Working from home as a freelance graphic designer is a great option. No traffic jams, no broken coffee machines, no waste-of-time meetings. But, you must get your space organized and separated from the rest of the house. You need to think work and creativity and not be looking at those unwashed dishes from last night’s dinner.
Here are some practical tips for creating the perfect workspace.
If you are lucky enough to have a whole room to use as an office that is the perfect solution. If not, clear space in an existing room and try to separate it off with room dividers, large pot plants or a bookcase. Clear this area of any furniture, clutter, kids toys, hubby’s tools and other items that you would not find in a real office.
Get yourself a comfortable desk and chair. You don’t need an executive style desk! Look for something small with drawers and a shelf at the back for storage. A proper chair is a must-have. As we all know, sitting for hours can damage your health, especially if you are using a rickety old kitchen chair. Mount shelving for storing files and books and the coffee machine or invest in a small closet. Mount a whiteboard for work ideas and then splash out on a great poster or ornament that inspires you. If you have space, a comfortable lounge chair with a luxurious throw will be perfect for your brainstorming and time-out sessions.
As a graphic designer your laptop, printer, mobile phone and backup devices are the most important items you need. Having plug points set up where you can easily reach them is a must. Don’t grovel on the floor for wires! Use cables tidies and docking stations to keep all the techno gadgets neat and tangle-free. If you don’t enjoy overhead lighting or don’t have a great source of natural light, install a modern lamp with different settings that can be adjusted to suit your mood.
As much as this is an online world, you will probably still need to file papers and documents. Mark your files clearly and store them alphabetically. The ones that are used most often can be kept close to your desk, eliminating the need to keep getting up. Create a marketing file with samples of work and customer reviews and have it ready to grab-and-go when a potential client calls. Don’t mix work and personal documents, keep your personal files separate or even in another room if possible.
There is nothing worse than settling down to few hours work and finding that the printer doesn’t print or the laptop has been whacked by the latest virus. You are on your own, there is no support team waiting downstairs for your call. Backup your data regularly and test that the backups are usable. If possible use Cloud Storage where data is off-site and always safe. Have a reliable internet service provider and find a hardware supplier close by in case of emergency. Don’t forget to keep a supply of extra ink cartridges in your drawer.
Working from home can be awesome but can also be lonely. In this digital age, networking online is easy. Allocate time for that but don’t get caught up playing on Facebook all day. Getting out now and then is a must, especially if you don’t visit clients in person. Attend seminars, take a course or visit a business expo. Make sure they are work related, dropping into the local coffee shop is not a good idea!
Get your laptop and papers off the couch and spend some time setting up a home office with an ambiance that will enchant and inspire you.