“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
— Alexander Graham Bell
I work a lot in home offices and clients often ask me what it would take to make their space more efficient and functional. It all boils down to setting yourself up, physically and psychologically, for success. Here are a few tips:
- Whenever possible, select a space that fits your working style. Do you need quiet and solitude? Then find an out-of-the way spot or, ideally, an office with a door. Do you need to have the hustle-and-bustle of other people? Then find an office near high-traffic areas. If you have a home-office, but also need hustle-and-bustle, plan part of your working day at the library or your favorite wi-fi enabled coffee shop.
- Define what you will be doing in the space (reading, typing, printing, filing, phone calls, etc.) and ensure that all the equipment you need to perform each task is in the same space. It’s a big time-waster to have to leave your office to retrieve files or pick up your printing from another room.
- Furniture and Equipment: Make sure your desk is at the right height, helping to ensure better posture. Your office chair should have good support, be on wheels and swivel. This will afford you better access to other equipment and tools you may need (printer, phone, supplies, file cabinet, etc.). Be careful to not over-crowd the space, however. Just because you can fit a recliner in your office for reading tasks, doesn’t mean you should. Keep the space as open an inviting as possible.
- Ensure you have great lighting. Task lighting is especially important in home offices where overhead lighting may not be placed directly above the work area. I like OttLite products as they are both fun and functional, but choose whatever light works in your space.
- Invest in the right supplies in the right quantities. Especially when we are working from home, we sometimes don’t keep the appropriate supplies on hand. Invest in the best quality you can afford and have a back-up of critical supplies available. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of printing the proposal for tomorrow’s meeting and running out of ink or high-quality paper!
- When you walk into your office, be in the mindset that you are there to work. Especially when we work from home, there is a tendency to co-mingle work and play time in our offices. Although there’s nothing wrong with taking a quick break to check on your Facebook friends, give yourself a limit. Remember, this time and space is set aside so you can be productive and achieve your goals.
When you prepare yourself and your office with efficiency and functionality in mind, success will follow!