Working from a home office is both a privilege and a responsibility. It's easy to get side-tracked with interruptions like a sick child or multi-tasking and doing laundry while you're working. The question is how committed are you to working from home and if your answer is yes, you'll want to review these tips for creating an effective home office to insure your professional success.
Don't expect to get your home office laid out right the first time, or even on the second try. It's a work in process and you'll continually tweak your office as you learn what works or doesn't.
Home Offices that Work
… Based on my interview with Kerri Salls, Breakthrough Enterprise
|Rarely can we see the obvious, so getting input from others is invaluable. Listen to my interview with Kerri Salls, Breakthrough Enterprise. Kerri coaches small business owners so she's got the experience needed to advice us on creating an efficient home office.||Listen to Tina Gleisner|
Finding the Right Room or Space for a Home Office
Where you create your home office is a result of many factors starting with what space is available. A spare bedroom is the easiest space because it has a door to filter out background noise and windows that provide natural lighting. If quiet space is a priority, you might want to set up your office in the attic or a walk-in closet which has a door but consider how comfortable you'll be without a window. The dining room table is popular because it isn't used frequently and by creating storage to put things away each night, this room can easily serve multiple purposes.
Some businesses require meeting with clients and a separate entrance is important for keeping your personal and professional lives separate. Basements with an outside door or a garage in warmer climates are good choices for client interaction and when you improve these spaces, you're also building equity in your home.
Furniture and Fixtures for Your Home Office
Most people think the desk is the most important home office investment, myself included. Kerri without hesitation told us that a good supportive chair is your most important home office feature … and that includes those using the dining table. Kerri explained you need a chair you'll be comfortable sitting in for long periods of time, and when you find yourself getting up to move around frequently, it's because you don't have the right chair.
Kerri recommends starting out with 2 file cabinets, with 2 drawers each. You can use a small desk or an 8 ft table sitting on top of the file cabinets. If your space isn't large enough, buy your table top at Home Depot and have them cut it down to fit your space. If you want a more personal touch, trim a melamine table top using curves as I once did, resting the table on a 3 ft wide shelf on one side and an 18 inch bookcase on the other side.
Your office needs some personal items to support you. Kerri mentioned a rug, personal photos, background music and flowers to name a few things. Feng shui can help you find the optimal balance for who you are.
In addition to your file cabinets, Kerri provided us with the following tips for organizing everything in your office. My favorite tip was putting labels on everything, as it will help you and others find things more easily … and motivate you to always put things back where they belong.
- Store everything vertically to make it easier to find what you need, adding labels to the spine for easy identification.
- Group things by category or alphabetically, to make things easier to find.
- Keep frequently accessed things close to you, like a dictionary, phone, clock and important pictures that inspire you.
- Place visual reminders of your goals on the wall where you can see them frequently.
- Keep 2 baskets handy, one for incoming business mail and the other for things to be filed.
- Store your supplies like a stapler, tape, glue stick, etc in one or 2 baskets so they're easy to find but you don't waste time organizing them.
Guidelines for Using Your Home Office Effectively
Hope you want to learn more home office efficiency tips from Kerri Sall. Guidelines for Using Your Home Office Effectively coming soon and here's a sneak preview:
- Scheduling social interaction so you don't feel isolated in your home office.
- Setting boundaries for your family when you have a home office.
- Creating your “money making hours” mindset as if your boss was watching from the closet!
Share your home office tips below, and send us photos to which we'll post here!
Kerri Salls, www.BreakthroughEnterprise.com works with business owners who work out of their homes. As a productivity expert, Kerri has learned many techniques to improve business operations regardless of the work environment. If you're currently working at home or considering this option in the future, get tips from Kerri on making your home office efficient.