3 keys to creating a home office you’ll love working in


Thanks in large part to technology, working from home — or telecommuting — is big and it’s getting bigger. More than 2.6% of U.S. employees (3.3 million people, not including the self-employed) roll out of their bed and into their office chair each workday, an increase of 80% since 2005. Factor in entrepreneurs and it’s believed 1 in 5 Americans now call home their workplace.

As an at-home worker, you could save between $2,000 and $7,000 in transportation and other costs annually, a nice bundle of cash to help create a healthy and productive home office you’ll enjoy working in.

Here are 3 ways to make telecommuting work for you:

  1. Location: You’re going to be doing real work, not your taxes, so don’t make your kitchen your office. Choose a spare bedroom, if possible, or an area of your home where you won’t hear your kids playing video games or your spouse on the phone.
  1. Home office, not office home: You don’t have to work in a drab office so don’t replicate that environment at home. Give yourself ample space, plenty of natural light, a desk light, an ergonomic chair and a large enough computer screen. If looking out the window won’t distract you (much), orient your desk so you face a window — heck, your boss had a corner office with a view, why shouldn’t you?
  1. Smart filing: While you don’t want to work in a tiny impersonal office cubicle, you may not have a huge space to devote to your home office. Be sure to organize filing and storage effectively in a way that complements your work style — drawers or filing cabinet, for instance, but not boxes or piles on the floor. Except for your most pressing to-do items, keep your stored papers behind you or in a closet while you’re working.

You’ll find more great home office design ideas here and here. Do you work at home? Tell us about what you love — or dislike — most about it and how you make your home office space work for you in the Shop Talk Blog community forum!




Did you know: 1 in 2 of us can telecommute?

It’s estimated that 50% of us have jobs compatible with at least part-time telecommuting. Those most conducive to home work? Management, professional and sales. Least likely? Not surprisingly, farming, fishing and the military. (Source)


47 thoughts on “3 keys to creating a home office you’ll love working in

  1. Excellent! Before retiring, I interviewed employees who filed complaints, and was able to work from home when translating verbatim statements to my laptop. For me the key was to keep things organized, as well as my schedule, which afforded me quiet time…I also enjoyed working at home in my pajamas many times!

  2. I work from home. I have been able to do this for about 10 years now. I absolutely love it! I don’t have all the “corporate office” distractions that take away your time and concentration. (phones ringing, people asking you a question, peopel talking…) I have alot of natural light and play myself a little music to get me in the right work mode. I can do 5 times as much work now that I work from home than I did when I had to commute an hour one way. I wouldn’t change a thing! PLUS..If i feel like working in my PJ’s, I CAN!! 🙂

  3. I think it would be great for a man or childless person,but if there are children at home , may be to many distractions. If mommie,s home an there are small ones around,it,s hard for them to understand that they can,t interrupt you.

  4. I would be blessed if I could work from home. I am a single mother taking care of two children and my mother. I was laid off 5 months ago and barely making my bills because I have 3 people to feed. I am struggling and would my best for any online company. Computer friendly. Thank you

  5. Plants, fish tank, nice stereo surround sound, dual monitors, mini fridge, couch- if I didn’t need to use the restroom or bathe, I could literally live in my home office… It’s that comfortable and I love it!

  6. I have worked from home in the past and have found it great! I know that what Julie L. stated about discipline is very true. If you don’t treat it like a day at the office and let other things be more important (things that would need to wait if you were working in an office) then you will find yourself in trouble.

    I worked for several years as a freelance graphic artist doing design and layout work for advertising for different companies along with producing several publications. I was forced to stop when my major client closed due to very poor business choices, and to my health. I am now trying to start over but am having to work with “make do” programs for my Mac, because I found that my older G3 could no longer be used. The older programs that I used on the G3 with great results will not work on the IMac that I now use. At this time I do not have the funds to buy the new versions of the programs I used on the G3. If I can find someone who has updated to newer programs and would like to get rid of the older ones I would love to talk with them.

    Just one last thing the article is good, but a person can read 1000 + articles put if they don’t have the discipline to treat each and ever day of the week as a day at the office, not at home then they stand a good chance of failing. So I will say one last thing, always remember to be disciplined and good luck.

    John C.

  7. I worked at home about 7 years ago and I loved it! This article is right on point. great advice! Utilize your space wisely and avoid rooms that will distract you from your work….. And lots of light does help. A lot of the posts were helpful as well.

  8. I have worked from a home-based office for the past eight years, for three different employers. Eight months ago when I was downsized, the only work I could find in my profession was with a company 20 miles away. I now have to drive 45-60 minutes/each way in normal traffic, and with an accident, poor weather, etc. has taken up to 1-1/2 hours/each way.

    When I accepted the offer with my current employer, I negotiated being able to work from my home office 1-2 days/week. This was granted to me so I am now in the process of setting up a schedule with my manager to put this in place.

    I am actually a lot more productive in working from a home office (at least based on my current regular office setting) because I am in a cubicle at work and my coworkers are great people but talk extremely loudly and chat non-stop throughout the day. I have politely asked them a couple of times to tone it down when I am on the phone with a client or candidate (we are recruiters), but it hasn’t helped much.

    By not having to commute 2+ hours/day to work, I can do extra work from home and not have the background distractions. I’d still like to come into the office a couple of days/week to have at least some coworker contact.

    When I started working from a home office 5+ years ago, it took me close to six months to really get disciplined and not find distractions (start a load of laundry, take the dogs for a walk, etc.). But once I accepted and realized that it was an honor to work from home, I got a lot more productive (and happy) and produced better results for my employers.

    My recommendation is to try to negotiate when you are starting work with a new company, are negotiating the offer, etc. and be realistic–ask for 1-2 days/week to show your new employer that you are disciplined and can work effectively from home. The results will then speak for themselves.

    I’d also recommend asking for some reimbursement for having to provide home-based internet, cell phone/landline, etc.

  9. I haven’t been able to find a job that would allow me the perfect opportunity to work at home. I’m disabled to the point where I can no longer work in an office because either the office is not wheelchair-friendly, or requires me to h ave to go outside in the cold, and that just isn’t possible anymore.

  10. what do u at home, I would love to be able to find some kind of computer or data entry to do at home

  11. I wished I would have read this before I set up my bedroom as my office. My wfh sits in the middle of the house and I hear everything!

  12. Love to work at home. I’m retired and still want to work. I’m getting well from a slight stroke. Otherwise I am fine. Thank you and I’ll look into that the beginning of the new year.

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