The home office needs to enhance and support your productivity but this doesn’t mean gimmicks. But ‘Improve Your Office Day’ on 4th October 2017 looks to how you can really improve your home office, as well as how you can continue to develop your own skill set and abilities. What changes can you make to your office to spark and support your productivity and creativity?
- Re-Organise, Re-Shuffle and De-Clutter
Considering the amount of time we spend in the home office, it is amazing the little amount of time we spend organising it and keeping it clutter-free. We also tend to continue arranging things as think they should be or as we have always traditionally done.
But the desk has changed. The advent of IT and the various gadgets we now use as part of our daily working lives has meant the landscape of the desk is very different in the
21st Century but many of us still continue to accessorise our desk in the same way!
When it comes to improving your office, if you do nothing else, re-organise, re-shuffle and de-clutter – and here’s how…
- For items that you use daily or several times a day, have them within arm’s reach – if you are constantly getting up and down to get something, it is not in the right place!
- For things you use less often but still need to access occasionally, store them further away from your desk, such as a filing cabinet or cupboard – if you are constantly moving things out of your way but never seem to use it, then this too needs to find a new home.
Consider if everything in your home office needs to be there or is it just a convenient place to ‘dump’ it?
#2 Sort Your Filing System
You may create paper and documents several times in any given work day or once in a blue moon but either way, you need to make sure that you have a filing system in place so that you can keep your work organised.
This doesn’t just mean paper filing but your PC as well… it’s a dreaded job but being organised with your PC is important too. And so, why not make the upcoming improving your office day the excuse you need to organise your filing system across the office, including your PC and cloud-based services. There is no denying the fantastic feeling of having tidy filing cabinet drawers and a well-ordered online filing system too. And you will probably discover things you had long forgotten about.
Colour is incredibly important in any room in your home. In the bedroom, you want something romantic and calm but in the downstairs rooms, you may want something vivid and vibrant.
The same is true in the home office. You want some fresh but you don’t want anything too bright so that it takes over the space with some colours known to stagnate our creativity as well.
But there is no denying that redecorating your home office is a great way to add a little extra pizzazz and zing to a space. Adding a feature wall is a fantastic way of adding colour and detail. This can be a block colour wall or if you want some extra detail, why not consider a wallpapered feature wall?
When choosing a colour scheme for the home office, choose colours that complement and lighten the space. And take care if opting for something uber-modern and quirky – the home office may not be the room that you end up decorating on a regular basis so think neutral colour scheme with small details that can be changed as and when you want.
#4 Improve the Lighting
We all know how important lighting is in the home office but we don’t always do enough to maximise light in the home office;
- Desk lamps – if nothing else, take a look at the ambient lighting solutions you have and consider adding another desk lamp to your office space. Choose one that can be adjusted so that you can direct light when you need to.
- Pendant light – your home office may have a hanging central light and thus, a pendant light with the latest glass shade is perfect for casting a pleasant glow about the room. If you haven’t swapped to energy efficient bulbs or LEDs yet, make the improve your office day the day you do make the change (it’ll save you money as well as give you good lighting in the office!)
- Fairy lights – these small twinkling lights are not just for Christmas! There is something very pleasant about fairy lights draped over furniture and around windows. They add detail and a little extra warmth with their glow. Choose warm white lights and keep them on a static setting so that they are not distracting.
- Natural light – no matter which bulbs you have in your desk or pendant lights, there is no compensation for natural light flooding into the home office. Having said that, you don’t want so much glare that it becomes impossible to see or work on anything;
- position your computer screen or your main work area so that the glare of the sun is not bouncing off the screen or the paper in front of you.
- keep window dressing simple and streamlined so that they don’t block out too much light but give you shade if you need it.
- blinds work well as they can provide shade when needed but can be rolled back out of the way when you need to encourage light into the room.
#5 Time for New Furniture & Gadgets
Technology has changed the workplace and that is why you need to think carefully about the furniture you have in your home office. Why not take a look, for example, at treating yourself to a new office chair? They are an investment that will last years but the support their offer your back and shoulders in invaluable, especially if you spend a long time sitting at your desk.
There is also an increasing range of stylish office furniture from which to choose and again, choose wisely because your office furniture will be with you for a long time.
If you don’t have the budget to invest in new furniture just yet, upgrading smaller but still essential items is a great alternative. If you spend a lot of time at your keyboard for example, why not invest in a soft touch keyboard? It will make your working day so much easier! Or, if you design a lot, why not opt for a touchscreen monitor or an ergonomic mouse specifically for designers will also add an extra zest and sing to your working day – as well as keeping repetitive strain at bay!
The home office doesn’t have to be devoid of all clutter and detail, although we tend to think that in order to concentrate we need to remove all distractions.
But we think that some well-chosen and well-placed artwork is ideal for adding a note of interest but without being distracting. There are some great ideas from photos of far-off climes to crashing waves of the sea. Why not swap your artwork around with the seasons?
#7 Upgrade You!
So far on our list of how to improve your office, we have looked at the office, its fixtures and fittings. In a workplace, however, there is continuing development of people too and just because you work at home, this shouldn’t be any different.
Investing in yourself is just as important as investing in your working environment but what are the options?
- Traditional classroom-based courses – you could always enrol for a course of some kind at college. This would mean spending a certain amount of time each week at a college or university, soaking up learning in the classroom.
- Online courses – but we all know how life (and work) have a habit of getting in the way. With a tight deadline on a project, it is tempting to ditch the class-based session and stay home to complete your work. And then there are other considerations – you work better in an evening, you would prefer to take things at your own pace etc. – but unfortunately, a class-based lesson will always fit your expectations. But a home learning course would. You decide when you work and you decide where you study. You also decide how you study too, meaning you can learn in a way that suits you.
Improving your office day is about many things – it is essential that you have a pleasant and practical environment in which to work. But just because you work from home, whether that is flexible working arrangements or as a solopreneur, this doesn’t mean that your continuing professional development should stagnate.
And so, on Improve Your Office day 2017, make yourself a promise to make one change to your home office and a change to your skill set too. Which course would you like to enrol on?