Deciding to work from home isn't as easy as it seems. To be productive in a home office, you need to be able to conjugate your home experience and your professional personality. This often means being very deliberate when selecting not only a house but the ideal space to conduct business in the home.
When you've decided you want to work from home, there's more to it than slumping onto the couch with your laptop. You should start by making a list of everything you need around you to complete your work. If you are someone who deals with face-to-face clients, perhaps you'll need an area to meet with them professionally? Or, if you work creatively you might want to think about desk size and storage options in the room. Lists are a great way to consider your needs in a home office, and then make sure these needs are met when you select a space in the house.
Firstly, light is a very important factor when selecting what will become the new office space. Choosing a house with good natural light is a bonus, but not essential. It is important to make sure you have space which is well lit, to avoid straining your eyes over long periods. Lighting is also important in creating the illusion that you are no longer in the comfort of your home, but in a space designed for work and concentration.
The crucial element of making a home office successful lies in the execution of separating the 'home' from the work itself. This includes unwanted interruptions from family and pets. When inspecting homes to rent or buy, you might want to think about what types of noises will affect the property during the day. These sounds will be very different to those you hear at night. The most obvious annoyances will probably be traffic sounds or barking dogs.
You should also check for nearby schools or pre-schools as the noise of school bells and children often carry clearly during the day.
Selecting a quiet space in the home is also paramount. Of course, you can pay to soundproof a room, but if you can prevent it, it will save you money if you take the time to consider which room will naturally block the most unwanted sound.
Don't forget that all work should have a finishing time. Just because you plan to work from home doesn't mean all you do at home is work. Putting a clock in your workspace is a simple way to ensure you aren't working back to back 15 hour days.
Don't overestimate how much planning is required for a successful work at home experience. Many people approach it haphazardly and aren't successful in executing a space which promotes their best work.
When shopping for houses, try to consider whether it is somewhere that would naturally serve as a place for work. In the long run, it will save you far more time and money than a house which won't support work naturally.