An organised home office is key to staying focused and working productively in a home environment.
It’s also important for your health. Over time, working on your bed or an old sofa, or in an overly cluttered space, can put unnecessary stress on your spine. It’s not good for your mental well-being either.
Here we offer six ways to transform an area of your home into a functional, high performance work space.
1. Create a dedicated work space
Working from home has its own unique challenges and distractions. Barking dogs, noisy neighbours, demanding kids and a constantly ringing doorbell or phone are just some of the likely diversions.
That's why setting up an office in a quiet area of the home – ideally, an area that can be shut off from all the day-to-day disturbances – is the first step to maximising work flow. If you don't have a spare room you can convert into an office, you can always requisition a portion of the living room by erecting a ceiling-high room divider.
2. Invest in ergonomic office furniture
Most of us spend a large part of each work day seated in front of our desks – answering phones, issuing invoices, sending out emails, and writing and reading documents. Staying in one position for that amount of time punishes the body.
Proper support for the legs, arms and spine is essential for health, comfort and well-being. If you work from home, one of the best investments you can make is an ergonomic office chair. You should be able to adjust this chair to suit your height and shape, and the height of your desk.
To set up a comfortable work space, you might also need an adjustable stand for your monitor. If you use a laptop or tablet, it may be best to attach it to a full-size monitor and keyboard when you're not out and about. This will give you more flexibility over the positioning of your screen and keyboard. The larger screen may also help prevent eye strain.
When organising your home office, aim to ensure that:
- your forearms rest vertically on your desk, with your elbows bent at right angles
- you don't have to bend your wrists while typing
- your monitor is at or just below eye level
- you have proper support for the lumbar region of your spine
- your feet rest flat on the floor while you're seated
- you can swivel easily to reach items, without having to twist your body.
3. Update your work tools and software
Old outdated equipment, devices, software and operating systems can lead to all sorts of work delays. And delays can cost you money. That's why it's advisable to upgrade to the best possible work tools and latest generation OS and software you can afford.
It's tax deductible, and you'll have systems and processes capable of delivering maximum output, whether it's due to upgrading your fibre connection, IT network, software apps or your PC and smartphone.
4. Go wireless and high tech
A clean, uncluttered desk is an organised desk. One of the easiest ways to free up space is to go wireless. If you don't need high-speed fibre, opt for Wi-Fi instead. Get a wireless mouse and keyboard, and invest in a multi-point device charging station or docking station.
Consolidate all the cables and wiring from your PC, printer, scanner and other desktop office equipment by using cable management sleeves. They'll neaten up your home office, and give you ample space to operate in.
5. Be storage smart
Be creative and organised with your storage solutions. Use a colour-coded storage system for any paper documents, keep your pens and pencils in a container on your desk, and store stationery in a cupboard or storage box.
Consider storing all your important digital documents in the cloud. Alternatively, you can download sophisticated document storage and retrieval software that will automatically organise and sync all your business documents with your existing Office software, for free.
6. Digitise and back up your files
One important aspect of organising a home office is setting up a secure system for storing and managing your paperwork and files. Storing hard copies of documents takes up space and puts the documents at risk of physical damage, so it's a good idea to digitise as far as possible. Scan invoices, tax records and other important documents so you can store and access them electronically.
Of course, it's also vital to protect your electronic data. More than 60 percent of small businesses lose data due to hacking or hardware failures. The best way to prevent this is to back up your files regularly.
You can do this manually by saving your files to the cloud or an external hard drive, or use back-up software to automate the process. For example, EaseUS Todo Backup and Paragon Backup and Recovery are among a number of free programs for ensuring that your business data is always backed up.
At XtraSpace, we don’t offer professional home office organisation, but we do provide affordable, secure storage space – ideal for storing everything from spare equipment, furniture and stationery to archived documents – so you can create an organised, clutter-free work space. Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.