By Aimee Woodley
Working from home is very common these days.
Even if you don’t work from home full-time, chances are you’ve brought work home with you at some point. In the spirit of our “House & Home” issue, I thought it would be the perfect chance to talk about home offices.
Before you start creating a Pinterest board or go shopping for a label maker for your perfect home office, you probably ought to think about the location itself. Where in your house are you going to be the most productive? While that spare bedroom might have the most space for you to spread out, if it’s next to your teenager’s room and they like to practice heavy metal drum solos, you might want to look elsewhere. Find a place where you will be able to concentrate on the work at hand, with plenty of light, if possible. But beware. Windows can also be our enemy, with all of their distracting views to tempt us. But, if there aren’t ideal options available for where to put your desk with good distraction-free lighting, that’s okay. Just move ahead and work with the space you have, even if that tiny dark corner is your only option.
Functionality should always come first in a home office, despite the “fashion before function” saying. Think about how you work. Do you work from a laptop or a desktop? Do you prefer to stand or sit on a yoga ball? If you get distracted easily, maybe face your desk away from that window instead of right up against it. Whichever option is going to help you be the most efficient and productive, go with it. If you’re sharing your office space with the living room, see if you can point yourself away from the TV. Maybe think about investing in those folding room dividers or a large plant to separate your space from the family space. Having a boundary will not just help you be more productive, but it will also help signal to your family that when you are in your workspace, it’s time for serious business.
The organization of your office is critical. Now, I don’t mean every bit of your space has to be meticulous – although that is nice, isn’t it? Have a system, even if it is a system of piles, so that you know where things are at all times. Other people like to have filing cabinets and dry erase boards. Find what works with your style.
Now, I know I said function before fashion, but it is okay to have some nice things in your home office. If your office feels like a cave, are you going to want to work in it? Probably not. Spruce it up a bit with some greenery (fake is just fine), and you’ll be surprised by how it can make a windowless room feel livelier. Maybe pick out a dry erase board or bulletin board with a bit of color or spiff up your desk with a funky lamp. Have something that will make you want to be in your workspace. And you don’t have to break the bank either! Hit up the local thrift shop or online yard sale pages. Lastly, be proud of your work. Display your achievements and awards on the walls and shelves. When you walk in the room, it’s good to be reminded why you do what you do so that you’re motivated to have another great day at work!