Creating a home office gives you a great opportunity to fully define your workspace in a way that respects both your professional needs and the sanctity of your home life. Preserving distinctions between these two spheres is important. Your home and your office should remain as clearly separated areas, even when you put them right next to each other.
Once you take the plunge and establish a real workspace for yourself in your home, you need to recognize the fact that the design and decor you pick out will have an impact on how it feels to work there – and on how much you get done. A messy, unappealing home office may become an impediment to being as productive as you can be.
In order to keep your home office under control and your working hours productive, try using these seven tips for staying organized and efficient. We’re also sharing suggestions to keep your working experience positive and enjoyable – the happier you are to be in your home office, the more you’re going to get done!
1) Build A Wall Between Work And Personal Space
This tip doesn’t imply that you actually need to break out the toolbox and do literal carpentry; it’s just a reminder that you need to assess your home office from time to time and make sure that you’re keeping it professional.
How To Do It:
Take the time to look at your workspace with fresh eyes and identify potential distractions that make it harder for you to be productive. It’s time to banish that TV to the guest bedroom and clear out those game consoles.
It’s important to mentally police the boundary between your personal and professional spaces. Without a firm separation between the two, you’ll always have distractions tickling at your mind when you’re supposed to be working. This has a negative impact on your productivity.
2) Invest In Proper Seating
If your home workspace is already up and running, you may think you don’t have the time to fuss over your seating arrangements. Wouldn’t it be better to just tear into your work regardless of the sort of chair you happen to be sitting in? The truth is it matters far more than you think. If your home office sees heavy use, how you sit becomes important to your health and well-being.
Based on data collected by the American Academy of Family Physicians, back pain is experienced at least occasionally by 90 percent of adults in the US. A solid half of the working population faces a serious back pain issue (i.e. one requiring medical assistance) every year. If you ignore your seating arrangements, you may be setting yourself up for health issues that wreak havoc with your productivity and mood. There are plenty of great classic designs that can offer these benefits – Rove Concepts have a whole range of great furniture that can make your office look not only practical but stylish too.
How To Do It:
Make a point of selecting an ergonomic desk chair. This comprehensive guide will help. If your budget is currently too cramped to consider a new chair, think about at least buying a seat support for your current chair.
3) Good Lighting Makes A Difference
Lighting is a huge but often-overlooked part of your work environment. Is that desk lamp providing too much light? Not enough? Do you have windows in your home office to let in plenty of healthy natural light? Sunlight is a tremendous mood booster and it’s even good for your health; make sure it’s a part of your workspace at home.
According to extensive research, a lack of sunlight exposure can lead to feelings of lethargy and even depression. Getting plenty of sunlight can keep your mood elevated and your sleep patterns regular. Your office needs solid artificial lighting to fill in during evenings or periods of inclement weather, too.
How To Do It:
Experiment a bit with your lighting options for figure out what really suits your needs. If you have enough space, you should try using multiple light sources to set the right mood in your home office.
A good desk lamp providing direct lighting at your desk is essential if your work involves writing, reading, or sketching. If you spend most of your time looking at a computer screen, though, check out this guide to setting your brightness and contrast levels for maximum comfort.
4) Invest In Trustworthy Tech
If your home office is going to be your primary workspace, it becomes positively essential to see that you have all of the best productivity-boosting technology working for you. Are you losing significant amounts of time to troubleshooting computer glitches, printer jams, and internet hiccups? Don’t assume that this sort of aggravation is unavoidable.
The odds are good that you’re trying to economize by relying on technological gadgets to work until they break down entirely. Factor in the time and frustration that outdated tech costs you when you’re choosing when to upgrade! “Making do” with older, cheaper technology doesn’t provide much of a savings when your time is getting eaten up by troubleshooting. The sour mood that tech troubles cause is worth considering, too. A nasty tech problem can end up spoiling a whole day’s work, even after you get it straightened out.
How To Do It:
Keep all of your vital software (particularly your OS and antivirus tools) fully up to date. Maintain your devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions, back up your data regularly, and set aside money for regular upgrades.
5) Spend More To Boost Your Productivity
While we’re on the subject of technology, it’s also worth considering whether a relatively minor investment in extra tech can have a significant positive effect on your productivity. What sort of tools does your home office lack, and how much easier would your work be if you had access to them?
How To Do It:
Take the plunge and start getting serious about what sort of investments would make you more productive. If you’re a graphic designer, for example, you might decide that setting up a second monitor would speed up your process.
6) Study Your Processes And Simplify
Is the thought of going back to your home office tinged with dread? Are your professional practices so complex that they’re simply overwhelming? Your home office isn’t doing you any favors if it’s making your work too complicated to tolerate. It’s time to simplify.
An organized office is an efficient office. The more stuff you have crammed into your office, the longer it takes to sort yourself out and get down to work. Beware the pitfalls of over-organization. If you’ve got a dynamite filing system that keeps everything looking tidy but makes it impossible to quickly find the documents you need, you need to streamline your system.
How To Do It:
Embrace the value of minimalism. If filing, organizing, and straightening things is eating up a significant portion of your workday, you need to clean out your workspace. If your housekeeping process gets too complex, clutter will pile up with shocking speed when you start slacking off.
Sort files and equipment with easy access in mind. As a rule of thumb, keep your desk clear of items you’re not immediately working on. (This principle holds for your computer screen as well as your physical desk!) Maintaining focus in your working environment will make it harder for your mind to wander when you’re trying to be productive.
7) Find A Workable Storage Solution
If you’re putting your home office to good use, prosperity might bring you fresh troubles in the form of too many documents. Because we’ve already discussed the importance of fighting back clutter, you need to come up with an effective storage system that preserves the focused integrity of your workspace.
How To Do It:
If you’re getting too cluttered, it may be time to consider expanding the amount of square footage devoted to your home office. If expanding isn’t an option, invest in workable storage systems – filing cabinets, shelves, folders, binders, and all the other materials that help you stay organized.
Cabinets and shelves might start filling up your open floor space, but they’re preferable to unruly piles of documents spreading all over your home office. Remember that you need to devote time to labeling, managing, and purging your files regularly so that they are a help rather than a hindrance.