Why You Should Stop Putting Off Setting Up a Home Office for Your Home-Based Business
Okay, I’ll admit it. I used to habitually work from my bed. Even though I knew all the bad side effects of working from bed, I was in college for the beginning phase of my freelance digital marketing career. I figured I didn’t have the money or space to create a home office, so my bed seemed like the next best option. I’ve been in freelancing for over three years and just got around to setting up a home office last month. I know, ridiculous right? But, I know I’m not the only one and if you’re reading this, you probably habitually work from your bed too.
One survey found that 80% of young professionals admit to working from bed regularly. I’m guessing that the reason a lot of these young professionals work from bed-- apart from it being way more cozy-- is because they, much like my college-self, think they don’t have enough money or space to establish a home office.
When I started Conscious Growth Communications, I knew working from my laptop in bed just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Part of CGC’s mission is creating business practices that are in alignment with creatives’ personal values and goals. I knew that working from bed did not align with my goal of having a thriving online business, nor did it align with my values of self-love and discipline. So I made the plunge and finally decided to carve out a dedicated workspace for my business, but I needed to find a way to do it on a budget and in a very small space (680 sq. ft to be exact).
Setting up a home office has completely revolutionized my freelancing career. Not only because of the coveted double screen set up, but because it gives me a space where I can shift into professional mode and differentiate between work and relaxation.
If you’re working from home, you need a home office and I’m going to tell you why and how to do it on a budget.
Benefits of Setting Up a Home Office as an Entrepreneur
1. Increased Productivity
One major problem I encountered when working from bed was a lack of productivity. I am a master multitasker so I used to turn my TV on when I wo
rked, but I made the mistake of thinking that multitasking was the same as being able to avoid distractions. I would often find myself “taking a quick break” to watch an episode on Netflix or to scroll through Tik Tok. Those quick breaks turned into two hour breaks and completely took me out of my working mindset.
Since setting up my home office I’ve found that I’m not
as susceptible to these distractions. Because I was working from bed I could simply put my laptop aside and start watching TV. With my home office, if I want to take a break I have to physically get up and move to another space, rather than just moving my work to the other side of the bed.
If you struggle with getting distracted while working from home, a home office will help you focus and increase your productivity. And we all know higher productivity equals higher income and I’m sure we could all use that right now!
2. Life & Work Boundaries
When I first started CGC, I had a really hard time setting boundaries between my professional life and my personal life. Remote workers have a tendency to overwork themselves and as a new entrepreneur, I was developing that habit. One survey found that newly minted remote workers log an additional 3.13 hours per day while working from home than they did at their traditional jobs.
The early stages of a startup are always exciting and busy, but I took it to the extreme. I was constantly on my phone updating graphics or on my laptop working on content because there were no physical boundaries between my work and home. I could feel my work encroaching on my personal life and it was starting to impact my relationships.
Setting up a home office has IMMENSELY helped with this problem. Having a dedicated workspace allows me to shift into work mode when I’m at my desk and shift out of it when I leave. When I’m at my desk, my boyfriend knows I’m “at work” and when I leave my office, I know that it’s time to dedicate my energy to my relationships and offline life.
If you struggle with setting clear life and work boundaries, a home office will help you differentiate between the two.
3. Fully Customizable Workspace
When I was strictly doing copywriting, I could get by with just my laptop. However, when I transitioned to broader digital marketing work, trying to research topics, design graphics, update my website, and create content on one screen was nearly impossible. I was constantly having to flip back and forth between tabs every 30 seconds and I was fed up.
Establishing a defined office afforded me the space to set up a dual-screen monitor, which has made my life a million times easier.
Home offices allow you to customize your space based on your unique needs, preferences and style. Maybe you need a giant desk calendar to manage deadlines. Or maybe you need a scanner to send documents to clients. Having your own home office gives you the ability to have all the gadgets, scheduling tools and technology you need for your home based business in one clearly defined space.
I also really enjoy the freedom to decorate my office with items that inspire me and bring me peace. I always have fresh flowers on my desk because they make me happy, all my tools are in my favorite color, and I have pictures of my loved ones hung up by my computer. A personalized workspace can help keep you motivated, centered and happy which will in turn, improve your productivity.
4. Better Sleep
Working from bed can severely impact the quality of your sleep. I used to think this was BS, but since setting up my office I’ve noticeably been able to fall asleep faster.
The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard found that eliminating work from the bedroom helps strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep. If your brain is used to being in work mode while you’re in bed, it’ll have a hard time switching out of that mode when it’s time to go to sleep.
Having a home office will help you clearly set those boundaries and lead to better zzz’s.
One of my favorite things that my home office has given me is a sense of professionalism. When I was working from bed, it was really hard to consider it a career even though I had a number of established contracts. I even had a hard time telling other people that I was a freelance marketing specialist because I didn’t feel like one. (Can you say imposter syndrome?)
A defined workspace makes me feel like a real professional because it simulates a traditional office space. To be clear, I’ve always been a professional, even when I was working from my bed. I was selling a service for money, therefore I was a professional. Sometimes we get so caught up in adhering to societal norms, that when we deviate from those norms, it feels like we’re not doing well enough. So if you’re a remote worker and you work from your bed or your couch, I just want to tell you that your work is valid and you are a professional.
That being said, a home office can help you overcome those hurdles of imposter syndrome and help you see yourself as a professional, which is the first step towards clients seeing you as a professional.
Setting Up a Home Office on a Budget
Now that you know why having a home office is so important you may be thinking, ‘I’d love a home office, but I can’t afford to set one up.” I’m here to tell you, you DO NOT need to spend a fortune to establish a functional office.
My home office is by no means fancy. It’s in the middle of our 680 sq. ft. apartment and consists of:
A bar height table and chair that I found on the side of the road (We love a recycling queen)
Dual screen setup with a desktop monitor and my laptop
That’s it. In total it cost me less than $90.00 to set up. Thankfully, my family owns a business and they had an extra desktop monitor lying around so I got that for free. If you don’t have access to free tech like me (I’m very aware most people don’t), Amazon has a great selection of affordable monitors.
The only things I spent money on were my wireless keyboard and mouse, a mousepad, a pen holder and a glasses holder. I’m in love with all the products I purchased and they make working from home so much better. I ordered everything on Amazon, so if you want to make your desk look like mine, here’s what you need:
Jelly Wireless Keyboard & Mouse— $46.99
Pink & Gold Gaming Mouse Pad— $17.00 (I chose the gaming mousepad because they’re much bigger and can fit my keyboard, mouse, and laptop. Plus it looks pretty!)
Ceramic Marble Pen Holder— $11.99
Plush Lined Eyeglass Holder— $11.99 (If you wear glasses, I highly recommend this, it protects my glasses, but is way more accessible than a case.)
Your home office doesn’t need to be in it’s own room either, mine is literally in the middle of my apartment. My “desk” is only 3’ x 2’ and it’s more than enough space for me to conduct my day-to-day business.
Invest in Your Business
A home office will increase your productivity, help you set work-life boundaries, give you a fully customizable workspace, improve your sleep quality and make you feel more professional. I realized that a lack of money and space weren’t really the problem when it came to setting up my home office, I just wasn’t ready to fully invest in MYSELF and my business. When you finally decide to commit to your vision, no money, space, or any other limitation will get in your way.
If you'd like to take investing in your business a step further, a quality digital marketing strategy is a MUST for increasing your brand visibility and generating leads. Here at Conscious Growth Communications, we develop authentic relationships between brands and their audiences through ethical digital marketing. Contact me to learn how investing in digital marketing can help you grow your business.
Have a wonderful day and go set up that home office!!