The Diary of a Happy Mom: 40 and Beyond

The trials and tribulations of an adventurous modern mom

Five tips on setting up the perfect home office

Now that the kids are back in school it is time to set up my home office. Before children, I spent ten years in the corporate world as a sales rep working in both office settings and out of my home. There are pros and cons of both situations. The pros of working from home include complete freedom of how you structure your day, having your office in any room you want and setting it up as you desire. The cons of working from home are the obvious. You are in your home meaning it is hard to leave the office. You are isolated and have no co-workers to chat with when you need advice or to rant. It can get a little bit lonely.

Millennium Park in Chicago

“The world is your oyster” when you follow your dreams and branch out. (Photo taken at Millennium Park in Chicago)

In order to make working from home work, you need to figure out the best environment for your home office that will inspire you, motivate you and move you forward to reaching your goals. Here are five tips on setting up the perfect home office.

1. Choose your spot wisely

Obviously the best place to have your own personal home office is in a room dedicated exclusively to being your office. However, if you don’t have such a room then find a place that makes you happy and inspires you. For me, the perfect place for my “office” is in our formal dining room. Why? Our dining room is surrounded by windows bringing in lots of gorgeous light to make me happy. It also has the best view of the house, affording a look outside onto our front yard. I can watch the world go by and not feel so isolated.  Lastly, it is the least cluttered room in the house with lots of beautiful things that make me happy including photos of my family and art from around the world. Only downside: I have to pick it up and store it at the end of the day.

2. Set up your office ergonomically correct

For years I’ve had a bad neck and back. Working in a 9-5 job always was a painful endeavor and even sitting in bad chairs or in poor posture today simply hurts. Thus I’ve invested a small amount of money in making my office ergonomically correct. I bought a box to place my computer on so that it is at eye level and I don’t have to look down at it all day straining my neck. I also bought a stand-alone keyboard so I can type with my arms at waist level instead of raising them up to type on my laptop-on-a-box. Finally, I use a comfortable chair and always place a pillow behind my low back for extra support and good posture. I try to remind myself to get up at least every hour or so to stretch my neck, back and shoulders – the main culprits of my discomfort.

3. Have office hours

When you work at home it is critical to set your “office hours”  – times you will be working and times you will not. It is so easy to work during family time and also so easy to not work at all. The beauty of working for yourself is that you are in control and you can set the right working hours to balance your life.

4.  Take breaks

Let’s face it. Working from home can be isolating and lonely especially for extroverts like me. I miss the camaraderie of having colleagues and friends to chat with. So how do I solve this? Take breaks and venture out into the world. I go for a run or walk around my lovely neighborhood lake, workout at the health club, meet a friend for lunch or run some errands. If I really feel isolated, I pick up my “office” and move it. I go to one of my favorite neighborhood coffee shops where I know the staff and see familiar faces.

5. Have fun!

For whatever reason you are working from home – whether it be a remote office or your own business – the best part of all is it is your own. You have freedom like you’ve never had before working an office job. If you want to play music, you can play it! If you want to wear yoga pants or even your pajamas, wear them. If you want to light some nice fragrant candles, light them. You are your own boss! It is freedom like no other and every time the little things like loneliness set in from working all alone, I remember how much I hated those 9-5 jobs of being in an office enclosed all day. Now is the time to explore a little more and be as unconventional as I want. And best of all, to have fun!

What about you? Do you have any tricks or advice on how you make working at home work or how you set up your own home office? 

Chicago Art

11 comments on “Five tips on setting up the perfect home office

  1. Sisters From Another Mister
    August 28, 2013

    Congratulations on your ‘new’ bloghome … love the idea of your new funfilled space in this new season of your life.
    Way to go!

    • thirdeyemom
      August 30, 2013

      Thanks Nicole! Just more to keep me busy, right?! Looking forward to seeing you in NYC this month!

  2. Folks who are reading this blog, I have read Nicole’s work extensively and let me tell you, there’s never a boring moment in her blog. I am so much looking forward to this blog too about her journeys as a happy mom.

    • thirdeyemom
      August 30, 2013

      Oh Purnima! You are so kind! Thanks so much for the wonderful compliment! Hope you are doing well!

  3. anotherjennifer
    August 28, 2013

    I’m lucky in that I have a room at home that is a dedicated office. I’ve found that having several options for work space is helpful. If I get bored sitting at my desk, I’ll move to an area where I can stand up and work on my laptop, or I’ll work outside on the picnic table (like now!). Going to a coffee shop is fun too. My biggest problem is reminding myself to get up and move! Sometimes I get so into a project, I forget to walk around or even eat! I wouldn’t trade it for the world though.

    Off to take a walk to the bank…

    • thirdeyemom
      August 30, 2013

      I actually have a study attached to our bedroom but there is only one small window and it is dark. I need sunlight and inspiration! So for now, the dining room is it! 🙂 Thanks for the tips Jennifer!

  4. pmr52013
    August 29, 2013

    Hello I am new to the Blogging world but I love to read. I am 64and am home a lot.I have had an IPad for 3mths and am loving it,much easier to use than my laptop as I’m not very computer literate . However I found your Blogs and liked your style and your sentiments,so I shall follow you and talk to my 40yr. Old daughter about your doings. I live in East Gippsland Victoria Australia.Best regards,Patricia.

    • thirdeyemom
      August 30, 2013

      Thanks so much Patricia for stopping by! I bet where you live is quite lovely! 🙂

  5. loca4motion
    August 29, 2013

    Nicole, I love the flexibility that working from home allows but as you say it can be isolating. It’s important to take breaks and get out to see the world, especially for someone like me who lives alone. Good luck in your new life and with your new blog! I’m excited to see which direction you take!

    • thirdeyemom
      August 30, 2013

      Thanks Lucy! It has been really strange not having the kids around during the day but I’m amazed at the same time how fast the day goes. I still seem to run out of time to do all the things I want!

      • loca4motion
        August 30, 2013

        That’s how I am, Nicole. The day is never long enough. I don’t know how people have time to have kids!!! I bet you miss having them around.

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This entry was posted on August 28, 2013 by in LIFESTYLE, Work/Life Balance and tagged , , , , .
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