What do you picture when you imagine yourself working from home? Do you imagine yourself sprawled out on your sofa or sitting comfortably behind a big desk in your own home office? The space that you work in is just as important as the job itself. We asked our experts how they set up their own home offices, and what they learned in the process.
- Have a Designated Office Space – When working from home, it can be easy to get distracted by things that need to get done around the house. To avoid distractions, create an office space that is only used for work. If possible, try to have a specific room designated as your home office to feel more like a regular office. If you are unable to have an entire room as your office, try to have your desk separated from your living space. Having a designated office space will help you to be more productive during work hours.
- Be Sure the Room is Properly Lit – By keeping your work space properly lit, it will minimize overall eye strain, as well as help keep you focused and awake. Conversely, dim lighting can often cause headaches for eye strain and sleepiness, resulting in a less productive environment.
If you have small children around, you may want to consider whether a home office is really your best bet. You might be surprised by the affordability of one-room office rentals in your area, and the productivity increase versus cost can have major pay offs.
To maximize your enjoyment of location-independence work you need to minimize your paper trail. Set up your files and systems in the cloud as much as possible so that you can enjoy your home office when you’re at home, but still easily get work done when you are away at a conference or leisure trip.
Don’t be tempted to cram a small home office with a big, powerful-looking desk. Extra floor space and a generally decluttered environment can help spark inspiration and lower stress levels.
- *Your Space: *Your space should reflect *YOU*. Think about what you want to accomplish when you are in that home office. Put things around you that will help you achieve your goals. Whether thats a photo, a seashell or anything that brings you inspiration! Have *YOUR* space be a space you can get things done in an environment that brings you peace!
- *Filing:* Set up a filing system that you will actually want to use. Make it simple, make it color coded and make it fun!
- *Time Management:* Create a DO NOT DISTURB sign and routinely use it at specific hours. Working from home has it’s distractions. I suggest making sure you know what you want your day to look like. Incorporate a great calendar. For me mornings are the best time for me to tackle tedious office work or things that need my total concentration, I’m just more productive in the mornings. I set returning emails or phone calls for later in the day unless it’s something urgent.
- Be sure to create an area that is free from most distractions. If you’re able to create an entirely separate room with a functioning door,
- Achieve the greatest amount of efficiency at home by organizing your work schedule and your space. Make sure you have all the materials
you need close by to get your work done. If you’re utilizing technological platforms, make sure they’re working in advance so you’re not surprised you can’t connect to a virtual meeting. Keep your space organized so you have the materials you’ll need close at hand.
- If you have children at home, make sure there’s an appropriate arrangement that allows you to work without feeling guilty. Whether it’s
having a partner at home while you’re working or having an in-home nanny or babysitter, be sure that children are preoccupied and understand the boundaries of your being there. Set specific times to visit with children or to have lunch with them, but be sure they know you’re not available the rest of the day.
Note from Leslie
This week’s experts have great ideas and tips. The crucial thing I need in my home office is natural light. So my desk is always near a window. I also have a large desk, because I tend to spread out a lot. And finally, I like to keep everything I use regularly where I can reach it. I have cupboards (from Ikea) over my desk. I have a plastic bin where I keep current files next to my desk. I also think you should surround yourself with things that energize and inspire you whether that’s pictures of your family, plants, or art.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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