We’ve all been there; in a mad rush to answer a few emails and submit documents, you’ve found yourself balancing a mug of coffee and a laptop on the arm of your sofa, while keeping half an eye on an intriguing television phone-in. One false move, and it’s all going to go pear-shaped. Sure, working from home can be utterly liberating, but it also comes with a host of distractions that could sabotage your dream career from within. If you’re anything like us, you’ll need a dedicated office space from which to work, but where do you start?
Your top five tips for creating the perfect office space
Your new home office should fulfil two conditions, and two alone. Firstly, it must be free from distractions, such as television and social media. Secondly, it should be motivational; a space in which you’re inspired and engaged, and ready to face the day. Aside from these two stipulations, your home office can take any shape and style you wish – whether that’s transforming a spare room into a dedicated office space, or turning an under-the-stair nook or lounge cranny into the ideal workplace. Equip your office in any way you see fit, and add the accessories that will aid your daily operations. The following tips should help you to discover your potential, regardless of your field.
Clear some space
Before choosing furniture and whipping out the colour charts, consider the space you’ll be using and how it should work for you. Do you need room for a workbench and tools, or will a desk and chair suffice? How much storage are you likely to need? The answers to such questions will allow you to select the best room or corner for your home office to occupy. Next, make sure that space is clutter-free. There’s an old adage ‘tidy room, tidy mind’ and you cannot hope to be productive in an office that’s already half-filled with someone else’s stuff. If you’re converting a spare room or taking over a corner of a living or dining room, take the time to re home boxes and furniture you won’t need –a wonderful excuse for a sort-out.
Equip your office accordingly
Now that you’ve claimed a room or nook as your very own, it’s time to make it look like an office. What are you going to need to make that space work for you? We’re betting you’ll need, at the very least, a chair, a desk and storage of some kind. When space is tight, consider crafting a desk from a suitably sized shelf, rather than purchasing a bulky item of furniture that’s simply not needed; you could even fit hinges so that the desk folds away when it’s not in use. Your chair should be comfortable, preferably ergonomic, and fit into the space you’ve created. A backrest or cushions will create the additional comfort that will inspire you to work. Finally, consider the storage you’re likely to need, including a bookcase, filing cabinet or under-the-desk shelving. Aim to store everything within easy reach, but in such a way that it won’t encroach upon your new, clutter-free space.
Let the light in
Lighting is hugely important in a home office; too dark and you’ll struggle to see an inch in front of your face, too bright and you’ll induce all kinds of headaches and eyestrains. An adjustable desk lamp is a fantastic idea, regardless of your profession. You may also want to think about installing shutters if you’re converting a spare room or moving into a corner that’s already blessed with abundant natural light. Attractive wooden shutters are a wonderful way to brighten any home office, with the added bonus that you’ll be able to control the level of natural light around the space, and block out many annoying external noises that may otherwise bother you. You’ll be able to dim the lights and watch a presentation, or let the sunlight in for a breath of inspiration, in no time.
Accessorise with pieces that complement your work
Your home office must be a space in which you’re comfortable, and inspired to work on a daily basis. Since you’ll spend a great deal of your time occupying the same space, it’s important to inject a little of your personality – who wants to spend all day in a home office they can’t stand? Think of the accessories that are going to complement your work. Are you a photographer, inspired by prints of distant landscapes and the seasons? Do you write best under a canopy of fairy lights or when accompanied by stacks of new stationery? Do figures make so much more sense when you’re pinning post-its to a cork-board? Plants work well in just about every home office, and cushions and blankets can create a cosy nook you’ll never want to leave.
Let your office grow with your career
Your home office should be a reflection of your career and the work you’ll undertake when snuggled at your desk. For that reason, don’t ever be afraid to move things around or to reposition your belongings every once in a while. We often work best when the environment around us is changing, so allow your office to evolve with your work.
It’s important to remember that your office should be a reflection of your personality and who you are as a writer, a photographer, an accountant or a sales representative. There is no right or wrong way to approach the task of creating an office space, as long as you’re designing a place that comforts, relaxes and motivates you to do your best work. Websites and social media platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, can be great places to start if you’re a little daunted. You’ll find yourself suffering from office envy in no time at all!