you like to work as a virtual assistant, in customer service, in sales or any job that requires you to conduct your work over the phone.
There are other items you can add to your home office which will largely depend on your needs. A whiteboard/cork board is great when you need to be reminded of an important task or event. Also, personalize your work space by adding items you love like a framed photo of your family or a vase of fresh flowers. Remember to look at items already in your home that you can use for your office. Also, you don’t need to buy everything all at once. Determine which items are most important such as a computer, Internet connection, table and chair. Then, slowly add to your set-up once you have the extra cash.
Having your own work station is a must if you want to be a successful work at home mom. Make it your personal spot and I guarantee it will enrich your work at home experience tremendously.