5 Ways to Make the Best out of Your Home Office
The ideal Reno office space for some folks is right in their own homes. Many who have the option to work from home do so without a second thought. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work in the most comfortable office space you know, wearing nothing but pajamas and having unlimited snack breaks? The traditional office spaces in Reno, with their drab cubicles and monotonous scenery can often feel cramped, stifling, or simply boring. The home office is your throne, your little niche in the world where you’ve marked your territory and said “this is where I get stuff done!”
At least, that’s the idea right?
Unfortunately, the reality is that working from your home can fluctuate from a dream come true to a living nightmare depending on the day, your mood, your workflow/deadlines, and the multitudes of distractions that can crop up at any given time. There’s a lot that people don’t consider when they get into working from home. It’s so easy to give yourself too much break time in between work sessions, get tired and take a nap, or catch up on daily chores you might have forgotten about. After all, who’s there to supervise you anyway? Furthermore, many people can feel trapped or unproductive just from the simple fact that their workspace isn’t designed for, well, actual work. When you work for yourself, the freedom to set your own hours, labor at a comfortable pace, and relieve yourself from management has to be tempered by an office environment that fosters the productivity and work habits ideal for getting the job done.
In order for that to happen, you might have to make a few adjustments. Here’s 5 ways to make the most out of working from home.
Even if you’re not an interior designer, everyone can admit that a little decoration can go a long way into making a place feel like home, even if it is your actual house. The point is, you want the space you work in to be comfortable and inviting so that you’ll actually want to come back to it as often as possible. Your home office should be teeming with your personality. Mementos, photographs, art, and other decorations can breathe life into a workspace and make it feel less like a cave and more like your dream office. Think about your personal brand, the image you want the world to see you as, and encapsulate that in how you set up your desk and the area around you. It will remind you of the kind of person you are or want to be and help you stay consistent with that image in how you conduct your business. Use idea boards like Pinterest if you’re stuck or need some inspiration. Don’t go overboard though, and make sure it stays organized and uncluttered. Even if you see yourself as a bit of an unkempt rebel entrepreneur, your clients won’t see it that way. Which brings us to the next tip, which is:
Keep it professional
While completely personalizing your office space can be fun and bring out a lot of your creative energy, you have to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of your home office is to do the work that needs to be done. This means investing the time and money into optimizing your workspace for productivity.
Make sure you have a nice, ergonomic chair that can support your neck and back for long periods of time. And don’t skimp out on it either (rips and tears in a used chair are a big no-no, especially if you plan on bringing potential clients over), a good office chair can go a long way in terms of your well-being and productivity. Have nice lighting available that won’t strain your eyes and do not, under any circumstances, consider your old lava lamp as suitable office lighting. If you have a window that can provide plenty of sunlight, even better. If you work in design or art, keep your workspace tidy and your tools/materials in neat compartments or containers for easy organization. The entire desk is NOT your canvas. If you can, have some light workout equipment nearby in case you need to stretch or get some blood flowing, just don’t let the rest of your workspace look like a gym (unless, of course, that’s what you do). Finally, have a neat, elegant way to store all of your files and documents, such as a filing cabinet or safe. There’s nothing more frustrating than rooting through a pile of unorganized paperwork stacked haphazardly on one’s desk. The key to a productive office space, Reno freelancers, is to create a professional environment with a cozy, personalized atmosphere catered to your needs, desires, and personality.
Minimize distractions, but don’t shut out the world
The dog needs to go out. The baby starts crying. The new app game you’re playing demands your attention. You remember the thing you had to order online yesterday. Emails, emails emails. There’s a million distractions at home that can take you out of work-mode and put you into the endless cycle of procrastination and “I’ll get it done right after _____”. Not having a boss breathing down your neck or a terminal to clock in or out of your lunch break makes it especially enticing to put down your pen or laptop and give your attention to other, often trivial, things.
Ensure that your office is in a place where these distractions can be kept to a minimum. Tuck it away in a corner, where the TV or entertainment center is out of view and thus, won’t tempt you (even if you try and pass off Netflix as “background noise”, you know you’re secretly paying close attention to Gilmore Girls, admit it). If it’s in a room, you don’t necessarily need to close the door unless you need to stay absolutely undisturbed, as urgent matters that need your immediate attention could still come up. However, you can hang a sign or door hanger to notify other residents that you are hard at work and can’t be bothered for minor things. It’s okay to leave your phone or tablet around in case you need to take a call, and even hopping on an app game or an ebook every once in a while is beneficial to break the monotony. Don’t give in to every notification and status update, though, and make a habit of turning on “do not disturb” mode during those times that require your intense focus and concentration. Let your home office be a sanctuary, an island if you will, to be used to get the most important work tasks done. But don’t make it so isolated that when life actually does happen, you’re not cut off from the world around you.
Get in the productive workplace mindset
Another important thing you can do to maximize your home office is to think of it as you would any other corporate office space, with its own culture, guidelines, and sense of accountability. A lot of times people feel unmotivated in their homes because it’s just so familiar, so easy to get into the mindset that “this is my home, I play by my rules”. While its great to be your own boss, why not set those rules around a strong work ethic, hard-set deadlines, or an organized work schedule?
When part of your job revolves around staying self-motivated, it helps to have a mission statement or goals readily available to remind yourself of what you’re working towards. More than that, keep track of your progress physically by keeping a running tab of larger objectives, smaller milestones, and daily tasks leading up to them, checking them off one by one as you go.
If you can, have a friend, significant other, or business associate hold you accountable for some of the bigger things you need to do, then check in with your “accountability partner” regularly so they know you’re on track. Even if you don’t technically report to anyone above you, having someone to check in with you on your progress can help motivate you to push through the next hurdle, and if the going gets rough, you have someone to bounce ideas for a solution off of.
Use coworking spaces and virtual offices
Even if you love working from home, there’s one thing you should always remember: you have to get out of the house sometimes. Changing up your work environment is one of the best things you can do for your business: it opens up new perspectives and allows you to see your work from a different angle, you won’t get burnt out as easily from an endless routine that often blurs the lines between work and life, and you get to meet others who can help you along your entrepreneurial journey. Coworking spaces, shared offices and workplaces that operate on a drop-in or month-to-month basis, are a perfect place for this, as they offer professional facilities to get work done as well as the ability to connect you to a community of like-minded individuals and self-starters. They have meeting and conference rooms, workshops, printers, and other amenities you might not be able to have in your own home office, but are easily accessible to members of a coworking space. Many of them are located in unique, centralized locations that are walking distance from shopping, food, and other professional services. Fusion@Midtown Premier Coworking, located in the heart of Reno’s dynamic arts and culture district, Midtown, is a perfect example. Several coworking spaces, like Fusion@Midtown, also offer additional business services like a virtual office. Even if you are mainly working from home, a central Reno virtual office is a wonderful way to establish your business’s credibility and stand out in online map searches.
As the nature of the workplace evolves, new flexible office environments such as home offices, coworking spaces, drop in office space, virtual offices, and shared workspaces will increasingly become the norm. You have a lot of freedom to choose where you work and ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your business. But no matter where you ending doing most of your work, it’s pleasant having a cozy home office to come back to.