Working from home can be wonderful; you certainly can’t beat the commute. Yet the home-based office has its share of challenges. Space is limited. Staying organized can be tough when the lines between home and work get blurred.
The key to success starts with choosing the right location. Just because you can work anywhere doesn’t mean you should. Consider the following questions to help you decide where:
- Full or part time? Home offices used full time require more work and storage space whereas part time ones can usually afford to be smaller and tucked away (beneath a stairwell, perhaps).
- Compact or spacious? A blogger who does all his/her work by computer requires less space than a lawyer or architect who needs and wants to have lots of elbow room to spread things out.
- Remote or central? If you are easily distracted by others, select a quiet, private spot – e.g. the basement or a guest room upstairs. If you thrive on being near the family choose a central location, e.g. a breakfast nook.
Home offices should play nice in the sandbox with others, while allowing you to get your work done. Create an inviting and comfortable environment by clearly defining the boundaries.
Dual-Purpose Room: If the space will be used for two purposes – i.e. home office by day, guest room or dining room by night, store papers and supplies in containers that allow for quick cleanup when others come in to use it.
- Classic Box Files: Box files work well for people who tend to spread out and want a way to a quickly corral a wide mixture of paperwork—magazines, loose papers, folders, reports—and group them together on a shelf.
- Rolling Cart: Tucking your files, books, and binders away in a closet when not working (to make room for guests, or dinner) and bringing them out when needed can be a great solution. This trolley is compact yet stores a ton.
Sharing an Office: When sharing your home office with other family members, visually separate your files, records, and supplies from your spouse’s and kids’ with designated drawers, cabinets, and shelves. Color coding adds visual order, and the separation minimizes conflicts over missing info.
- File Cabinets: Bisley’s home file cabinets come in six beautiful colors to add some pop and style to your space, while premium file cabinets add elegance. Give everyone their own cabinet or separate drawers for full control over their own papers and supplies.
- 2” Classic Binders: The beauty of binder storage is they provide flexibility to work elsewhere if everyone wants to work at the same time. Assign one color to each family member and order as many binders as each person needs, using labels to designate the topic: e.g. finances, insurance, client matters, warranties.
No matter what room your office ends up in, a fun and healthy seating solution is the UP Ergonomic Adjustable Stool. Portable, adorable, and compact, each stool can do double duty as a side table or nightstand.
With a designated space and the right setup, your home office – whether you use it to run your business, run your household or both – can be a productive and energizing space.
Written by Julie Morgenstern
For over 25 years, New York Times bestselling author and organizational consultant Julie Morgenstern has transformed the way individuals and companies function around the globe, including American Express, Microsoft, FedEx, and the NYC Mayor’s Office.
Her cutting edge advice has been featured on programs from The Oprah Winfrey Show to Good Morning America and NPR, and she is regularly featured in a variety of print magazines and publications, including Forbes, Harvard Business review, and The Wall Street Journal.
In today’s fast-paced culture, professional success often seems synonymous with long days, never-ending to-do lists, and sleepless nights. But it doesn’t have to be that way.