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10+ Features for the Freelancer’s Ideal Home Office

by Laura Spencer

on February 7, 2013

in Freelancing Basics

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Most freelancers work from home. You probably do too, at least part of the time.

If you’re just getting started as a freelancer, it’s important to design an efficient freelancing office that will work well for you.

After all, you’re going to spend a lot of time in your home office space. You need to make sure that it’s a place where you can go to get a lot of work done.

In this post, I list over ten features of an ideal home office. I also invite you to describe your own ideal home office. If you liked this post, you may also like Designing a Dream Home Office.

Ideal Home Office Features

Where do you do your freelancing work right now? Are you freelancing on your kitchen table? Are working on your couch?

Freelancers who don’t have an effective home office space face more interruptions and have more trouble concentrating than freelancers who take the time to set up an efficient home office.

Here are more than ten features that I feel should ideally be a part of every freelancer’s home office:

  1. Dedicated space. While freelancers can and do work from anywhere, it’s very helpful to have a home base. Try to find a dedicated space in your office that you use only or mostly for your freelance work. This could be a corner of a larger room, a converted bedroom, a space in the basement, or even a large closet.
  2. Comfortable chair. Although some freelancers use a standing desk, most freelancers sit while they work. To avoid back pain and other problems, be sure to get a chair that supports you properly. To learn more about standing desks and other ergonomic innovations, check out this article in The New York Times by Steve Lohr.
  3. Computer (connected). You will need a computer with an Internet connection. Even if your freelancing business itself doesn’t require the use of a computer, you will need it for email and record keeping. You’ll want to have some mobile devices (phone, tablet) too, for those days when you decide to work elsewhere.
  4. Desk or table. Make sure that your work surface is large enough. Many freelancers like to spread their work out. If your desk is too small, you won’t be able to do that. Desk height is important too. You shouldn’t have to crouch over or reach up to work.
  5. Window. While it’s not imperative that you have a window in your home office, I think having one will help you to feel less isolated from the outside world. A window may help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) too. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to have a room with a view, looking out the window can serve as inspiration.
  6. Printer. Most freelancers need a printer. Your printer quality depends on the type of freelancing you do. If you rely heavily on printouts, you need a higher quality printer than if you are just going to print out records for your own use.
  7. Fax machine. While many freelancers use email for most of their transactions, some clients require that you fax contracts and other documents to them. It’s nice to have a fax machine in your office since a drive to the local office supply store to send a fax can eat away at your time.
  8. Phone system. Some clients communicate better when you talk to them. That’s why a good phone system should be a part of your effective freelancer home office. Shop around to get the best deals. Make sure that you get a clear connection with no audible noise.
  9. A Door. Again, a door isn’t necessarily a home office requirement–but it sure is nice to have. A door comes in handy when you need to focus on a project and other family members are making a lot of noise. Keeping the door shut when you are not working can help you segregate your freelance business from the rest of your life.
  10. Filing space. You need space to keep financial records, client archives, and correspondence. Be sure to have enough space for both printed records and flash drives. Keep your files neat and organized so you can find them quickly when you need them.
  11. Bookshelves. As a freelancer, you should be continually developing your skills. That means that over time you will likely acquire a collection of books about your freelancing field. Bookshelves come in handy for storing that collection.

While it may not be possible to get all ten features in a single office, every freelancer should review the list and choose the home office characteristics that are most important them.

Describe Your Own Ideal Home Office

What home office features are most important to you? What features would you add to my list?

Share your answers in the comments.

Image by petersbar

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About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.