Home Office Tips: Organizing a Home Office
More people work from home today than ever before. Having a home office, or area suited to the tasks at hand can help make this process easier.
Whether telecommuting two days a week, working as a freelance journalist or trying to start a home based business, having an area set up for work that keeps the distractions of home at a minimum is crucial.
Learning how to organize the home office can increase productivity and making working from home that much more feasible.
#1 Designate the Space
No matter if there is a separate room serving as the home office, or just a desk set up in a corner of the kitchen, designating the space to be the official office is crucial. This means utilizing and setting up the space for work.
If possible, try not to let that one area double as a play area for children, a place for household items to collect and if more than one person in the household works from home, every attempt should be made to create separate work areas.
The distractions should be kept to a minimum, and work materials should be kept at hand.
If paperwork becomes buried under children’s art work or household receipts, chances are that more time will be lost putting things in order again and again that could be spent getting work done, resulting in longer hours spent working.
#2 Treat the Area like a Workplace Office
This step goes hand in hand with step one. A workplace office may have a few items to personalize the space, but primarily, it is used to get work done, and most items are work related.
Attempt to keep wall coverings and nearby shelves free from items not part of the workplace. The items closest to hand should be those related to the job, not to life at home.
#3 Home Office Filing and Bulletin Boards
A filing system that is well organized and right at hand can help increase productivity by keeping all materials nearby.
Create separate folders and bins, whether used for physical papers, or create folders on the computer desktop to contain current work, future work, and past or completed tasks.
Shelves and bins hung from the wall, can be used to help keep the desk free of clutter. Try using wire bins, or colored plastic or wooden baskets for storing papers at hand.
A bulletin board can be used to pin important tasks that must be attended to immediately, so that they are directly at eye level and cannot be misplaced or missed.
Permanent filing cabinets can be used to store completed work for the length of time that these items will remain relevant.
Once a year, purge any files or materials that are no longer current, to help make room for newer files. Try to avoid filing current or ongoing work out of sight, as it may become harder to keep track of.
Filing cabinets should be easy to flip through and find papers in. If a cabinet is getting too tight to easily put new work into, it is time to either purge older work, or expand to a second cabinet.
#4 Shelving and Bookcases
Lining the walls of the room with shelving and bookcases can help keep materials neat and well organized. Shelving systems that are rearrangable and easily put up and taken down work well for holding binders and books of different sizes with a great deal of turnover.
If the materials to be used are more permanent in nature, consider having wooden bookcases built in the style of the home, and anchored to the wall for safety.
When working from home, be sure that the space is comfortable, and customized to fit the user.
One of the benefits of working from home is the ability to tailor the workplace to the needs and desires of the person utilizing it, so take the time to customize the area and find different systems that work.
Treat the home office professionally, and not as just another area of the home, and begin to take control of the work at home lifestyle.