Thursday 7 November 2013

How to make your home office work for you: Three golden rules

I've recently been working mostly from home - and I also did so for around eight years when my children were very young. Thanks to all the lovely technology that we now have at our fingertips, many people find it feasible to handle at least part - and sometimes all - of their job from home.  It's not for everyone, however, and over the years I've discovered that the following principles of home office management are essential to making the arrangement work for me. None of it's rocket science - and my self-devised rules might not suit your circumstances - but I hope there is something in here that might just be of help...

1. Keep your workspace tidy. (I told you it wasn't rocket science!) Even if it is "your mess" and you're a natural hoarder, chances are that you'll be more productive if you can add a semblance of order to the chaos.  Personally, if I let my filing trays get beyond a certain point, just looking at them makes me feel defeated before I even start work. Hardly a productive beginning to the day...

2. Make your workspace your own.  This may sound obvious but in many cases (including my own), the home office is also a spare room, which means that it may double up as a guest bedroom, family gym, children's playroom, general dumping ground etc.  I'm not suggesting that you never invite anyone to stay or deprive your children of their play space; the reality of the situation is that most of us don't have endless extra rooms for all the activities our family members enjoy.  What I am suggesting is that you make your area of the room - desk, work station, craft bench, whatever - your own. Organise it to meet your needs - personalise it with your favourite photos or trinkets if that gets your creative juices flowing or keep it purely functional if that's the way you work best.  Enjoy beavering away to music? Invest in a portable radio or docking station. Once you've arranged things to suit, keep them that way. Which brings me to my next point...

3. Agree access arrangements. If home working is to work for you, then you need to actually put in the hours. For most of us, that means you have to be left in peace to get on with it.  Yes, it's lovely to know that you can share your tea break with your nearest and dearest but it's also best to let them know when you're in the midst of a big project and can't be interrupted. Set the ground rules from the outset and you'll avoid tears and resentment later on.

Happy home working!

Related posts: Would self employment suit you?

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