Whether you are running a full-time business from home, bring work home from the office now and then or are tasked with keeping the many facets of a busy household on track, the home office has become an important part of many family homes.
Having a home office and getting the most out of your home office are certainly not one-in-the-same. In most cases we expect that you will want your time in this work-related space to be as minimal, but as productive as possible. And so it is important that you do whatever you can to optimise your workspace and give yourself the best chance of getting in, getting done what you need to do, and then getting out to enjoy the other areas of your home (and life!).
Keep it simple
There are plenty of things that you can do to get the most out of your home office space. For the most part, they are generally well-known and common-sense type things. But in the day-to-day hustle and bustle, they can all to easily become overlooked or fall by the wayside.
Home offices don’t need to be overly complex or intricate. In fact, keeping things simple when it comes to both physical set-up and practical processes is the best approach and will get you the best results. The aim is to not just improve things temporarily in the short term, but rather putting in place simple practices that are easy to maintain it in the long term.
Start with a clean slate
Like with any makeover or renovation, it is recommended that you start by clearing the decks of your home office space. This gives you a chance to assess which things are most important to help you get done what you need to do, which things could be better relocated and which things you, in fact, don’t need at all.
Here are some handy hints to help you with the “clear out”.
1. Do a stocktake
Now that might sound a bit technical and overwhelming but really it is just a matter of taking stock of everything that is currently in your home office. If it makes it easier, put everything on the floor in the middle of the room, or better still, outside the door.
2. Get selective
Now that you’ve got a big pile of stuff (you may well have had a big pile of stuff before, it’s just been re-arranged now!) it’s time to get ruthless about what needs to stay and what can go.
- Paperwork – in a typical home office, no doubt there is a decent amount of paperwork that needs some attention. Sort every piece of paper into one of three categories: don’t need it so get rid of it, need to keep it so file it, need to action something from it (so take care of the action and then either get rid of it or file it!)
- Electrical equipment – if you use it regularly then keep it and later you will locate it somewhere close at hand. If you don’t use it regularly but you need to keep it for occasional use, put it in a more practical spot that is out of the way. If you don’t use it at all, maybe it is broken or you simply don’t need it, get rid of it. Are there relics in your home office that can be moved on and replaced with more efficient options? Do you really need 2 monitors, a desktop hard drive, laptop, printer, scanner and fax machine all on your desk?! Use wireless products where you can to cut down on the maze and hazard of multitudes of cables running in every direction.
- Stationery – this includes everything from pens and highlighters to scissors, post-it notes and sticky tape. As above, if it’s broken or you don’t use it, out it goes. For all the things that you opt to retain, put items that you use regularly, at least once a week, in one place together and separate them from the things that you use less frequently.
3. Decide how it’s actually going to work
Work out the best system or workflow for you and your home office. Consider the types of tasks and projects that you need to complete and settle on a clear and simple process for tackling them. This can include introducing an in-tray for housing things that need to be actions or addressed, a colour-coded filing system, wall calendars, and lists on notepads, or electronically managed and synced solutions. Whatever system you choose for your home office, the important thing is that it’s simple and practical enough that you are able to stick to it and it helps you to get things done in an orderly and efficient manner.
4. Everything in its place
Once you’ve locked in your “optimal operational system” (makes your home office sound like a multi-national corporation, doesn’t it? But they are definitely good at efficient processes so it can’t hurt to take a leaf from that book and draw the comparison), take all the items that you diligently assessed as needing to stay in your home office and carefully put them in the place that is the most appropriate in terms of how often you use it and how easily you need to be able to access it.
- If you don’t do a lot of printing, the printer doesn’t need to be on your desk. It could work well on a shelf over the other side of the room and free up your premium desk space.
- Position similar items together so that they are easy to locate. eg. Use containers and dividers to organise stationery drawers and filing solutions.
- Keep the desktop clear from as many objects and as much clutter as possible. The cleaner that your desktop is, the more efficient and productive you can be.
- Go vertical – use shelving and wall space where possible to free up even more desk area
- Use colours to help organise but also add some visual interest to space.
5. Add a little personality (but not too much!)
It is important that you feel comfortable in your home office as you don’t want it to be like a cold, sterile prison cell. But that doesn’t mean that you should go overboard with picture frames of the family and precious trinkets all over your desk. As mentioned above, it is important to keep your work area as clear as possible. So choose a few key pieces to make space feel like your own and make use of the alternative vertical spaces or areas away from the main workspace to display these special items. This way they are not far from view but don’t create too much distraction.
A home office is likely more of a necessity than a desirable, luxurious space. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be an eyesore and a dumping ground. With a few handy organisational tips to get you started, you can easily make the most of the space (and your time in it) and then enjoy turning your attention to other things.
If your home office needs more than just a clean out, speak to us about how our team of professional painters can deliver a customised and truly unique solution for your home. Whether it’s breathing new life into a beloved piece of furniture, or cabinetry and storage solutions, Highlands Handpainting have a range of offerings to help you make the most of your home office space. Contact our team today on 1300 662 112, submit an online enquiry, or visit us at 12 Graham Hill Road Narellan NSW.