This is a guest post by James Harrison.
With the jobs market in a state of flux and employed positions hard to come by, many workers are taking the plunge and becoming self-employed freelancers in their profession. With this boost in the number of people working from home or, moving office in a home, the call for a workable home office has never been higher.
Unfortunately the majority of homes lack enough space to have an entire room dedicated to a home office, so many home workers are forced to work from corners of living rooms, ends of bedrooms or even in converted garages. Even if you are limited for space at home, you can still create a workable home office environment with a little thought and forward planning. Here are some handy tips for creating an efficient home office of your own.
1. Make sure you have enough space
Space is at a premium in the modern home, so finding space for your office in there as well can be a tricky task. Consider what you need to do your job, and then add a bit more space just in case. Don’t forget you’ll need room for a printer, phone and possibly files for paperwork as well as your computer and lamp.
2. Get a desk with a view
As much as you’d like to be beavering away every waking hour, in reality even the most dedicated home worker needs a moment to take a micro break and stare out of the window to re-engage their brain. Situate your desk near a window where you can enjoy some good natural light and a break from the screen now and then.
3. Be creative with storage solutions
With limited space, you’ll need to be savvy about how you find space to store all your bits and pieces. High level shelving can turn an awkward nook into a useful space, and an under desk filing cabinet is a great way to use the wasted space that your legs don’t need. If you have a lot of paperwork to keep for audit purposes, think about contacting a business removal company to find out about off-site archiving facilities.
4. Have a system for everything
The freelancers life is hectic, no doubt about that, and in the rush to get jobs completed on time it can be all too easy to shove invoices, bills and other essential bits of paper in the ‘in tray’ until it is stacked high and takes a day to sort out. Build in administrative time to your week, just an hour a week will do, and have a system for where papers go before they get filed away.
5. Contain your cables
One of the biggest bug bears for many home workers, not to mention a major health and safety hazard, are the masses of cables and wires that relentlessly drip from workstations onto the floor. Remember this is your home as well as your office, and pets, kids and other adults could be in danger if you let your cables get out of control. Use cable ties, Velcro wraps or simple toilet rolls to contain your cabling and keep your electricals, and family, safe from harm.
6. Follow the classic advice that’s been received office wisdom for decades
Touch each piece of paper only once. This sounds like a tall order, but in fact it’s a simple way of streamlining your office, keeping your desk and in-tray tidy and manageable and avoiding procrastination. It’s so easy, too. All incoming paper can be divided into three categories. 1. Rubbish – just chuck it away right now. 2. Something that requires immediate action, like a bill or an invitation. Just do it. 3. Something that will need to be looked at in the future. So file it. Now.
7. Keep everyday items close at hand
It’ll be quickly apparent which materials you reach for time and again throughout the day. For some of us, that’ll mean tape, paperclips, envelopes, marker pens, biros. Once you’ve decided, take a quick trip to your nearest stationer and invest in desktop storage that will keep all of these items within immediate reach.
8. Throw things away
It’s all very well filing, month after month, year after year. But in fact, you are slowly (or quickly) amassing more and more chaos. Tidy chaos is still chaos. So have a yearly purge. Unless something is strictly necessary in terms of tax records or accounts, be unsentimental and bin it. If you’re really not willing to make the break, then scan in items and destroy the hard copy.
9. Confine email to scheduled sessions
Don’t let the day run away with you by constantly checking your email inbox. Before you know it, it’s 11.00 a.m. and your morning has been swallowed up by spam and jokes from friends. Make a schedule – for example, a 20-minute session in the morning and one in the afternoon – for checking email. When there’s a lot on your plate, do the same with the phone. Put it on answering and just check your messages during specific sessions.
10. Sitting pretty
A five-legged, ergonomic chair with a back-rest and adjustable height is an absolute must. The worst thing you can do for your long-term health and posture is to just re-purpose a chair from your sitting room or bedroom. You need a chair that’s specifically designed for office use – that way, you’ll be avoiding lower back pain as well as damage to your shoulders and neck. The right chair will safeguard your lumbar region and arms, too. An efficient home office should support not undermine your health and well being. To save money, contact your local business removals companies and find out if they have unwanted stock.
James Harrison, works as relocation consultant. He regularly contributes write ups to business websites and blogs with most of his writings based on tips for business removals, business relocation and marketing techniques. In his free time he plays sports mainly soccer and chess. He is also passionate about reading fiction and travelling.