Follow these six tips to create a home workspace that’ll make you happier and more productive.
One of the keys to successfully working at home — aside from self-discipline and a strong Wi-Fi connection — is having a comfortable, convenient workspace. And no, the couch doesn’t count.
Before you choose a workspace, consider the type of work you’ll be doing. Are you sketching, building spreadsheets, handling clerical tasks, or taking business calls?
Once you answer that question, think about the materials and storage space necessary to do your work efficiently. If you’re a graphic designer, you might want a desktop monitor so you can build templates with more ease and speed. Or, if you’re running a business, a dual copier-printer might prove necessary.
It’s easy to jump from spot to spot at home and get distracted by counter clutter, home responsibilities, and not feeling in the mood to work. That’s why establishing a dedicated work area is crucial to your success.
When creating your workspace, consider what type of environment you operate best in. Do you need total privacy, a little background noise, or easy access to the kitchen for coffee refills?
It’s also a good idea to “define what derails you,” so you can eliminate distractions. Is it the growing pile of dishes in the sink, for example, the street noise below your bedroom, or the appeal of the TV? Understanding what facilitates and hinders your work will help you identify the best place to set up shop.
Above all, it’s important to settle on a place you enjoy spending time in.
If it is pleasant and comfortable, you will be more likely to sit and work in that location.
If you don’t have a spare room to transform into a home office — or even space for a full desk — get creative. Using an old armoire as a makeshift office. When it’s open you are at work, [and] when it’s closed you enjoy an organized, attractive space for other uses.
You could also use a rolling file cart to store your laptop, papers, and other work materials. Simply wheel it to your dining table or kitchen counter and you have a mobile home workspace.
When you are done working it can be rolled into a closet or corner out of the way.
Even if most of your work is online, it’s still a good idea to have a limited amount of storage space for papers that inevitably pile up and crowd your work area. Think: tax documents, pay stubs, bank statements, and bills.
If you have ample shelving or drawer space, opt for file boxes or stylish baskets. For papers you need to have on hand throughout the day, use a desktop file sorter. Make sure you label your files and file boxes neatly and clearly, this will make it easier to locate what you need and help you stay organized when new papers pile up.
Turn your work area into a place you love.
If it is a room, consider painting it a color you like and make sure there is good lighting.
You should also invest in a supportive, ergonomically correct chair and position your computer to eye-level.
Other options: brighten your space with greenery, hang a favorite piece of art, set up speakers, or bring in a fan or small space heater. Your work area sets the mood for getting things done, so you want to make it a comfortable, inspiring space.
For a clean, uncluttered workspace, limiting framed photos and knick-knacks.
Reserve your desk space for everyday supplies, like your stapler, planner, or stash of pens, and display keepsakes on floating shelves so you have more room to work.
Corralling loose wires, cords, and tech devices into a “technology box” for easy access, and setting up a drop zone for papers you need to file. A discreet wall pocket or hanging file holder will keep your desk clear.