5 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Set Up a Home Office

5 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Set Up a Home Office
A lot of entrepreneurs work from home these days - but is your home office built for optimal comfort and productivity? A couple weeks ago I wrote an article on ways to boost productivity while working from home, but that was assuming you already had a fully functional home work space. 

If you're still working from the kitchen table and thinking about building a serious home office, here are 5 tips that will help you get started: 

1. Keep It Simple 

You don't have to build a mini Googleplex in your house to be productive. It's okay to keep things simple. Computer, good-size monitor, fast Internet, desk, comfortable chair, phone, proper lighting and a filing system for paperwork. Depending on your needs, you may also require a fax machine, printer and copier, but you can save space and money by grabbing an all-in-one machine that fills all these needs.

2. Invest in Organization 

Look at the picture above. Don't do that. Keep all your paperwork organized and nearby so you don't have to waste time looking for a specific document. Invest in anything that keeps you organized, like a proper filing system if you have a bunch of papers. If you work primarily online (like most of us I'm sure), you may be surprised that the size of your monitor can be considered a key to your ability to stay organized and productive. Think of the size of your monitor as the size of your desk - it's easier to work when you're not constantly opening and closing windows, so give yourself some room to work. 

3. Pretend You're an Interior Designer

Whether you have a dedicated room for your home office or you're in a corner of the living room, it's important that your areas are harmonized. You don't have to go all Debbie Travis on the place, but having a consistent décor and color palette throughout your office space and home will help you feel more comfortable in both work mode, and when you're off the clock. The last thing you want is to be stressed out by the sight of your home office on your day off. 

4. Good Chair & Good Lighting

It's extremely important to choose a comfortable and ergonomic chair. If your butt is sore after a couple hours, you have to make an upgrade. Lighting is equally important, and especially if you're staring at a monitor all day. Keeping your work station ergonomic will not only make you more comfortable and productive during the day, it will help knock back some potential long-term health problems that may otherwise occur. 

5. Inject Your Personality

You're working from home, so you don't have an office manager to answer to - unless you have an opinionated partner, that is. You're allowed to have a little fun. Install your favorite artwork. Put up some family photos. Add a few accessories here and there. Perhaps a beer fridge. As long as you stay in line with the rest of this advice, spicing up your work space will act as a mood-booster rather than distracting you. All Shopify employees are encouraged to do the same with their workspace. By the way, we're hiring


  • Shopaholla E-Commerce
    Shopaholla E-Commerce
    January 30 2012, 12:17PM

    Number four is the most important to me no matter home or corporate. Your chair and sitting posture can make or break you long-term. Investing in a great chair and think about standing part-time too!

  • @Shopify Mark Hayes
    Mark Hayes
    January 30 2012, 12:34PM

    Shopaholla: Totally agree – I spent a week working from a cheap chair ($50 IKEA) and I ended up so distracted, uncomfortable, and frustrated – my work was negatively affected and I ended up going to Starbucks most days.

  • ShopWingman
    February 02 2012, 12:47PM

    Having some space for brainstorming with others is very helpful. We have a large whiteboard for that behind our workstations – super handy!

  • Shawn Graham
    Shawn Graham
    February 02 2012, 02:18PM

    Interior design is definitely important—you never know when you might need to schedule a video chat via skype and you don’t want to have to worry about your backdrop. In fact, you might even want to find a way to incorporate your logo in the background for some extra branding.

    I picked up a closed/open sign for my home office. Even though customers won’t see it, it helps to replicate the feel of having a physical storefront. Plus, I have a lot of fun flipping the sign over when I run downstairs to grab a cup of coffee.

  • @Shopify Mark Hayes
    Mark Hayes
    February 08 2012, 11:08AM

    Shawn – That’s an awesome idea! Love it!

  • Ampi Castano
    Ampi Castano
    July 01 2012, 03:49PM

    Good tips. Unfortunately, I don’t have a home office, but I do work from my couch, using my laptop. My problem is keeping all of my other stuff (notebooks, bills, etc.) organized while I work.

  • Laura
    March 03 2014, 02:56PM

    Great ideas for people who work online.

    I create, design, jewelry, accessories and decor and would appreciate advice on setting up a work space in my small apt.

    What I have so far is storage cupboards, work table for sewing machine and/or trays with jewelry supplies for whichever I am working on at the time.

    I have to pull out different items depending what I’m working on and I find that I spend more time getting things together than I do creating. I wish I had space to see my supplies easier so I don’t waste so much time, and can create more items.

    So far it is only me working, so I can’t keep up with the demand of my products.

    I really need to get organized better and I have tried many times myself…..I need Help. :)

  • Arnold @ Office Chairs Coventry
    Arnold @ Office Chairs Coventry
    October 09 2014, 07:26AM

    Thanks for providing the informative blog. Nicely shared.

    Vale Office Interiors

  • Hendra
    October 11 2015, 04:12AM

    Chair…. Oh… I see, maybe next week I should change chairs in office…

    Is it significant?

  • Faylinn
    July 27 2016, 01:54PM

    I am currently in the process of trying to deck out my home office and so I really like what you had to say about injecting my personality. I definitely want to feature some of my favorite artwork and put a soda fridge in there as well. However, I think that I will also add a hanging chair and an interesting shelving system to keep things interesting. http://www.australpropertymaintenance.com.au/services/commercial

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