One of my proudest achievements of the last year was finally creating a dedicated workspace for myself. The guest bedroom and the second largest bedroom in the house was virtually unused most of the year and it was starting to just be a storage space where things we didn’t know what to do with came to live. We don’t live in a huge house – it’s exceptionally average in it’s size (a 3 bed semi) so having such a large chunk of it going to waste seemed… well, a waste.
As a freelancer, using our dining room table as my ‘office’ just wasn’t cutting it any more and so we decided to create a home office out of this unused and unloved area in our home. Obviously, not everyone will have an ‘extra’ room to dedicate to a home office but I learned a few things in the process of creating this space and making it work for me and these are tips you can apply to any area you carve out for working from home, whether that’s your full time job or if it’s just to pay the bills or a space for kids to do their homework.
Check out Jen’s article sharing ideas on creating a space-saving office here for carving out that extra space.
Today, I want to talk about the a few of the most important factors creating your perfect workspace – and yes, all of these were considerations I made whilst planning my own!
This may seem obvious but it’s worth mentioning regardless. Being able to see your what you’re doing without having to strain your eyes means your body and your mind are able to function and concentrate on the work you do. If you have the benefit of being able to chose from a few areas to create your work zone, go for the spot that gets a lot of natural light – it will raise your spirits if you are spending a lot of time there given the benefits of Vitamin D and the propensity of sunlight to raise your serotonin levels, keeping you motivated and your concentration levels high.
If the area you’ve carved out doesn’t allow for much natural light than there’s nothing wrong with faking it! Ensure you use ambient (general overhead lighting) as well as task lighting (a good directional desk lamp) to shine as much light as possible on your work station.
With miscellaneous paperwork, bills, invoices, receipts and tax forms cluttering up your working area, you may find it more difficult to work efficiently so having enough adequate storage is paramount to an organised workspace.
If you don’t have a lot of storage space, consider scanning any important documents and then backing them up in a Cloud for safe keeping.
If you work in an industry that requires more than a computer to do your job, be sure to include plenty of the right kind of storage to house your things. For instance, if you are in interior design, having an area dedicated to fabric and wallpaper samples, paint chips and more will make it easier to keep organised. Use the vertical spaces in your area as well by putting up shelving so that you are not using up valuable floor space.
Make a list of all the things you may need storage for and then ensure you have the correct folders, boxes, shelving and cabinets dedicated to these things before you start your office planning.
Planners and Diaries
Having a place for random paperwork is one consideration but having an area to organise your thoughts is completely another.
I use a weekly written planner, and a couple of small notebooks and an online calendar to keep track of my important tasks for the day, week and month as well as for ideas that I might want to come back to later.
It may take some trial and error to figure out the best system that works for you but there are lots of online resources and stationary suppliers that will assist you make the mess of information in your head much easier to categorise and keep on top of.
Room to Work
You may only have a small nook carved out of the bedroom or you may have an entire room as your home office but no matter what space you have to work with, ensure you at least have enough space to be get your job done. Being cramped into a tiny alcove may be a necessity but this makes it vitally important to be more organised. Make sure there’s enough space around you to comfortably use a laptop, keyboard and mouse and write things down too. Keep your desk area as tidy as you can with file boxes or wall files – clear the space and clear your head!
If your desk chair doesn’t provide the correct support for your back and legs, it can lead to all sorts of physical problems down the road. If you are sitting down for long periods of time, your back will thank you for proper lumbar support in your chair. No matter what style of chair you have, be sure to take breaks and stretch your legs every hour.
Making the Space Your Own
One of the best things I find about working from home is that I’m not stuck in a boring personality-less cubicle. Incorporating your own style into your home office is therefore something that you don’t have to do but probably should do. Blend the office area into your own décor by using colours you love, including ornaments, decorative accessories and mementos, pictures of loved ones or happy times and perhaps a few plants or a small vase of flowers to breathe life and personality into the space.
Moodboards are also fun, especially if you are in a creative industry, to help invigorate and inspire you when you hit those inevitable blocks. They can be personalised in any way you like and you’ll always have a visual reminder of those things you love to inspire you to work hard and achieve your goals.
So those are the elements that make my own perfectly organised home office. What would be in your perfect home office and how do you keep organised? I’d love to hear your thoughts!