Thanks in part to micropreneurship opportunities from popular apps, and in part due to the availability of technology that enables working from home and working with businesses all over the world, there are more than 15 million self-employed individuals in the United States, and that number is likely to increase even further over the next several years.
Working from home is an ideal setup for many self-employed people, thanks to its exceptionally low cost basis; leasing an office can cost upwards of several thousand dollars per month, while working from home costs significantly less. Still, even if you’re taking a minimalistic approach, there are a handful of upgrades to your home you’ll need to make if you want to get the most out of your workday.
Best Upgrades to Make
These are some of the most important upgrades you’ll need to make to your home:
1. A dedicated office.
First, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated office within your home. If you have a room to dedicate to your office space, take it. If not, try to section off a portion of your living room or dining room to serve as your workspace. The idea here is to have a place that’s isolated from the rest of the house, so you’re able to draw a line between personal and professional use. Psychologically, you’ll be more likely to focus on work when you’re in this area than you are in the rest of your house. It’s also an effective way to block out distractions, and keep other members of your house from interfering with your work.
2. A nice desk.
Getting a good desk can affect your posture, your focus, and even your satisfaction—and you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to get one. Standing desks are becoming more popular, and desks with ample space are ideal if you’re working with multiple items at once. Look for a desk that suits your specific needs, and don’t hesitate to make the investment—it will probably last you a lifetime.
3. A good mattress.
Many workers underestimate the impact that sleep can have on their work performance, and end up staying up late working rather than going to bed. This effect is common among all professionals, but is especially tempting for remote workers, whose personal and professional environments bleed together. Investing in a high-quality mattress can help ensure that you get a solid seven hours every night, provided you have the discipline and commitment to go to bed at a decent hour.
4. Solid hardware.
Of course, your job almost certainly depends on your use of technology, so the type of technology you have can make all the difference in your productivity and morale. As a general rule, investing in more expensive equipment is worth the extra money—up to a point (again, it depends on the nature of your work). Be sure to invest in a solid laptop or tablet for your main work, along with a second monitor, ergonomic keyboard, and possibly some external storage you can use to host and secure your files. You’ll also want to upgrade and/or replace your equipment every few years to keep it in good operating condition.
5. A meeting center.
If you plan on meeting with clients or partners at regular intervals, you’ll need somewhere to meet. If you have a sizable office, you can make room for this by including a wider desk and a handful of chairs for your guests. Otherwise, you may need to make some external accommodations. For example, you could invest in a monthly subscription to a shared workspace, where you can gain access to a formal meeting room for far less than it would cost to lease a space of your own. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also be able to meet at a local coffee shop or restaurant.
Everybody has a different style of working, and different approaches to work in general. You may need other additions to make your home office work ideally, such as good speakers to play your favorite background music throughout the day, or specific personal items to boost your morale or provide temporary distractions. Even subtle changes, like lighting or scents, can have an effect on your performance. You’ll need to experiment with your new work environment to see what works best for you; just be sure to avoid temptations that draw you away from your main course of work.
Anna Johansson is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting where she works with businesses to create marketing and PR campaigns.