With most of the world shut down due to the pandemic, many companies have turned remote working into the norm. However, working from home isn’t always a plus. Your family, roommates, or pets are easy distractions. The lack of a boss watching you and a structured workspace could also lead to procrastination. Setting up a home office is crucial if you don’t want your productivity to suffer. But what can you do if you have a tight budget? Here are five amazing tips and tricks to set up a budget home office.
1. Use What You Already Have
Before running to the closest office furniture and supplies shop – or scrolling their websites searching for the perfect office items – check out your home and use what you already have. For instance, you could transform a table into an office desk, and maybe you’ll even find stationery tucked somewhere in a drawer.
A decorative lamp can be repurposed into a desk lamp, and you could keep your writing instruments in a mug rather than buying a pen holder.
The only item you shouldn’t spare money to buy is a comfortable office chair if you don’t own one already.
2. Use CamScanner Instead of a Physical Scanner
Another easy way to set up a budget home office is by replacing physical electronics with apps. For instance, you can use CamScanner to scan and share documents and work projects and avoid investing your hard-earned money into a physical scanner.
Ideal for working professionals, CamScanner is much more than a scanner. The free version of the app allows you to scan and upload documents to the cloud, sync data across platforms, and create up to three folders for different docs or projects.
For a small monthly fee, you can upgrade to a premium account that comes with many more perks. Indeed, you’ll be able to use up to 10GB of cloud space (as opposed to the 200MB included in the free variant), use the app’s optic character recognition technology to turn scanned files into editable documents, and even sign documents electronically, among other features – no doubt, a cost-effective alternative to buying a scanner.
3. Use Other Personal Version or Free Tools
Working from home goes beyond using apps and software instead of physical devices. Team communication and collaboration is also important, and tools developed for this purpose are often expensive.
Nevertheless, there are also many free communication and collaboration tools you can use. Zoom, for example, allows you to have meetings of up to 40 minutes per session with a free account. For longer meetings and chats, you could use alternatives, such as Google Meet or Skype.
Notion is a cloud-based platform developed for workflow management and seamless collaboration between teams, and it’s free to use if you opt for the Personal plan. BlueMail is a good choice if you need a reliable and free email management app.
Likewise, there are many other free platforms and apps that can help you collaborate and communicate with your team, supervisors, or clients without spending a dime.
4. Pay Attention to Electronics
Energy consumption is often overlooked when setting up a home office, but working from home will have an impact on your electricity bill. That’s why you should pay attention to the electronics you use and go as green as possible.
For instance, a laptop uses less electricity than a desktop computer. Shutting off your PC when you’ve finished work instead of using standby reduces electricity consumption. Turning off the lights each time you leave the office (even if it’s just a quick break to use the bathroom or brew some coffee) and unplugging the chargers when you’re not charging electronics are other ways to keep your electricity consumption to a minimum.
5. Use Your Space Creatively
Finding a suitable space for your home office could be challenging if you’ve never worked from home before. Repurposing a whole room – and re-decorating it with office furniture – is undeniably costly, but you could use your space creatively to set up a working nook.
The first thing to do is to find a relatively quiet space. For example, you could use a screen to turn a corner of your living room into an area dedicated to work. Alternatively, you could set up a home office in your attic or basement.
Down to You
Setting up a home office doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes, you can even do it for free if you have a spare table, a comfortable chair, and some office supplies. Now, all you have to do is use the tips above to set up a functional home office and boost your productivity.