A quality home office does not need to break the bank!
The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine programme is showing to be reducing the level of transmission among those already vaccinated. So, while it might mean a broad return to ‘normal’ for a majority of us, it probably will not result in a full abandonment of the work-from-home routine and the need for a decent home office space. Ensuring you have a safe and comfortable working environment is key to working well.
There are many opportunities to splash out on home office equipment but it is also possible to outfit your work-from-home space on a budget. The following are some handy tips to setting up a home office while also sticking to a budget.
Set Your Budget
As with any project, setting a budget in advance of beginning your home office outfit should be a top priority. Remember, the objective is to create an environment that is comfortable for you. At a minimum, this requires a decent quality chair and practical work-desk. What you can really afford should be set by a combination of your level of savings and where you might need to borrow. Once your budget is set, stick with it!
Establish the essentials
As we mentioned earlier, the very basic elements of a home office are a comfortable chair and practical work-desk. A rule that you should try to stick to here is that you avoid shopping until after the office essentials are agreed in your mind. If you don’t, it can be all too easy to go on a spending spree because let’s face it, there can be some really creative ideas presented on Pinterest and any of the home office retailer websites. Storage shelves will be an important part of the mix but those can be purchased at low cost at some of the many brands promoting home office equipment.
Get the office mood right
There is some research that suggests the right amount of office decorations can provide for a more stimulating environment. If you have some great photographs from some of your favourite trips consider enlarging and framing them. Plants can also be a positive mix which can be purchased at relatively little cost at any local garden centre…plus you will be helping out your local merchants too!
Get your lighting right
Lighting plays an important role in creating the best home office working conditions. The centre-of-the-ceiling lamp may not be enough. Consider a low-cost desk lamp or a floor lamp also. Having the right level of home office lighting can make a real difference between helping you feel focused and motivated or feeling drained. Of course, in an era of online webinars, the right level of lighting can also help make you less washed-out!
Invest in your key technology
Technology is a critical component when it comes to home office spending. To do your job well, it is important to have the right equipment. But there needs to be a balance. Chances are that in 2021, there may be some migration back to the main office but how many days a week this will include is still unknown…but this does need to be factored into your technology considerations. Beyond the basics, consider investing in a great pair of headphones as this can make a big difference to staying focused if you’re working from a home that can have a lot of noise.
Outfit Your Office for Less
Keep an eye out for office equipment sales. While December and January can be an ideal time of year to purchase home office equipment, many retailers will be looking to up their sales when Covid-19 restrictions finally lift for good. Keep an eye out for home office supply shops as they send leaflets to advertise their services; it means they have inventory they are looking to sell it on as quickly as possible!
Many suppliers also advertise online and can be easily found with a simple web search for home office supplies. So take your time to check out which retailers offer the best deals that meet your needs and fit your budget.
If you do need to borrow for your home office needs, remember to shop around for the best value on loans. Ensure you compare loans using the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) to choose the best value. If you use a credit card to finance some of the purchases, make sure you repay as quickly as possible, preferably before the actual payment due date, in full!
Frank Conway is a Qualified Financial Adviser and Founder of MoneyWhizz