Working as a professional contractor (referred to as an Independent Professional or IPro by Entity Solutions) can, at times, lend itself to remote or home working arrangements. Though with the flexibility that life as an IPro affords, also comes an added layer of responsibility to assemble and maintain a healthy and productive workspace.
Whether you are an IPro who works entirely remotely or simply someone who works with little input or inference from managers or colleagues, chances are the responsibility of managing your own workplace falls harder on you than those with a full-time office, manager and team. When working independently, there is nobody but you to get things done.
So, how can you ensure you tick all the boxes when setting up a home office?
Start with a solid foundation
If you are an IPro who works remotely, it’s likely that at least some of your work will be done from a home office. While organisations go to great lengths to protect their employee’s health and wellbeing, those working from home are responsible for their own workspace. When setting up your home office, consider the following:
Ensure your workstation has a comfortable chair that is set at the optimal height to view your screen and use your mouse and keyboard without strain.
Keep your office distinct from your oasis
Choose a room that will function purely as an office so you can ‘leave work’ at the end of the day and switch off. A desk in your bedroom, for example, may lead you to associate the room with work, not sleep.
Block it out
Make sure your space has a door that can be closed to keep out noise and distraction
Set the mood
There is nothing that puts a bigger damper on your motivation than a stark and cluttered workspace. Adequate storage spaces will keep your desk clean, and images and objects will inspire and motivate you.
Invest in technology
Technically speaking, while a professional set-up is a great start, the most important element of your home office will be the technology. The phone, computer and internet connection you choose are the tools of your trade, so it’s important to invest in high quality items that won’t let you down.
When making your choices, we recommend:
Make it portable
As a contract worker, you never know where your next role will take you. While your home office may be your HQ, a future role may see you temporarily working in the office, where bringing your own device (BYOD) is increasingly common. Choosing a laptop computer will give you the freedom to work from anywhere your role takes you.
Don’t neglect the software
Next to your computer, another major expense you may be faced with is software. While some can get away with a simple Microsoft suite, chances are many will need to invest in some serious software, be it for photo editing, graphics, accounting or engineering…the list goes on. While it can be tempting to go for the cheaper options of these programs, they can often be quite limiting in what they do. When choosing what’s right for you, do your research and make sure you choose the right software to perform at your peak.
Put a face to a name
If you are working remotely with colleagues, it’s important to invest in quality video cameras and microphones for video conferencing. This will personalise the conference call for all parties and make sure you are more than simply a voice at the end of the line.
When geographically separated from your colleagues or client, you rely heavily on your internet connection. When choosing your provider, make sure you consider you location; while one service may be cheaper or more popular, the connection in your area may be weak or unreliable. Choose a plan that will provide you with optimal connectivity and make sure your data allowance covers what you need.
Dial it in
While a mobile is standard for all professionals, equipping your home office with a landline will cover you in the event of flat batteries, poor mobile reception and technical hiccups. Having a landline strictly for business will also add credibility to your home office and give clients another or separate avenue for reaching you.
While setting up a home office provides flexibility and freedom, it’s important that you maximise your comfort, contentment and connectivity to make the most of working from home