While there are many benefits to working from the comforts of your home, the one thing that’s lacking is the piece of mind that comes from the simple act of going to and leaving from work. That sense of formal opening and closure can be very hard to achieve when your workspace is where you live. For this reason alone it is all the more important to create a work space makes that you feel at ease, inspired, and ready to produce. If your current setup at home isn’t doing that, then it may be time for an upgrade.
Now, don’t let the word “upgrade” push you off. You have to work within the limitations of your budget and your available physical space, but realize that there may be many things you can do, sometimes even really small things, that can make a world of difference to your home office and ultimately your productivity on the job. A small investment of time and money to improve your workspace now, can pay for itself many times over later on.
So without further ado, here are several things you can do to give your home office a much needed facelift:
Clean It Up! Do a thorough and deep cleaning on your office. This means cleaning it up as well as out. That pile of filing you’ve been staring at for half a year? Get it filed. The desk drawers you’ve been meaning to organize? Organize them. That tangle of plugs and cords? Tie them up or tack them to the wall. Do a deep cleaning of the flooring as well as the walls and any windows. It’s amazing what a good and deep cleaning can do to brighten your space and your mood.
Next, get rid of the things that you aren’t using and that have been gathering dust. Old electronic devices? Sell them or give them away. If you haven’t touched it in six months, put it in storage. Use a free service like Shoeboxed to transfer your physical receipts, invoices, and other paper clutter to digital format. You don’t need all your extra office supplies on hand, so store them in a place that’s out of the way.
For more tips on organizing your office space, take a look at this great post over at LifeHacker.
Start With What You’ve Got. Now that you’ve cleaned it up and out, look at your physical space? Is it arranged as well as it could be? People also often locate their office in their home for practical reasons, forgetting that they have to spend a lot of time there. Your office needs to be somewhere you enjoy being.
Are you taking proper advantage of natural light and your windows? Being able to look out a window at an angle, so the light isn’t right behind or shining on your monitor, is a plus. Check out your traffic pattern so you don’t have furniture or supplies in your way. Keep your most important items, those you use constantly, within arms reach. And definitely keep your own personality in your office! Can you move your desk or filing cabinet or anything else? Can you “feng shui” the space at all? Move things around until you find the space that is the most efficient and the most aesthetically pleasing to you. Sometimes a simple change of scenery can work wonders.
Know Where to Invest Your Money. Now, take a good look at your office furniture. This is where the majority of your redecorating and renovating budget should go. You need the proper setup to do your job well, and you’d be surprised at how much more efficient can you be when you have a new desk that can actually hold all your equipment or an ergonomic office chair to sit in. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get these things, either. There are many sites that offer cheap office chairs, desks, and other office furniture. You could also look for used and refurbished items.
Go Green. What can you do to reduce your carbon footprint? A lot of these measures can also help you save money on your utilities bills. Using a solar powered device charger, for example, could help you eliminate an entire power strip and free up an outlet. Installing LED bulbs in your lamps and lights is a big cost initially (bulbs can run $20 or more) but it will save you hundreds in energy costs over the next few years that you use them. Think about adding a plant or two to the space to add some decoration and help clean and filter the air you’re breathing. Open the windows to get a cool breeze and some fresh air into the space instead of running your air conditioner.
Decorating. There are all sorts of ways that you can decorate your office on the cheap. The main point to keep in mind is that you should enjoy looking at the items around you. If you have kids you’ve probably got plenty of their art work sitting in your desk and at home. Choose a few pieces, frame them and put them up in your office. What about a few cool or funny office toys or a plant, as mentioned above? Craft fairs are also a great option for people who need art and decorative items but who don’t have a lot of money for them. The benefit of shopping at these fairs is that you can buy items that are one of a kind for a fraction of the price that you would pay if you were to have those pieces commissioned.
Redoing your office doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. With these tips you can feel like you’re working in a brand new space without putting a big dent in your bank account.