Whether you are running a small empire from your home address or simply escaping the office environment once in a while, working from home takes some serious thought, and balancing your MacBook on the kitchen island is not the route to productivity.
Creating a dedicated space in your home that suits your working needs is vital for your work life balance – ensuring you can focus on work tasks when needed and then properly relax when its time to log off. In a ideal world this would be a room dedicated solely to your work, but that’s not always the reality. However with clever planning and the right mindset, even a small desk in the corner of your kitchen can be come a hub of creativity.
Of course the correct set up of your work station, along with having all the requisite tech up and running, is vital to get the job done, but it’s important to remember a home office is still part of your home and should reflect your taste as well as being a pleasant place to spend time. After all, you are choosing this place over a corporate environment – so take the time to ensure it is personal to you. However big or small, your home office space can be one of the nicest places in your house.
Create a setting that reflects your personality
What ever you are working on, you should feel enabled to pour your real self into the task at hand. From business ideas, to interview pitches, and even employee appraisals, you are an integral part of the outcome, so ensure your work space speaks to who you are.
Stock it with personalised stationary or even a note book that you love and take pride in filling. Ditch the Bic for a beautiful pen and keep a space on your desk or shelves for a paper weight or ornament that makes you smile or reminds you of a special place. Setting the tone of your space in this way will help you to stay grounded and engaged.
Make sure everything is to hand
Once you have settled do to a task you don’t want any distractions, so ensure that your home office has a place for everything you need. Opt for a desk with enough spaces and compartments for all your work tools, and make a feature of essential items such as desk lamps and chair cushions. A well stocked and attractive work space will mean less distractions in the long run.
Surround yourself with inspiration
Working from home might not come with a lengthy commute but let’s face it, it is still work. So surrounding your self with inspiration, encouraging you to knuckle down is vital when morale is dipping, especially if you are working alone.
We are fans of the inspirational quote, so we have a number of these printed and framed on shelves above our desks. Keep any successes at the front of your mind –you may not have an award to grace your desk but a simple post-it note, thank you card from a client or press cutting detailing a project that went well can be enough to keep you going when work seems like a slog.
Keep it tidy
You might not have a facilities manager or office cleaner on your back come Monday morning, but a sloppy home working space is a recipe for wasted hours. Invest in some gorgeous storage bins and boxes in order to compartmentalise and keep your desk clear. We keep pretty document boxes under our desks to file away the important stuff, while all our tech gets stashed in a fun canvas crate. We also swear by pretty pencil cases and pen pots to keep everything colour coordinated and sleek.
Don’t allow coffee cups to pile up or an empty packet from the almonds you snacked on the previous afternoon. Clear your desk of all but the essentials at the end of every day so you have a clean slate in the morning.
Keep work and home separate
Tempting as it can, never work in PJs. ‘Show up’ every day and for us that means getting dressed as if we are facing the outside world, even if that is only over the phone. It goes with out saying that the TV must be off and also try to be disciplined about mixing household chores with your actual work. Quickly popping to the kitchen to put the dishwasher on is one thing, getting distracted and rearranging your children’s playroom for two hours is another.
The joy of working from home is that you can allow yourself time to do all the other things you value in life – attending your child’s school concert, going to the gym, or grabbing a coffee with a friend – but schedule those things in your diary so that they don’t start to take over your working time.
Also try to keep work and home distinct in the things that you use in your home office. Have a separate work mug which perfectly matches the deco in the office – keep it for work time and try to keep other life clutter out of the office. Your children’s school bags or husband’s bike helmet have no place in your office – this is your space. If it’s a room with a door that you can close then great, but even if it’s just a corner of the sitting room where you can fit a desk, make sure everyone knows that it’s your area.
These strict rules mean that when work is done and its time to clock off, you can happily step away from your office space, knowing that the rest of my home is dedicated to family time and fun.