How to Create an Effective Home Office

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Nowadays, working from home is becoming a popular option for many people. For new mums it is an attractive possibility that allows them to fit work around a busy childcare schedule. Many self-employed people are starting to work from home too, preferring to start out from a desk in their home office rather than forking out fees for expensive business premises.

There are many advantages to working from home, including a flexible work schedule, no hectic commute and none of the time-wasting distractions of a busy open-plan office. However, it has its numerous downfalls too, and is definitely not for everyone.

If you do decide to make the leap and start working from home, there are some important aspects to consider that can affect your happiness and success. Many consider that the key to best results is being organised, and more specifically, having an organised office.

So just why is this so important? Without an organised office environment, you are likely to mix your work and home life, and this can be distracting when you are trying to get into the mind frame of getting important work tasks done. Without the motivation of a demanding boss breathing down your neck, you will also need the discipline of a structured environment to perform better.

It is also true that your work with benefit directly from a great office space. With efficient systems and structures in place, work becomes easier and less stressful. After you have carved out your work space in your home, there are a few things you need to make sure you have in place.

The first is a set of systems to organise all your documents. These can include folders, files and paper trays. For a larger workload, a cabinet may also be necessary. Paper trays are a key item to have on your desk. They allow you to separate your documents according to function or urgency.

Experts often recommend having paper trays with at least three separate compartments. One can be used for correspondence, the second can be used as a recipient for your most urgent work, and finally the last of the trays can be used to collect your non-urgent ‘deal-with-this-later’ paper.

Another key element of your home office is a spacious work surface to carry out your tasks and a comfortable chair. Many overlook these factors, assuming that they will be able to perform as well from the comfy sofa in their living room as in an office environment.

Whereas this can be true for some people, ensuring that you have a chair to sit in that supports your back for hours on end is important for your health, and therefore your ability to perform your tasks well. Similarly, you need a work surface that can fit not only your paper trays, but also your computer and office stationery too.

It is equally important to make sure you have a number of other office supplies to support your work. Essential stationery items include sufficient pens and pencils so that you don’t run out of ink at an important moment, such as while taking notes during a telephone conversation with a valued client.

It is advised that everyone who works at home also keeps copious amounts of paper handy to meet needs and demands as they crop up. It is helpful to have several notebooks in your office to ensure that you never miss a detail or forget an important task. A notebook dedicated to creating a brief to-do list at the beginning of each day can help keep you focussed on your work.

When making the move to working from home, there are many things to take into consideration to guarantee a happy and successful experience. As we have seen, creating a supportive office environment can make all the difference. From paper trays to ball-point pens, it is important to make sure your home office is helping and not hindering your best work.