It goes without saying most of us work from home at least part of the time. Making your work place a productive space is important and there are a few little things you can do to make it so.
First figure out how much of your work space is actual “work space” and how much you have either to decorate or make you feel good. You may share an office with a spouse or roommate, you may have a tiny corner in your condo or you may actually have a working office with about 10 x 10 feet of space to work with.
A window is important and if you have more than one it is very important to place your working area near a North/South facing window. The morning sun will make your office “hot” from the East and the setting sun will heat your office to the point of putting you to sleep from the West. A North/South window give even temps from the outside all day long.
If your space is small your desk must also be small but still the most important part of your office. It doesn’t matter if you have a window on the world if your desk is not manageable. If your space is small you might look to the best corner of the office and go for a corner desk. A corner desk serves a small office nicely. It gives you a natural place for your computer with usually enough work space for other items and a space in front of you to write.
If your office is very small you will need to work in file drawers or cabinets to fit the space. Open slots are great and you can get do it yourself multi-slot wall pieces at any of the major office stores. They are inexpensive and come in different depths.
Computer towers are shrinking in size it seems daily so if you have a smallish one put it nearby or even under your monitor to save space. A larger tower will need to find a space on the floor, preferably elevated a few inches. Your scanner should be within reach, your printer can go underneath on a small storage box to save space. Use a nice mug for pens and get a desk top unit to sit over your monitor which will save a lot of space for storage.
Do not neglect the decoratives even in a small office. You need something soothing during any part of the day when your eyes get too much monitor. You will take a few moments to lean back in your chair to stare at the wonderful painting of the Amalfi Coast, the greens at St. Andrews or your favorite Mickey Mantle signed photo. This will be enough to re-energize your batteries.
The larger office will afford you two things; storage space and more decoratives. If your space is a good square 10 x 10 your desk should go where you have a nice view if you have a good window. While a corner may not be your style it might save space. The nice thing about a corner desk is it is one less corner to compile useless junk and stacks of files. You are forced to file the clutter or get rid of it.
Metal file cabinets are fine and don’t worry about the esthetics. They work and the metal ones are cheaper than wood and just as functional. Don’t delude yourself into thinking matching wood furniture is going to be impressive. How many times do you really have clients come to your home office? If the answer is daily, then consider the matching wood and make it the good stuff.
If you only use a few file drawers get small ones which fit underneath the desk. These are more convenient and definitely out of the way. When it comes to the printer, scanner and storage space, see the small office space paragraphs above. The same applies only you have more space to work with.
Again select a nice north/south window for viewing because nothing says “relax a moment” like a view. If you are fortunate to over look water or mountains and blue sky consider yourself lucky. If the building next door blocks all views, oh well, you tried.
When decorating an office a plant is almost always a must. Something “live” (and not an iguana) makes life much better and helps production. If it needs watering keep it away from anything electronic and try to keep it down low so it doesn’t fall.
Photos? Certainly. Children, your best girl, your wife, memorabilia or anything else which makes you smile. Family photos are great but should be limited. Don’t use your office for that 15 slot photo holder on the wall. Save it for the den. Your office is still a workplace and while you should display the kids make it a few single shots.
When it comes to memorabilia don’t overdo it. Three or four items are more than enough. If you have more and you simply need to display them, rotate every six months. Put up a few photos, a signed ball and a NASCAR 1:24 scale car. In six months replace the baseball with a football and a different car.
Your office is your life at times and it needs to be livable and workable. Forget the mini fridge though; get your exercise by walking to the kitchen.