Having a home office can be a blessing and a curse all wrapped into one! Although it’s great to be at home to work, it can also be a huge distraction!
When planning the design of a home office, it is important to think of it’s’ function first, then how you can make it pretty. Function trumps pretty in the case of a home office because you have to be productive to get shit done.
Home Office Organization: Determine Your Needs
The first step in setting up an office space is to determine what your needs are. What should you consider “needs”?
Your list should include items you must have for your office that you use on a consistent basis. Things such as:
• A desk
• A computer
• A fax machine/printer
• A telephone
Home Office Organization: Everyday Items
If you think of sitting (or standing) at your desk like driving a car, this may help. When driving a car, you can quickly move your hand down to put on your turn signal, you can quickly move your had to turn on the windshield wipers, you can quickly move your hand to shift from park to drive. Those are things you need close to you to drive a car. So take this same thinking into your office. What do you need at an arm’s reach away? All of those items that you need on a daily basis need to be at an arms’ length away.
Home Office Organization: Now & Then Items
Going back to the car analogy, think of what is in your glove compartment. Most likely there is a car manual of some sort, maybe some Kleenex, etc. There may be other things in there that you need every now and then. It’s close enough to reach for but you don’t need it to drive your car every day. The same holds true for your office. Think of things that you need close by – but not needing every day. I think of client files. I don’t need them right on top of my desk. I can get up and fetch whichever one I need. Nothing like a desk cluttered with client files to make a messy desk.
Home Office Organization: Long Term
And lastly, using the car analogy again, think of what is in your trunk. In my trunk there is the jack. I don’t believe I’ve ever had to use my jack however, I know where it is and it is accessible. Now shift your thinking into your office. What are things you might have in your office that you only need maybe once a month or even better yet, once a year? Those are things that can be either stored in your office (if you have room) or stored in a completely different space, but are tucked away. These items should not be cluttering up your home office space.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it more than a thousand times: when it comes to a home office, function trumps pretty all.the.time! Work on getting your home office functional first, then work on making it pretty.