Did you know that work-at-home jobs are becoming more popular all over the world? In fact, in America alone, about 30 million people work from a home office at least one day out of the week. In Britain, the number of people working from home jumped from 3.4 million in 2005 to 4.2 million in 2015. Some of these professionals are running their own small businesses from their homes; others are freelancing; and still others have jobs with large companies that allow them the flexibility of an at-home office.
Whether you are working in a corporate office or at home, having a clean, functioning workspace facilitates a productive mindset. Here are some tips for creating an efficient workspace for yourself at home.
Choose a Zone
First, you need a dedicated space. You shouldn’t have to move your work supplies from the kitchen island to the dining room table to the coffee table. You need a dedicated table, desk, or other surface where you always go to get things done. Going to the same spot for work every day trains your mind to transition to work mode whenever you enter that space.
Once you have chosen a space, look at it carefully. What do you see that could distract you from working? If you find yourself straightening photos, fiddling with knickknacks, or eyeing the TV when you’re supposed to be working, move those items out of your range so they don’t distract you anymore.
Invest in Storage
Make sure that your work space includes storage. This is especially vital if your work involves making things or repairing things. Do you have a lot of buttons, screws, or spools of thread lying around? Buy a desk organizer with some small drawers and tuck those items away, labeling each drawer so that you can quickly locate what you need. A little effort at the beginning can save you a lot of time later. Do you do most of your work on a laptop? Make sure that you have ample space for your computer, its accessories, and any files or papers that you need on a regular basis.
When your work is done, you should be able to put away, fold up, or close everything so that your space is clean and fresh when you come back from the next work session. If something isn’t working for you, swap it out for a different storage solution. Don’t be afraid to try something unique if it helps you function better within your space.
Think About Comfort
If your workspace is uncomfortable, you’ll dread spending your time there. Invest in a comfortable, ergonomic chair that supports your spine correctly and includes ample seat cushioning. If you find yourself struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome, get an ergonomic keyboard and mouse as well. Set the room’s climate control for a temperature that ensures your own comfort— a bit on the cooler side to keep you from getting sleepy, but not so cold that you’ll be distracted by your own shivering.
Use Your Personality Quirks to Your Advantage
Maybe you’re used to working in a busy office, and now working in the quiet of your home is driving you crazy. It’s okay to put on some music or a podcast while you’re working if it actually helps you focus and get more done. Perhaps you find that having an ice-cold glass of lemonade or a cup of hot coffee handy while you’re working helps you stay energized. Maybe a unique statue, a potted plant, or a fishbowl provides you with just enough mental stimulation without being a distraction. Pay attention to your own cues and find the habits and items that help you be more productive; then include those elements in your workspace.