Whether your employer has provided you with an opportunity to work from home or you’re an entrepreneur starting your business, your home office should be a place of productivity. Moreover, the choice of the location of your home office is crucial to your success. Too close to the activities going on and you will get distracted. Too far away, and you may feel isolated. Another concern is the “7-Eleven” effect; in other words, you are always open for business and in a very short time you find yourself exhausted. But, there are ways to manage these issues to make your home office experience a success.
Allocating a suitable space for your home office
Finding space for a home office can be a major concern. Maybe converting your attic for use as a home office would work for you? Maybe working in the corner of a lounge or kitchen works? A word of warning though – it is not a sensible idea to have your home office in your bedroom if you can help it. To ensure you get a good night’s rest, try to keep your bedroom associated with sleep and not work. Whatever your space allocation, having a true home office is a fantastic way to keep your overheads low – you are already paying for the space, and the real hidden value of a home office is that it doesn’t have to look like a boring corporate office with an oak desk and wall-to-wall filing cabinets.
It is worth taking the time to design your home office to make the space work for you. Make it comfortable, but not too comfortable. Make it warm and inviting, but not a playroom for the kids. Make it a place to work, but also a place to live. Confused? Don’t be, because this is your space to do with as you wish. Just keep in mind your needs and plan accordingly.
And, even though your children will disagree, your home office is not somewhere they should be playing. In fact, your whole family should be made aware from the start that your office space is out of bounds and that you have not to be disturbed unless there is an emergency.
Once you have settled in your space, you should hopefully find that working from home is interesting, varied and provides an opportunity to deliver results that will make a real difference to your life. It won’t be difficult to work if you have a well-organized, fully equipped, home office that you are comfortable in.
Organizing your space and your schedule
The key to a well-run home office and a satisfied worker is this: create a work schedule to replicate going into the workplace every day. Don’t wake up tomorrow and ask yourself what you are going to do that day – have a plan. Write it down. Also, have set working hours. Like a normal working environment, go into your office from 9-5 and that’s it; leave for the day; turn off the light and shut the door, just as you would if your commute was miles away instead of inches from the couch.
It is also a smart idea to turn the audible notification off for new email on your computer. It is both a distraction and a pulling mechanism. Every ding, dong, or beep and you will be running to the computer like Pavlov’s dogs which will take you away from or interrupt your ‘me time’ or family time.
Your home office should be a comfortable working environment. Design it in a way that inspires you. Organize your calendar and your files to maintain productivity. Make sure it is a place that is free from interruptions. And, make sure you are done when the working day is done.
Remember: Work smarter, not harder!