You Need Space to Work! I’ve Got the Answer

Like a lot of people these days I work out of a home office. The good news is this means my family is always nearby. The bad news is… this means my family is always nearby. I don’t know about you, but opening up the business check book and finding a flat PBJ sandwich inside… or trying to record an important phone message with the wii controller can be challenging, to say the least. Fortunately, I have some workable solutions.

Finding Space

Working from home is more popular than ever. If you have a separate room to spare, use it. But if you don’t you’ll have to work with what you’ve got. Any living space, no matter how big or small, can offer a place for you to work. Here’s how:

Closet:
a large walk in would be ideal, but even one with doors that fold open can be repurposed to work. Organize and stack the normal closet storage on the upper shelves. Even though I’m the ‘if-you-haven’t-used-it-in-a-year-get-rid-of-it’ guy, the important point here is get the stuff up and out of the way so you can exploit the lower space for a desk.

A flat board supported by two filing cabinets will do excellent, and inexpensive, double-duty as work space and paper storage. Even a regular-sized closet can handle this kind of set up. Open the doors and pull up a chair. When you’re done for the day you can close the doors and effectively close up shop at the same time. Being able to close off your work space will help with the random PBJ problem. Your biggest challenge might be access to electrical outlets and lighting.

Corner:
If there’s no suitable closet available, look for an unused corner in your bedroom, living room, family room or even the kitchen. A simple, narrow table will make a useable desk which can also become a buffet table or extra seating for family holiday meals. Choose one in a style that blends with the room. A large trunk, wicker baskets or file boxes with a nice finish on them will handle your clutter. Add a nice lamp, a comfortable chair and your computer and you’re ready for business.

Controlling clutter

One of my best solutions for home office clutter is overhead shelves. Put them up above the table/desk and paint them in a color that complements the room. Add some decorative boxes or baskets to hold your supplies and you’re set. Office machines are getting smaller all the time and frequently connect via Wi-Fi. You should be able to stash a printer on the bottom shelf of a side table where you will have easy access and yet it will mostly be out of view.

For privacy and to keep from having to completely empty your desk daily, look into adding a simple, folding privacy screen to cordon off your space. You can buy one or make one. Think about adding a cork surface to the side of the screen that faces your desk and use it as a bulletin board. Or, you can get really creative and paint panels in special chalkboard, white board or even magnetic paint to give you a place to keep track of notes and to-do lists. There are many examples of folding screens [http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=folding+screen&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8] online, here are a few to give you some ideas.

Owning the space

Finding the space is only the beginning, becoming comfortable there will depend on how you trick it out. The right desk and chair is essential to your ability to sit for several hours at a time and get your work done.

This online resource from WikiHow [http://www.wikihow.com/Set-Up-an-Ergonomically-Correct-Workstation] offers some good information on the proper ergonomic relationship between chair and desk. And here’s [http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/office-chair-choosing-right-ergonomic-office-chair] another resource on choosing the right office chair from Spine-Health.

Once you have an area and basic furniture established, add some personality. Maybe a poster of a French bistro or Island paradise to remind you what you’re working for. I suggest restraint with girls in bikini posters or Monster Truck posters unless you’ve opted for the in-closet solution. My final suggestion is don’t forget to add photos of family to the space — even though the real thing isn’t far away – they’re more than likely the real reason you’ve opted to work from home in the first place.