Covid has changed many things for all of us, but one of the most consistent and here to stay changes is the long term need for a home office. Many Australians have been working from home since March 2020 and while there has been, and will likely continue to be, intermittent returns to the office, the likelihood things will go back to the 5 day a week model we once knew is very slim. As a result, many people are moving towards a permanent home office set up to cater for all their work needs.
Setting up a home office isn’t just about décor and design the way it is when you do up another part of your home. However, it is definitely still important. You want a space you can feel comfortable in yet motivated to get your hustle on. Your industry and profession will obviously impact the different things you might need in your home office but giving it a personal touch is extremely beneficial. This could simply be hanging some pictures or posters on your wall or even installing mood boards, whiteboards and any other board you might make use of. Setting up your wall decorations does not need to break the bank; you’re not trying to become a pro interior designer, so low key is just fine. Your décor, including any ornaments or freestanding objects, will be just as functional from Kmart and any other store that won’t eat up the budget.
Next, you want to consider furniture. Arguably the most important (and often most expensive) part of your set-up. Your first step here should 100% be reaching out to your employer and seeing what kind of options you have available to you for help. Many offices have an amount of money they are willing to put towards the essentials for your office like a desk or chairs with back support – and so they should with the amount of money they are saving from having you work from home. Plus, a lot of offices have a Human Resource policy obligation to ensure that you are not causing unnecessary damage to your body as a result of your workspace. If there is a part of your set-up you should splurge on, it is absolutely your workstation – regardless of your occupation. A cute home office chair might feel like it completes a look in your brand new office, but it won’t be practical long term for the hours you’ll likely be sitting on it day in and day out. If you’re worried about breaking your budget or you feel like you can’t really afford to spend big, you can always check out second hand. Covid obviously makes this a bit difficult, and a little riskier, but checking out a buy swap sell, Gumtree or other second-hand platforms may find you with a much nicer and ergonomic desk set up than your budget would have allowed.
Stationary or equipment is also something you should talk to your workplace about having supplied. The obvious basics include any computer or technology setup you require to perform your job. Many office setups include a double monitor, mouse, keyboard etc – just because you are working from home, does not mean you should be going without these basic things that will make your job much easier and ultimately make you more productive. It is in the interest of your workplace to provide you with everything you need to be the most effective despite the change in arrangements and the potential for slower processes. Have your work supply you with stationary! It may seem like no big deal to nip out to Kmart or Coles and grab the things you need, but why waste the allocation from your budget? Your office almost definitely buys in bulk and therefore pays much less for things like pens, notebooks and highlighters. Plus, these kinds of things are part of your entitlement as an employee.
If you’re one of the more design-minded people, perhaps you want to pick a theme for your office. For instance, you might want to look up coastal home interiors and make your office feel like you’re on holiday every day when you go to work. All that might take is picking up some beach style homewares or a nice big print of the ocean. Or maybe you want to make it a little more Zen and fill it with plants. Plants give off a lot of good energy and help to keep your space oxygenated whilst also detracting from the stuffy feeling of being in an all work no play environment. If you’ve got pets, you could even bring a nook in for them. Having that company in your home office can help make work less of a chore and also be a nice option for your pet who knows you’re home and wants to spend more time with you. The list of low-cost ways you can make the most of having a home office over a corporate one are endless.
If your office is going to be used as a freelancing station or to undertake your side hustle, you naturally don’t have the perks of having an employer to ask for assistance either financially or materially. However, you can definitely find ways to keep your budget down of your own accord – or rather, find more budget. For one, it is imperative you make sure you include these costs in your rates and services. Take the time to sit and work out all the costs associated
with setting up a workspace and other overheads you have and make absolutely certain that your prices are looking after your best interest. Another option is to look into grants. As a small business or freelancer, you may have entitlement to a number of financial subsidies – particularly now with Covid.
Setting up an office doesn’t need to be an expensive and time-consuming chore. Make it fun and make the space your own. You will find you are much more efficient and have more free time if you have an office that makes you feel inspired. Lastly, the big budgeting tip; make sure you know what you can claim back as tax. It may surprise you just how much of your home office is tax deductible!