Updated: Dec 10, 2019
The benefits of working from home we hear about most—saving money, reducing stress, increasing focus are significant; however, what excites me about a home office is creating a truly personalized work space. Do you want purple walls? Does sitting on an exercise ball help you think? Will blaring heavy metal music keep your creative juices flowing? Is your paper management style “unique”? No problem when you work alone in your own space!
5 Steps to Create an Office of Positive Energy and High Productivity
1. Your Desk and Chair: Choose Wisely
Whether it is the old-fashioned desk you had in your room as a kid, a modern chrome table, or a slab of wood on two sawhorses your work surface needs to be large enough for you to spread out as necessary and have places to store everything you use daily. Pair it with a comfortable chair and be certain both are at a height that will prevent neck, back, wrist and eye strain.
2. Beware of Horizontal Surfaces
Many people view a flat, open surface as an invitation to place random items there “for now.” Don’t fall into that trap! Before you know it, your new office will be a cluttered mess of piles. Establish systems and designate spaces for everything that comes in the door; limit the spots for dumping things here and there.
3. Fun with Files
Although we keep hearing about becoming a paperless society, my experience is that very few businesses have achieved this goal 100%. When considering the type of filing cabinet to purchase, you’ll want to consider three categories of documents: Active—used daily or weekly, General—such as financial or insurance documents, and Archive—for information that needs to be kept but very rarely accessed. Color-coding files has proven immensely helpful for many of my clients.
4. Missing the Company Supply Closet
Yes, a down side of working from home is that you must supply (and store) every tool needed to keep the business running smoothly. Again, there are three divisions of space to designate: Daily—pens/paperclips/stapler, Occasional—perhaps a 3-hole punch or plastic sheet protectors, and Inventory—extra printer paper and folders for creating new files. Don’t use your prime storage space for inventory items.
5. Do Take It Personally
With the basic office ingredients determined, it’s time to let your personality shine. Surround yourself with things you love and that inspire you. Use colors that give you energy, post motivational quotes, hang pictures of your favorite people or animals, burn a scented candle. Create a Vision Board of your short, medium and long-term business goals. Allow as much natural lighting as possible and supplement with good lamps—no irritating fluorescent bulbs allowed!
Whether you’re a “numbers person” who gets excited by the spreadsheet of data outlining reasons to work from home or more “artsy” and wowed by the aesthetic benefits, keep these tips in mind for the ultimate home office environment. I recently read that plants in our offices can increase our productivity by 15%. Sure, you must keep them watered, but they won’t ever drag you into office politics or personal drama!