Working at home is incredibly rewarding, but it also presents unique challenges. Especially for beginners who have never been in this kind of independent environment, it’s easy to assume that there’s no trick to creating an efficient home office.
While working from home provides lots of autonomy, this is also the space where you entertain guests, take care of your family, relax, and handle all other aspects of your life. If you’re not careful, those areas will mix with your professional life, derailing your productivity and making it hard to stay focused. Designating a space just for work and making an office that encourages productivity can help you stay on track once you clock in. Follow these three tips to get started.
Make Your Space Comfortable and Efficient
Image via Flickr by chefranden
Comfort is arguably the biggest priority in your office space. You’ll spend hundreds of hours here each year, and to ensure that time is productive, you must be comfortable. Of course, you don’t want a setting that will leave you feeling sleepy or too relaxed. Start with ergonomic furniture and computer accessories. Choose a desk that gives you enough space to work on comfortably. Then, follow these extra steps to create the ideal work environment:
- Find a quiet space: To minimize social distractions, choose the quietest portion of your house for the office.
- Ensure you have enough light: Spending hours in a dark, secluded room can leave you feeling anxious and unhappy. Take advantage of natural light, if possible, and add other lights as needed to brighten your space.
- Install a dehumidifier: If you’re physically uncomfortable, you’ll have trouble focusing and grow to dislike working from home. Install a dehumidifier to ensure the indoor air quality around your workspace is pleasant.
Keep Things Organized
“A place for everything and everything in its place,” is a good motto for your home office. Put reference materials, whether it’s a copy of the AP style guide or the DSM-5, and everything you need to run your business in an easily reachable place. You won’t waste time searching for things this way, and you won’t have to leave the office to get supplies — literally opening the door to distractions.
Designate a spot where you’ll keep your electronics together, such as your computer, printer, and fax machine. Place your desk close to power outlets, but consider hiding the cords and cables to make the space feel more ordered. Being organized and uncluttered will help you focus and mitigate work-related anxiety.
Wherever you set up your office, you need to be able to shut out the distractions that exist in the other rooms of your house. For example, having a TV in your home office is a bad idea. Also, consider setting up office hours and asking your family to let you focus on work during that time.
When you imagine working from home, you may expect to clock in from a hammock and only work from your laptop. But experienced telecommuters will tell you that you need to be as organized at home as you would be in a company office. Try the above tips to create the efficient space you need to enjoy working from home.