Home office. Study. Kitchen counter.
Most people have always had a little space in their homes for getting work done. Usually some kind of office or clerical work. Paying the bills and things like that.
But more people are working from home. To make money. Some do it with some kind of side business outside of their regular job. Others operate a small business. And many today work remotely for their employer.
It’s a wonderful thing. It saves on money, time and stress when you don’t need to commute. There are a lot of positives.
But if you don’t set up your home workspace in the right way it can be a detriment to your productivity.
After more than 10 years of working at home here are a few of my best tips on the topic…
#1. Forget The Open Office
It doesn’t work in regular offices. And it doesn’t work at home.
The open office was thought to improve collaboration. But it makes people feel uneasy. No privacy. Lots of little and big noises. All the things that seem obvious after the fact or if you’ve ever worked in a space like that for two seconds.
It’s the same at your home work space. You need one that is closed off. If there are people at home with you there is no way to work unless you have your own room. And even if you’re home alone it’s good to have separate spaces.
If your own room isn’t possible look for things like dividers that work like a nice-looking cubicle.
#2. No Clutter
Clutter kills productivity and creativity.
We live in a time in human existence when we have incredible abundance and opportunity. Yet we still must have a desire for more. More of whatever. Just a survival instinct that our ancestors used when they didn’t know where their next meal was coming from.
Today, though, we often use it to clutter up our spaces. Including our desks at home. Papers, gadgets and all kinds of stuff.
Clear your home work space right now. If you haven’t used anything in three months, toss it in the trash or donate it.
Do the same with art and photos. Have a couple. Then when you get something new replace it with one you already have. Don’t add.
Audit your clutter every three months.
#3. Interruption Free
Interruptions seem harmless. A quick call here. A text message there. Check the inbox for anything new just for a second.
But they kill productivity.
In the office and at home.
Do the usual things like turning notifications off on your phone. Or get rid of the phone from the office space. Schedule your calls and meetings.
Then avoid the common home interruptions like family. Make sure they know what work time is and that they can’t come to you for any reason.
Also watch for little things like deliveries. They can cause little interruptions that kill your momentum.
#4. Walking Access
By this I mean it’s nice to have a way to walk for break time. Walking can provide a little boost of energy. It can also provide a little creativity boost.
Most homes have some kind of walking access. Where you can go for a half hour walk before getting started or at lunch time.
I find that when I have a challenge that if I go for a walk it helps me think of a solution. I don’t bring the phone. Too distracting.
#5. Temperature Control
Temperature is a surprisingly big issue in the work place. Most people aren’t wired the same. Some want it warm. Others need cool. Most spaces share thermostats. Even if you have or have had your own office you likely share the thermostat with another or multiple offices nearby.
At home it’s nice to have control over your temperature. Make sure that you get to choose. And plan accordingly. It makes a difference from upper level to ground level to basement. Choose your space accordingly if possible.
#6. Secondary Space
It’s nice to have a secondary space to jolt a little creativity into your brain. No matter where you work, things will become the same after a little time. Sometimes a few weeks. Sometimes months. It doesn’t matter.
It’s good to have a space to work in another setting for a day or even for a few hours. I like to use a room that works as an office. But some days I’ll move to the more common area and sit on the couch.
This could also be a quiet coffee shop or restaurant or a co-working space that allows for some one-day rentals.
Working from home is going to become more popular. It’s less expensive. Technology makes it very easy. It’s good for companies and employees. So if it’s going to happen we might as well make the home office space as productive as possible.