(BPT) - Working from home is a growing trend, with 3.3 million people telecommuting at least half the time, according to the 2012 American Community Survey conducted by Global Workplace Analytics. The cost savings for not having to commute, being able to work in the comfort of your own home and having fewer distractions are all benefits to setting up a home office.
If you're working from home full-time, or just one day a week, having your home office designed for increased efficiency is important. Here are some tips for layout and design so you can enjoy spending time at the office - while at home.
* Make it a comfortable space - A comfy work chair, space to pace if you like to walk while chatting on the phone, a clear desk space dedicated to work-related materials ... all of these elements are important for designing an efficient home office. Just be careful you don't get too comfortable. For example, a bean bag instead of a chair doesn't provide a professional ambiance, and that can reduce your productivity.
* Install good lighting - You can put a home office anywhere in the house, including the basement or garage if these areas are temperature-controlled. To help ensure that it's an enjoyable space in which to work, install quality lighting. Even if you have a window, you'll need good quality lighting on cloudy days so you can boost your mood, energy and productivity.
* Have efficient technology - The company office will likely have copy machines to sort, print, staple and even email documents for you. When you work from home, you need a printer that provides you with quick, quality prints, preferably without having to spend a lot of money. The Canon MAXIFY MB2320 Home Office Inkjet Printer holds a full ream of paper in the paper tray and delivers a high-page yield with its XL ink tanks. The MAXIFY MB2320 printer is built to last for all your home-business needs and is supported by Canon U.S.A.'s 100 percent U.S.-based customer service and support.
* Connect with the outside world - Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you won't be working consistently with others. A strong Wi-Fi connection is a necessity for a home office. Wi-Fi connectivity will allow you to work in your home office, and also anywhere in your home. Additionally, a quality headset for your phone or cellphone will allow you to communicate with co-workers and clients without forcing them to compensate for the background noises in your home, like your washing machine or barking dog.
* Keep it homey - Office furniture, by its nature, is very industrial; and you don't necessarily want your home looking that way. Decorate your office like you would the rest of your home. For example, if you need to store files, instead of using a file cabinet, tuck them into a cedar chest or an ottoman. And for drawer storage, consider incorporating other home furniture like a buffet or a wardrobe to keep everything handy - as well as hidden when you're not working.
Working from home isn't just for entrepreneurs any more, as technology is making it very easy for employees of companies of all sizes to work away from the office. If your home office is arranged so you can work efficiently and comfortably, you'll enjoy the benefit so much more.