To be professional, you should have a space to work from, where you have to go to work to and keep office hours. This gives you purpose and a goal every day. It determines boundaries for anyone that is still at home.
I believe that home and work environments should not only be functional, but also aesthetically pleasing for you to enjoy what you are doing for most hours of the day.
Most entrepreneurs don’t have the funds to rent office space in the beginning and start up from home.
Where do you start when creating that special space?
Find a tranquil space
Not everyone is so fortunate to have a room that can be used as an office. Any space however can be converted into a functional office, whether it is a small alcove or a built in cupboard. Ideally you should be able to close up the space at the end of the working day and not have small fingers all over your work when you turn your back.
- You need a comfortable ergonomic chair. Don’t save here, you will spend hours on it. An unsuitable chair can have a detrimental effect on your spine.
- Set up a compact work station with a desk or table with sufficient space, close to a power outlet and phone jack. You may have to lay extensions to your workstation.
- Use shelves or drawers for files, storage of supplies, reference books and to personalise your space with keepsakes, photos or memorabilia.
- Paperwork not your strong point? Set up a system that works for you. It is no use if Lever Arch files don’t work for you. There are other systems available. Top retrieval system where you can just drop and go are ideal.(No punching, no levers to operate, no broken fingernails.)
- Selling stuff online from home? Set up a storage space for your products, packing table with packaging tape, waybills and markers.
- Set up an Inbox for papers that come in, I like using the four drawer, Buddy system or open trays. Label them :
To do: appointments, calls, etc.
To pay: schedule time to make payments at a certain time of the day or month. File the resulting papers immediately.
To read: recycle whatever was not actioned within a month
Referral: delegate tasks to another person
- Use a step organiser for projects close at hand. Transfer the files into the filing cabinet once completed.
- A freestanding lamp will free up desk space and provide adequate lighting for you to work comfortably.
- Keep a dustbin or recycle bin close at hand for trash
- Invest in a shredder to destroy any documents containing personal information.
Making it work
1. Sort and Declutter
- Eliminate cable clutter by using wireless devices and move office equipment off your desk. This will free up your space and your movement. Bundle cords with cable ties, cord wraps and attach them to the bottom of your desk with self adhesive cord clips or use a cable management system that mounts onto your desk or wall.
- Invest in an All-in-one Fax-Scanner-Printer. Place it on a shelf or a credenza next to the desk.
- Keep important tools close at hand in a stationery organiser in your top drawer.
- Organise papers as they enter your space. Only keep papers that are necessary for Tax, Contracts and the Executor of your will.
- Going paperless – ensure that you have a proper back-up system. Scan documents as they come in.
- Throw out any old and unused equipment that clutter up your space.
- Toss pens that don’t work and pencils that keep breaking.
- Instead of keeping equipment boxes, list the important numbers which appear on boxes of electronic equipment like computers, laptops and mobile phones. Store them with the warranty, instruction booklets and receipts or take a photo of the sticker that indicates the model and IMEI number and file it with the instruction leaflet in a folder on your computer.
- Keep your computer files and inbox organised too, to enable you to work efficiently and get things done.
- Never miss an appointment. Sync mobile phone with your computer calendar.
- Include plants in your workspace as they increase the sense of wellbeing.
Home offices have multiple uses like a sewing centre, hobbies and other activities. A place for everything and everything in its place is key. Make your space work for you!
- Zone your space and have all your tools and equipment pertaining to that activity close at hand and containerised. It makes it easy to access and to tidy up when done.
- Label everything either by printing the labels on the computer or using a Label maker. The labels are laminated and stay clean and last. This makes access easier and you will more readily find things.
Make it a habit
Equalise at the end of each day – tidy up your space. Put stuff back where it belongs. Leave your desk clear for a pleasant start of the new day, instead of being overwhelmed as you step into your office in the morning.
Now that you have a home office that you love, you can now get on with your business and make work, work!
Should you need any assistance in the organising or revamping of you office, please contact: email@example.com