When searching for a new apartment last December, I mentally kept in the back of my mind, need space for organizing a home office for productivity. Did the potential new home have enough space to create a designated home office? In my old place, my kitchen table doubled as my work space. This ultimately lowered my productivity as the space also held other functions: working, eating, watching TV, reading, and relaxing. My table remained cluttered with all aspects of my life which caused items and lists to became lost or hidden, not to mention how easily the clutter derailed my output by distracting me to declutter. After moving into my new place, I finally created a space to place a desk, computer, printer, and all my work files and supplies. A space restricted to work and only work. Ahh, bliss.
Enter Coronavirus Pandemic
In mid-March, lives changed drastically with the onset of Covid-19. Businesses shut their doors, offices required employees to work from home, and thousands were laid off or furloughed. This led to a previously coveted practice: working remotely from a home office.
Over the last 4 months, people have accepted working from home as the new norm. Yet, many are miserable. Recent clients contacted me to help them organize a home office for productivity. Most often, I’m told, “I just can’t work on my couch anymore. Help.”
How do you start? What do you need? Should you invest in a desk? Clear out that extra room that’s become storage to create a home office? Do you need better organizing materials? Should you even bother? It’s been 4 months and you hope to return to a work office in 1-2 months. Yet many businesses say they won’t open their doors until 2021. Others say they’ll remain remote due to productivity output and cost effectiveness.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to create a home office space that allows you to maximize your output. Read below to learn how to organize a home office for productivity.
Why Bother with Organizing a Home Office for Productivity?
- Catch all: When you don’t actively focus on keeping your work space a work space, it becomes a catch all for the other areas in your life. Then when you feel motivated to work, you’re unable to be productive because you’re busy clearing space on your desk, browsing through piled up mail, or distracted by reading old magazines.
- Job security: In these difficult times, when many businesses are firing or furloughing employees to survive, if you’re able to show that you’re an asset, you could make it through the next round of cuts.
- Productivity: when distractions are no longer preventing you from working, you’re able to increase your output. Rather than rearranging your monitors for the 5th time, cleaning out your fridge, or relabeling all the files in your file cabinet, you’re able to focus on your work.
- Satisfaction: with isolation being the new name of the game, we need to achieve self-satisfaction in as many places as possible. Stave off the depression. Stop the walls from closing in. Allow yourself to feel good about the work you’re producing.
What’s the Best Home Office Setup for Productivity?
This 100% depends on you and how your brain works.
You first have to decide where your permanent office space will be located in your home. Near windows to let in natural light or in a room with four solid walls and only florescent lighting. Do you only have space in one corner or will you work from the kitchen nook? How about in the spare bedroom? What about converting a closet into an office? Multiple options, so choose the one that best fits your needs for a home office.
Then decide how you need your office set up to be productive (see everything or hide everything). Personally, I have to have a cleared desk, with all papers in labeled folders, and what I’m working on in one to-do pile. After an hour or two, my desk will be littered with my work, but that initial start, I need that clean slate, with everything hidden.
Finally, what do you need? Do you need to move a desk or table into your space or is one already there or built into the wall? Buy a computer? More monitors? Do you need a new chair or a filing cabinet? Imagine what you loved best about your space at the work office and try to recreate it in your home.
Organization Tips for Home Office
- Chair: this is the most vital piece when organizing a home office for productivity. Why? Because if you don’t have the perfect ergonomic chair that fits you, you’ll create physical issues in the body that will deter you from working. You’ll start dreading sitting in that chair. Find a chair that is the right height and shape so that your posture, comfort, and overall health is supported.
- Desk: you need a space that is designated as your work desk. Don’t use it to eat dinner, or watch TV, or to gather the kids’ toys. Christen it as your work space, so that your brain will know it’s time to work when you sit in that chair.
- Categorize items together: like goes with like. Separate office supplies, paper, envelopes, files, books, notebooks, etc. and store each category together. Items that you use every day need a home that’s within arm’s reach when sitting in your chair.
- Organizing materials: Buying organizing materials will help you separate office items so it’s easy for you to see, grab, and utilize. Use trays for drawers (an office supply separation must), labels on folders and binders (either hidden in a drawer or displayed on a shelf), bins for shelves, magazine holders, wall organizers (I love cork boards), and weekly planner notepads.
- Happy energy: you can choose an austere desk and surrounding walls, to mimic a neutral work office. Or you can choose to surround yourself with plants, positive quotes, beautiful photos, diffusers, and other items that make you happy when you view it.
- Maintain: work happens and will disrupt your organized office. It’s okay. Maintain it by resetting at the end of each work day or every Friday. Personally, at the end of each day, I clear my desk, and create a new to-do list and pile for the next day.
- Recycling bin: The last suggested item for you is a recycling bin near your work space. Throughout the day, I relish crumbling my to-do lists (after I’ve completed what’s on it of course!) and tossing them in my recycling bin.
Are you feeling motivated to organize a home office for productivity? Are you able to visualize the perfect workplace in your home? Create your home office to-do list and get started today! Feel free to share your before and after photos below! For additional tips and tricks, don’t hesitate to reach out!