If you work from home, you’re probably familiar with the concept of home office, a.k.a. the process of creating a work-dedicated space within your home.
Home offices can be hugely inspiring rooms. In fact, for anyone who follows influential freelancers or home-based professionals on social media platforms, you’ve probably already come across shots of their desks at home. The current trends focus on showing a mug of steaming brew with a laptop and an open window in the background, along with the hashtags #FreelancerLifestyle, #Freelancing, #MyHomeOffice, and so on. Are these staged? I hope so because my home office space is often messy! Organised chaos as I like to call it. If your home office is always messy too, this might help…
When You Eat & Drink at Your Desl
There’s nothing that is more appealing than a large cup of coffee or tea – depending on your poison – on your desk. Not only does it bring immediate comfort – especially in winter when your hands are cold –, but it also helps your brain to wake up. Drinking at your desk is a potentially harmful habit that can lead to taking your lunch breaks in front of your laptop too. In the end, you’re likely to find stains of cold coffee and salad sauce all over the carpet, turning your home office into a large leftovers collection. If you don’t have time to take regular breaks to drink and eat in the kitchen, you should at least consider practical flooring solutions such as carrcrete.co.uk. Micro-concrete floors are both attractive and easy to maintain, making sure your lunch stains will be soon forgotten.
As well as leftovers and wrappers not being great for productivity taking a break to eat and drink somewhere else encourages you to get up and move which is a healthy happy in itself.
You Didn’t Plan Your Home Office Storage
Is your desk drowning under piles of documents, books and electronic gadgets? Take a deep breath. You have too much stuff, and that distracts you from your work. Here’s one magical word for you: storage. Indeed, you need a little bit more than a desk and a chair to make your home office work for you. You need to invest in dedicated storage solutions, from sideboards to filing cabinets. You can’t afford to lose invoices and precious documents in the mess. Thankfully, you often don’t need more than a quick trip to your local IKEA or similar to get yourself sorted. Drawer-dividers can be a life-saver to keep small items and stationery, while you can use their fitted shelf boxes for everything else.
Your Home Office is Your Home Office
A common mistake, for new freelancers, is to believe they can work from anywhere at home. I made the same mistake way back when. The truth is that you can’t be quite as productive on the corner of the kitchen table or the sofa in front of the TV. If you want to work, you need a space that is entirely dedicated to your professional career. This will avoid confusion and distractions. Additionally, you should keep your home office decor focused on its core purpose. It’s not a good idea to bring disruptive elements such as a TV – unless you need it in your job, see apartmenttherapy.com (I love this site!) for more about it – into the room. A productive office doesn’t pursue more than one function.
Is it Messy Because You Don’t Use it?
If you’re one of those independent professionals who love working from coffee shops – there’s nothing wrong about that, Harry Potter was written in a coffee shop after all. You might end up using your home office as a storage room. It’s the place where you keep your laptop and other equipment, paperwork and more when you don’t need them. I remote work a lot and used my desk as a dumping ground between working sessions. It took forming new habits to stop using the office as a glorified storage locker.
Is Your Home Office Messy Because You Don’t Like it?
You can’t help it. The room feels cold and unappealing. You dread every morning when you have to get in and start working. The walls are blank. The desk is old and shabby. Even the chair is uncomfortable. In a word, you hate your home office and don’t look after it. Here’s some advice for you: you’re in charge; change the decor. There’s plenty of fun and inspiring styles around – quick research on pinterest.co.uk is a great way to start. Pick something you like and make it happen. This is very good advice and can be done on a tight budget.
Your home office is a vital element of your success as an independent worker. If you don’t make it work for you, what is the point of having one?