With summer underway, the daily trudge to your office might feel like more a slog than normal. After all, there are girl’s lunch dates to be had and tee times to keep. There are kids to play with and new destinations around Tucson to explore.
Why waste your time commuting everyday when you could work from home?
By creating a functional and beautiful home office, you can be ultra productive and make time for the things that matter most to you.
Office needs can vary from person to person. Some people might need endless filing cabinets. Other folks might benefit from huge bookshelves. But, there are a few essentials from which we all benefit.
Even if you spend most of your time on the computer, working in the dark can significantly reduce your productivity. Light helps you stay awake and alert. And, it can help boost your mood.
This doesn’t mean you need to equip your home office with florescent tub lighting. The last thing you’d want to do is turn any section of your home into a cubicle!
Rather, look for soft layers of light. These might include:
- An elegant desk lamp.
- Overhead pendant lights.
- Tall lamps to brighten a corner.
- Spot lighting to illuminate a particular art piece.
Your office desk acts like command central. It should be big enough to handle all of your daily essentials without overwhelming your space. Consider what your daily work essentials are. These might include:
- Docking Station
- External Hard Drive
- Mouse and Keyboard
You’ll also want to think about how you like to use your desk. Do you like to stand, even if only occasionally? It might be worth considering a hydraulic standing desk that can be raised and lowered as needed.
While there are a lot of health benefits to having a standing desk, asking your body to stand day-in and day-out can be a bit much. It’s always a good idea to have a comfortable chair that’s easily accessible.
In fact, a recent study released by researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health that having the flexibility to sit of stand throughout the day increases productivity by 46%.
Moral of the story: don’t ditch your chair completely.
Additional Home Office Features to Consider
Beyond the three key office essentials, there are several other items you might need.
- Storage – What tools do you use for your business? Rather than have these scattered haphazardly throughout your office, give them a home. Make sure you have enough storage to handle each item.
- Exterior Entry – Do plan to have clients or colleagues visit you at home? If so, are you comfortable with them using the front entry? Or would you prefer they use an alternate door? Having a separate entrance to your office can help you create clear boundaries between your personal and professional life.
- Seating for Guests – Chances are pretty good you aren’t going to ask clients or colleagues to sit on the floor. Make sure you have a clear space for them to sit and/or collaborate with you.
- Natural Light – When possible, incorporating natural light in you home office can make the space warmer and more inviting. It can also help boost your mood and improve your efficiency.
- Inspirational Touches – Why spend time working in a sterile box? Give your office some personality! Add art that inspires you. Hang a few framed images of loved ones. These personal mementos add life to your home office.
- A Door that Closes – While you can create office nooks in common areas, sometimes having a door that closes can be essential. This might be because you need peace and quiet to work. You might find being able to close the door helps you unplug once you’re done for the day. Or it could be you need the option to close off your office from the rest of the home for privacy reasons.
- Space to Plan – Do you like to spread out as you work and plan? Make sure you have enough space to do so. This could mean adding a large whiteboard to one wall. It might require you to have extra floor space for laying out a project. Or it could be you’d benefit from adding an extra desk for spreading out projects.
- Proximity to the Bathroom – It may seem silly, but it’s important to consider how close you are to the nearest bathroom. Think the pool house would be the perfect working retreat? Does it requires tripping over lawn chairs just to use the loo? That might not be ideal.
- Proximity to the Kitchen – Whether it’s grabbing a snack or refilling your coffee cup, will your home office be a comfortable distance from the kitchen?
Bonus: 3 Easy Steps to De-clutter Your Home Office
Clutter is not only a visual reminder of all the things you still need to do, it can make you less productive! By setting aside a small, dedicated chunk of time to organize your office, you can save bunch of time moving forward. Use these three tips:
3. Sort Through the Paper
Most of us have a tendency to hang onto documents. This might be documents you’re not sure if you need. It could be old receipts you’re keeping for tax reasons. Or it might just be a stack you’ve yet to get rid of.
Take the time to sort through the loose paper floating around your office. Services like shoeboxed can help you digitally keep and record all of your old receipts.
If you’re holding onto old documents you need to keep, consider scanning them and saving them digitally. Or get a filing cabinet and add them to a labeled folder.
Found a stack of papers you just kept to keep? Those are the easiest to get rid of. Toss them in the recycling bin!
2. Sort Your Supplies
Pens that no longer write. Staplers that only work half the time. Twelve half-used sticky-note pads. All of these excess items are just consuming your space. Take the time to sort throughout office supplies.
Toss everything that doesn’t work. Corral duplicates in one place so that they can get used before you buy more. Donate or sell unneeded duplicates. (Do you really need three calculators?)
3. Give Items a Home
It’s really hard to put everything away if everything doesn’t have a home. Take stock of the supplies you are keeping. Where can each one live while not in use?
It might be that you’ll benefit from buying drawer organizers or wall organizers. These can be useful places to put items like paper clips and extra highlighters.