How to Set Up a Safe and Efficient Home Office

by | Apr 20, 2020

Need A Complimentary Checkup for Your Home?

If you’re one of the millions of Americans suddenly working from home, you may be scrambling to set up a home office that lets you be productive. Sure, working from the couch may have been fun at first, but now that you’re in it for a long haul, maybe you’re looking for something a little more professional (and easier on your back). If so, we’ve got you covered.

We asked the home maintenance pros at Hippo Home Care for their best tips for creating a productive, enjoyable and safe work environment at home, and they delivered. Find out how to set up your ideal work-from-home space below.

The Hippo Home Care Pros Say:

Home offices do not need a lot of maintenance if they are setup and configured properly. Just double check with your homeowner’s insurance to make sure your electronics are covered.

Choosing the Right Room

In a perfect world, the ideal home office would be a dedicated first-floor room with a separate outside entry, especially if you have visiting clients. But assuming you may not have a room like that available, you’ll need to get creative.

If you can set aside an entire room for your office, great. If not, look for low-traffic areas toward the back of the house where you can minimize distractions. Are there any quiet corners or unused nooks you can take over? If you’re lucky enough to have an entire room to use, consider installing soundproof panels on your office walls to help cut down on the noise, especially if you have kids at home. Even a door you can close between yourself and the rest of the family will help keep things quiet and send the message that you’re not to be disturbed.

For a permanent home office, you may need room for a file cabinet, supply closet, desk and chair, computer, printer and any equipment specific to your business. But for a temporary workspace, make sure you have room for at least the essentials: a sturdy desk and someplace to sit.

Although most meetings are taking place online for now, if you normally see clients as part of your job, you may want to consider investing in a more permanent home office. If you do have a first-floor room available, figure out if it would be possible to replace one of the windows with a door. Then, aim to install a glass door that allows natural light to enter so you don’t lose the functionality of your old window. Unless you have carpenter skills, you’ll want to hire someone for this job (once it’s safe to do so, of course). Over time, this upgrade could even pay for itself, since you’ll appear more professional with a private entrance instead of having clients follow you through your house.

Home Office Safety Tips

Ever heard the old saying that “most accidents occur in the home?” It’s true and it could now include your home office if you don’t set yourself up well, especially if you’re not used to working from home. Now that you’ve chosen your new work environment, here’s how to keep it safe:

  • Check your outlets: All your electrical outlets should contain arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), which prevent fires by disconnecting the power when they detect a dangerous arc. Protect your computer by connecting it through a surge protector, and never overload an outlet – if your office doesn’t have enough, hire an electrician to install more.
  • Organize your cables: Keep your electrical cords off the floor, where they could trip you up or become a fire hazard. Use power cord ties to keep your electrical cords neatly and safely secured.
  • Be fire safe: Get a fire extinguisher and install a smoke alarm in your office.
  • Get a first aid kit: It’s inexpensive and it’s always better to have one nearby in case of an emergency.
  • Install a camera: If you keep valuable equipment in your office (like a computer or expensive tools), consider installing a simple video camera that you can access from your phone.
  • Get smart: Smart accessories like thermostats, locks and lights allow you to keep your office safe and comfortable from anywhere.

Finishing Touches

Now that you’ve set up your secure home office, it’s time to make the place feel like yours. Whether your office is private or is open to clients, consider the following:

  • Make a schedule: A daily work schedule with set hours is the foundation for success. A wall-mounted whiteboard can help keep daily and weekly goals visible and can also be used for appointments and call reminders.
  • Get insured: Not all homeowner’s insurance covers home offices, so make sure you’re insured against theft and damage to your office from weather events or fire. And consider liability insurance. You’ll be happy you made the small investment if you ever need it.
  • Light it up: Natural light won’t bother your eyes like artificial light, so make use of it as much as possible. Of course, you’ll also need good lighting as a supplement for dark, rainy days and nighttime work.
  • Treat your senses: Essential oils add a wonderful fragrance to your office without being overpowering. Although candles smell great, they can pose a fire risk in an office where things are frequently moved around.
  • Pick some tunes: Soft music can help you feel calm and focused. Choose instrumental, non-vocal music so you don’t get distracted or tempted to join in a singalong.
  • Get comfortable: Invest in a chair you won’t mind sitting in all day. Keep the temperature comfortable with air conditioning, fans or a heat source, depending on your climate.
  • Dress it up: Make your office a pleasant space to be with some artwork, a plant or two, or anything else that boosts your mood.
  • Keep essentials nearby: Store your trays, files, pens, and other supplies where they can be easily reached. If you drink coffee, consider putting an inexpensive coffeemaker in your office. You’ll be more productive if you don’t have an excuse to walk to the kitchen every hour.

Following these tips for designing and safety-proofing your home office will provide a comfortable working environment for your business. While you can tackle most of these projects yourself, always call a professional when it comes to things like electrical wiring or construction. If you need help setting up your home office, set up a complimentary telemaintenance call with the Hippo Home Care – they’re here to help.

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