Now that more people are working from home, there are more questions about creating a home office. You need somewhere to work, but you may not have enough space in the house to create a dedicated office.
I get that! Due to various circumstances, we still rent. The place we have now has a den, which quickly became my home office. Before that, I had to create an office space. Sometimes it was in the bedroom and sometimes it was in the living room. It all depended on space.
Whatever you do, when you work from home, make sure you have some sort of space dedicated to your work. Here are my top tips if you can’t make one room your home office.
Put your desk in one of the rooms
If you’re using a desk, place it into one of the rooms in your home. I’ve had desks in the dining room, living room, and even in the bedroom. It’s all depended on where the right amount of space was for all the furniture.
This desk is only for your work. You can have it set up ready to sit down and work each morning. Then on an evening (or whatever time you finish work), you shut your computer down, put things away, and you leave the desk. Everything stays in this space.
Try to put it in a corner out of the way. While you want to be able to enjoy what you’re looking at, you always want to avoid seeing the desk every time you walk around the couch. If you see it out of the corner of your eye, you’re likely to remain in work mode.
Use a divider to block the workspace
Can’t put it in a space that’s out of the way? Always see the desk just sitting there? If you have trouble with separating this space as your “home office” mentally, you’ll need to get something that does it for you physically.
A room divider can be highly effective. It works like a doorway, so you can section off part of the room. This is wonderful if you have a specific corner of the room for your desk. It doesn’t work as well if your work is done at a dining table or even on the couch. However, there are ways around this.
Roundhill Furniture Black Japanese 4-Panel Screen Room Divider, Plum Blossom
Have a drawer for everything to go into
Not everyone will have the space for a desk. You may not work from home all the time to justify it. Many people are only just getting used to working from home full time and nobody knows what 2021 is going to look like. So, if you don’t want to buy a desk to create a home office space, consider just buying some drawers or a small cupboard.
You’re likely working with a laptop from the dining table. Or maybe you do things from the couch or even the kitchen counter. The set of drawers or cupboard become the place to put everything at the end of the day. Whether it’s just a laptop, a notebook, or a stack of paperwork, you want to get rid of everything from your sight.
If you see work, it’s going to take over. Trust me when I say this has happened.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Your family will also appreciate it. Your work can quickly take over the dining table or the living space. Your family needs that space to play, relax, or have family dinner. It’s going to get annoying for them trying to find somewhere for your work. The cupboard just keeps it out of the way for everyone!
Put everything away at the end of the day
Make sure you do put everything away at the end of each day. This isn’t just good for your family, but it’s good for you mentally.
As I said, keeping your work out means that it’s always on your mind. You’re more likely to go back to work “just to send that quick email,” which is when you realize something else needs doing, and then something else. Before you know it, family time is over and you’re finding new projects to do to “make tomorrow easier.”
There’s also a chance of feeling more stressed out. Having work on the mind all the time isn’t healthy at all. We all need a break from it, even if you’re running your own business.
Get that cupboard and make sure you spend five or 10 minutes putting everything away. You’ll feel better for it.
Consider an outside office space
If you can’t have a home office, what about using a coffee shop or the library? This isn’t possible right now for many, but eventually, things will start to go back to some normality. If you know you’re going to be working from home forever, you’ll want to think about the future working options.
One of the benefits of working from home, especially if you work for yourself, is that you can change the pace a little. You get a change of scenery that can make working much more fun.
I’ve always found the library a great alternative for working. It’s quiet, always has air con, and I don’t have to worry too much about hogging a table. Usually, I’d get a spot in the back and just stay away from people. However, I’ve worked in coffee shops when I’ve needed to, although there’s always the pressure of buying something, so I don’t tend to work there for more than a couple of hours. Usually when the internet has died or there’s been extensive works in the apartment building I used to live in.
I do sometimes take my work to the patio. I have a small table setup outside that I can move just the necessities for work, giving me a great change of scenery in the warmer weather. This summer hasn’t been great for that with the weather being much hotter and stormier than normal.
You don’t need a dedicated home office to work from home. You just need a space that it just for work. Stay away from it at other times or make sure everything can be put away out of sight.