The home office can serve as the sanctuary of the busy and harried businessperson. When work is especially stressful, one needs a place to retreat where thinking tasks can be completed without distraction or interruption. But this environment also represents opportunity for productivity as you tackle your most challenging projects. Here are few tips and secrets for a more productive workspace at home:
Out with the Clutter – It’s hard to think straight when there is clutter surrounding you. When you are in your office, keep it free of papers and files by using a file cabinet or other storage system for essential paperwork. Use bookshelves or entertainment centers to store items that don’t need to be at your fingertips. Stash away anything that could be distracting, such as a television or gaming system.
Don’t Miss Your Mark – Try to locate your home office near the center of your house so you can easily get into it from all directions without having to pass through other family areas. When possible, position it so that there is some privacy and access to natural light.
Make Your Office a Haven – Treat your home office like it’s important, even if some members of the family are not too thrilled about having you set up shop in their midst. Keep it well lit and as stress-free as possible and make sure that there is room for all the items you need, including your computer and office equipment, desk and chairs, storage space for your files and supplies, filing cabinets, bookcases/cabinets for entertainment items (DVDs, CDs, etc.) and other elements.
Take the Time – Set aside a few minutes every day to prepare for work so that you can jump into it when the time comes. Having everything you need at your fingertips will help speed things along, as well as keep you from wasting time looking for supplies, equipment and information during working hours.
Don’t Be a Stranger – Make sure to get out of the office once in a while so that you don’t feel cooped up and have some time to yourself. However, you don’t want to go too far away; it’s best if your home office is near the rest of the household so you can keep track of what is going on.
Work Smart – Although a home office does not have to be a formal one (“formal” offices are typically set up inside a building), try to set up your home office in a way that is conducive to producing quality work. When setting up a desk, make sure the arrangement of furniture and equipment allows you to have everything right at your fingertips without having to reach or move items every time you want or need something.
Balance Work with Play – Don’t spend all your time in the office. Give yourself time off to relax, rest and recuperate from your work so you can return to it with renewed energy.