Where I Work: 5 Essentials For a Supercharged Home Office

I’ve always been fascinated by the creative workspaces of creatives. You know, like In Her Studio or Where I Work. Lately, I’ve added the technical side to my space obsessions. Like, what makes a productive home office? What does one do for storage? How are people setting up their Zoom lighting and backgrounds?

Recently, I made a major shift (well, for me anyway). I moved away from the built-in bookcases, my grandfather’s antique desk, two sets of double windows, and the first floor access that was my home office for nearly 20 years. I’m now set up in an extra bedroom on our second floor. Admittedly, I was reluctant at first—bedrooms are for sleeping after all, not to mention somewhat lacking in character. But it’s a few months in and I’m liking it quite well.

5 Essentials For a Supercharged Home Office

Since COVID sent people home to work and it seems Omicron isn’t letting them go back, the subject of home offices is on everyone’s radar. According to those in the know, here are five things necessary for an up-to-speed home office.

1. Dedicated Workspace

Defining and personalizing a work space is always first the list. My office is my sanctuary. It’s where my brain is trained to open up and create. I filled it with things special to me, like my great-great-grandfather’s tool chest. It’s easily 125+ years old. Lots of making went on with this beast!

2. Desk and Ample Surface

A desk doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. My husband built mine from an assortment of wood lying around his workshop. It’s basically plywood spanning two sets of filing drawers. And it’s L-shaped. After all these years, I don’t think I could be without the extensive surface of an L-shaped desk.

And now my L has become a U. The harvest table, above, made by my father-in-law, is imprinted with my children’s homework from years ago. It serves as extra space for packaging the e-commerce products I’ve added to my business.

3. Ergonomic Chair

Last year, after decades of seat discs and pillows, I finally bit the bullet and invested in a good chair—a real good chair with ergonomic features and fittings just for me. “It’s about time!” says my appreciative lower lumbar. Given the hours I spend sitting, I was foolish to wait this long.

4. High-Speed Internet

Okay, that’s a problem. It’s always been a problem for country dwellers. I won’t get into politics other than to say Wisconsin’s poor development of rural internet hinders small business and educational opportunities throughout the state. In November, I was giving an online workshop for the Women Food and Ag Conference when my internet gave out. Imagine the frustration.

Setting up office in a rural home? Be sure there’s a means for reliable internet connection.

5. Good Lighting (Preferably Natural)

I have lots of natural light in my new office and I love it. And plants. Plants are good. They bring life to the office on days I might not feel so alive.

There are some winter light issues, however, I need to address. The noon day sun is blindingly direct through a southern window, so I’m adding a shade. Later, afternoon shadows set in, bringing with them those seasonal melancholies. Definitely not good. I’m thinking a desk lamp, in addition to the overhead light that’s already there, will brighten my mood.

Speaking of Home Offices…

I’ve recently taken on a new copywriting client, one that requires me to read up on new and interesting things. I love such challenges. I’m now learning all about local government and zoning laws—and yes, my home office is compliant with my county’s code. Thankfully, in light of COVID changing the way we work, many other home-based businesses now have this opportunity.

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