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Six Simple Ideas

For those of us who work from home, whether part or full-time, the quality of our workspace has a real impact on productivity.  We can make do with a card table in the corner of the living room for a while, or pop open the laptop on the kitchen table to “clock in.”  If you plan on working from home for a substantial period of time, however, establishing a pleasant and professional workspace is a must.  Here are some simple ideas to create a permanent workspace that produces creativity and consistency.

1.        Designate an area away from hub of family activity – In our house, the kitchen is where we spend 75% of our family time, so a corner desk in there for a home office would not be conducive to productive activity!  Late last year, I convinced my husband to surrender the formal dining room, and begrudgingly, he gave in.  My home office presently sits in the room opposite the kitchen and family area, separated by a wall, but still with easy access to those rooms through a back-entryway.  Now I am just steps away from the kitchen table, where I can supervise homework and other activities, but have the privacy of my own workspace at the same time.

2.       Keep the area clean and de-cluttered – If an item in the workspace is unnecessary to the work you are doing in that home office, then it should be removed from the area.  If the area is kept clean and clutter is kept out, the activity in that workspace will continue to be productive, paying work.  If the office becomes the family’s dumping grounds or the baby’s newest toy box, chances are productivity will be affected.

3.       Keep it family-friendly, but not family-central – This one can be tough, especially if you have multiple little ones.  The idea is to welcome your family into your space, especially if you work full-time from home, but ultimately, they may tend to make themselves too much “at home” while you are “at work!”  One idea is to take several breaks during work time to give them attention and care, then “clock back in.”  Another method might be to involve them in what you are doing.  If they are older children, they might even like to “work” with you; stamping/labeling envelopes, filing, stocking supplies, etc.  In the last few weeks, I’ve begun teaching my nine-year-old daughter how to type properly so that she can “work” as a transcriber for me.  She’s excited to be a part of my work and is learning a valuable skill for her own future in the meantime.

4.       Surround yourself with things you love – Put up framed pictures of your family, friends, pets, etc. to brighten your workspace and prepare you mentally to work! Surrounding yourself with things that stimulate positive, productive feelings in you will pay off in your profitability.  A couple of meaningful quotes are always a good addition, for some, it’s a unique pen or figurine.  My personal favorite object sitting in my office is my puppy, a Chihuahua/Yorkie mix, who believes her main job requirement is to warm my feet while I work!

5.       Keep temperature stable and comfortable – If possible, keep the temperature in your home office pleasant and consistent.  It is imperative that you be comfortable to be productive!  If you are too cold or too hot, you won’t be as motivated, and you’ll easily become sleepy.  Though this may sound like too simple an idea, temperature is an important factor in determining where you set up your home office.

6.       Create an atmosphere of productivity – This can be very easy to do; play your favorite music while you work, at the volume you prefer.  I personally recommend internet sites like Pandora for a free customizable radio station with very little advertising.  If you get up from your computer to take a break, the station automatically pauses after a few minutes to preserve your free play time.  Another simple way to create the ambiance is ensure plenty of lighting.  Keeping healthy munchies and your favorite beverage readily available also adds to the atmosphere.  You’ll be more productive on a comfortable full stomach than if all you can think about is lunch break!

All of these important, but easy-to-do ideas will assist you in creating a home office that promotes your creativity and self-discipline, furthering your success as a work-at-home professional.

Do you work from home in the Katy area?  What are some ideas that you have learned along the way to keep your home office comfortable, and family happy at the same time?  Share with us your thoughts!

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