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Our Guide to the Essentials for a Home Office

When I first started out in the Wedding industry and considered launching a business, one of the things that attracted me was that it was a business that would allow me to work from home.  I have written about this in Working from Home in the Wedding Industry.  Along the way I have had a number of home offices and I learn a little more about what works and what doesn’t each time.  Right now, I am sitting in what is pretty much my dream home office; lots of natural light, styled just the way I like it and with plenty of room for me to have several different work zones.  I also love that it is at the opposite end of the house to where I ‘live’ with my family.
If you are starting to think about working from home, or have a home office that just doesn’t quite do it for you, it might be time to re-think your home office. But before you do that, here is a list of my essentials for the perfect home office.

Wedding Planner’s Home Office Essentials

  1.  Designated Space – I have been lucky that all but one of my home offices have been in a designated room in the house.  I know that not everyone has that luxury of space, but that doesn’t mean you cannot make this work for you.  Consider what space is available in your house and if there is an area that you can stake claim to.  It might be a corner of the garage, or another shared space, or a closet under the stairs that you can convert. Be creative!  On the one occasion I couldn’t mark out a space that I could set up permanently, I had a box of all my office supplies and a laptop and that was essentially my office.  I worked where I could and when I could, the one stipulation being that it had to be in a space where I could have quiet and privacy.
  2. Let their be light!  You will need both good natural light and artificial light in your home office.  Natural light promotes productivity and good concentration, so consider placing your home office in an area of your home where you do have a good source of natural light coming in.  I like to have curtains on my windows too as there are times of the day, when the natural light hits my computer screen in the wrong way.  You will also want a lamp and soft over-head lighting that you can adjust as you need to during the day and across the seasons.  You may find that you need different types of lighting for different work activities too.
  3. Tech Essentials – One of the things that makes working from home possible is the Internet, so that is a must for your home office and also your mobile devices.  When I first started out, I only had a Laptop, but these days I have both a Desktop and a Laptop.  I prefer working from my Desktop in my office and have invested in a large screen.  One of the things I noticed about working from a Laptop all the time was that it did nothing for my posture, which led to backache and headaches. You will know what works best for you, but keep in mind that you may spend long hours working on your computer.  You will also need a Phone and these days I make do with just my iPhone.  I no longer need a landline and it is not considered unprofessional to only have a mobile or cell number. An iPad or Tablet is useful for showing potential clients your work or when on-site with Vendors or even on Wedding day.
  4. A place for everything – we are talking Storage!  It has taken me a while to work out what works for me and I currently have a new storage cabinet on order for my office.  Being neat doesn’t come naturally to me and if I don’t have good storage systems in place, things tend to pile up and what I have learned about myself is that I work really well with not much around me at all. So a place for everything is essential.  Cheap and cute solutions abound though – baskets, boxes, folders etc can all help to keep your paperwork and office essentials organised. If you are short on space in your office try to designate a shelf in a cupboard for storing paperwork and office files.
  5. To Do List/Planner/Notebook – I like to have a Planner and Notebook on my desk and I use both to keep me organised.  Whatever your preferred method of keeping track of your days and notes is, make sure it is handy and you use if consistently.
  6. A Work Space and an Inspiration Space – this could be a luxury if you don’t have a designated office but if you do, try to create a zone for both work and inspiration in your office.  My work zone is my desk and I am lucky enough to have two desks, which I use for different purposes. I also have a chair in my office and one on the deck outside my office and this is where I go if I need to ‘think’ or ‘brainstorm’ or even just read.  These spaces are ‘unplugged’ and I use them when I want to get away from email and social media.  If you don’t have a designated office you can still have an Inspiration space. Yours might be in the garden or simply the same space as where you work but with the computer turned off.

If you have a home office, or are busy planning one, consider sharing your own list of essentials with us in the comments.

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