There are many flexible things about working from home. You get to work in your pajamas. You have control of your own schedule. You can blare music or work with the lights off. No one will ever know.
Reasons for a Dedicated Office Space
Having a dedicated home office is not one of those flexible things. It is a non-negotiable if you are going to become a work-from-home success story.
Here are three reasons why creating a functional home office space should be on the top of your agenda:
1. It Saves Time
People who have a dedicated office space can go straight to work when needed. Oftentimes, people who work from home squeeze in much of their work in their downtime. This cannot happen if you are having to clean off the kitchen table to set up your laptop and wait for everything to load.
2. You Know Where Things Are
Valuable documents or other items are less likely to be misplaced if they have a central location. In addition, all of your supplies will already be where you need them, and you won’t be running around the house looking for a stapler or a pen.
3. You Can Avoid Distraction
When you have a dedicated workspace, you can do just what you are intending to do: work. It should be somewhere that you can shut the door or turn your back on the rest of your household responsibilities and focus on your projects.
In addition to having a dedicated space to work in, there are several things that need to be included in your home office to make it practical and efficient.
An Organizational System
This will look different for everyone. If you deal often with documentation or paperwork, you will probably need some sort of filing cabinet. If you have product, it should be clearly labeled and accessible. No matter what you are working with, it should be kept organized so that it is easy to locate.
A Calendar and/or To-Do List
As well as organizing your things, you need to organize your brain. A readily available calendar or to-do list will help you. Whether it is concrete or virtual, learning to use and keep up with these documents is essential when you are responsible for creating your own structure in a work-from-home environment.
A Vision Board
Sometimes, working from home can be lonely and overwhelming. Somewhere prominently displayed in your office, you should have some sort of a vision board. This is a poster or collage of the reasons why you are doing what you are doing and what you hope to achieve from all the hard work you are putting in. You can even throw in some motivational quotes for good measure.
Adequate Furniture, Equipment, and Space
This may seem silly, but if you are going to work from home, your bar stool is not going to cut it as an office chair. Find a desk or table that works for you and a chair you are comfortable sitting in for long periods of time.
If you are just starting out from home, you will want to invest in some basic desk supplies like a stapler and staples, paper clips, folders, etc. If your job is made easier by specialized equipment or computer programs, invest in them. The time you waste trying to get around purchasing those things is valuable, and you will end up buying them in the long run.
Make sure the area you choose for your home office can accommodate what you need. If you receive and sort large shipments of inventory, a closet office is probably not going to work for you. Select and organize your space with your basic job functions in mind.
As unimportant as it may seem, creating a dedicated home office is an essential first step for being successful at working from home. Wasting time being disorganized is the fastest way to feel unsuccessful and defeated. You can avoid that altogether by making your home office a non-negotiable.