So you've taken the step of moving to freelance work. Congratulations!

It's just as easy as picking up a laptop and running down to the nearest cafe, right? Wrong. We hate to break it to you, but you need a home office! Before you panic and start seeing your hard-earned cash disappearing in a cloud of desks, bookshelves and stationery — let's clarify by saying it doesn't need to be a hugely comprehensive home office. But it's important to have a base set up, and we've got some tips to help.

If you're going to commit to working from home, separation is important. Working from your bed, or the lounge, might sound tempting and comfortable but it will impact your productivity. You need to get yourself in the mindset of working, and tucked up under the blankets won't help!Whether it's a nook of your apartment, or a proper room in your house, find a space that works. Set up a desk and chair, at minimum, and clear some space so you have room to move. Natural light is always preferable, but in the absence of that, solid overhead lighting or a lamp will do.

Basic stationery supplies are essential — pens, paper, highlighters, Post-It notes. Whether or not you need other technology in addition to your computer is up to you. Printers and scanners may be required, but if you're working solely online, you can probably skip buying these — at least at first.Most people don't have a landline phone at home, so at the very least, make sure your mobile phone reception is stable in this part of your home. There's nothing worse than trying to have a business-related phone call and having reception drop in and out!Make it welcoming. You don't have to go too overboard, but it needs to be somewhere you enjoy spending time … after all, you're going to be there a lot!

By the way, we're not discouraging the use of the local coffee shop to work — sometimes you can get your best work done surrounded by people (and coffee)! But it's important to have a quiet, work-specific space to set yourself up in if you want to maximise the benefits of working from home.