Starting a business or working from home can be exciting if you create an environment that gets your creative juices flowing. Creating the ultimate work zone at home and you can really optimise your productivity – and let’s be real here, you want to be highly productive. But what do you need in your office for your new business?
Walking into my new home office is such a pleasure now. Mind you, I did leave the mess in the spare bedroom where my office used to be. Having your workspace set up for productivity instead of stress can make a huge difference to the way you approach your day.
In my bright and uncluttered space I feel very calm and able to start working on all the tasks I have set for myself. My husband “cleaned up” the other day and dumped a few things on my desk that did not belong and honestly, I was quite unsettled when I saw it!
Weird right? It was just a few odds and ends and yet my peace was jolted out of existence. As a Business Coach I need to help women find their magic and make it grow in business, how can I do that if I am not feeling my own magic? So I feel like having the right setting for focus is essential.
As I stated in my article, I like to make sure my desk is in order at the end of each day, with everything where it should be so I can find it when needed, so that I walk into serenity each morning.
So where should you put your home office?
Depending on your house and family, your home office needs to fit two main criteria. It needs to be a space that you can work in separately. For this reason alone, using the kitchen table during the day and packing up so the family can eat their evening meal is not ideal at all. This space needs to be one in which you put on your “work hat”.
The other consideration here is noise. You want to try and be away from the hustle and bustle of life – especially during a lockdown. Whether your work is noisy or you need quiet, separating yourself means being able to focus without thinking that you might be disturbed, or someone might be disturbing you.
How to set up your home office.
Let’s talk about function and form here. Your workspace needs to be a space where you can spread yourself out to work. That might mean space for physical movement, lots of materials, or just space for a laptop. It really does depend on what business you are in. Think carefully about what you will need in the coming year, not just now. Will you need to have clients come to your home, will you need to set up a studio, will you be making a mess? The way you set up your office needs to take into account how you work, how you move and how much room you will have to do it all in.
Is my home office a tax deductible?
This is a conversation between you and your accountant. You can check out the advice the ATO provides, but getting your accountant in on this conversation is vital before you get any ideas about how many tax deductible expenses you clock up.
Are you procrastinating in your home office?
When you work from home, procrastination can be a very real problem. Nobody is watching you and you have every excuse under the sun at your fingertips. Keeping yourself accountable is going to be a priority here.
I use Trello to map out my goals, keep track of tasks and essentially keep me moving and to keep procrastination at bay.
What are some design ideas for home offices?
You can always start a Pinterest board to collect great ideas for your home office – here is one I have been working on. Ikea, Kmart or Officeworks are also a great go to for me. Don’t forget to check out Instagram or Facebook too.
As a Business Coach my office doesn’t need anything unusual. Here are some things that I think are a must have for my desk – how about you?
1.Keep your hands busy with something for stress relief
Whether it is a ball, fidget spinner or a paperclip, having something to fiddle with is a great way to push nervous energy into something. I bought myself some gemstones recently and have four of them on my desk. I find myself holding one while I speak to people. I reach for one sub-consciously and find that the one I have in my hand is the energy I need to give my client, or what I need during a presentation, or when contemplating a decision. I know – rocks!!
2.Headphones are great for blocking out external noise so you can focus
Whether it’s a Zoom meeting, seminar, a podcast, or to listen to music whilst you’re zoning into work, a quality pair of noise cancelling headphones is a must-have. If you can invest in a headphone holder so that they’re easily accessible without cluttering your desk, even better.
3.Take Mother Nature to work with you and have Indoor Plants in your office
Adding a plant to your desk is a surefire way to give you a bright and fresh feeling. A study from Washington State University found that there was a 12% increase in productivity in offices with plants versus those without.
4.Keep your office bright with Warm/Natural Lighting
Office lights are often LED and clinical. Having a warm lamp is easier on the eyes and allows you to have a homier feel. My new space has huge windows so I enjoy the flood of natural daylight. It can be a great idea to have more than one lighting source too. I have beautiful big windows in my office but they face south, so despite the bright sun coming in all through summer, in winter on a cloudy day it can get dark. If I am on Zoom I don’t want to rely on my desk lamp to brighten up my space and overhead lighting can cast face shadows.
A study by Future Workplace showed that in fact natural light and indoor plants are actually things that people look for in an office.
5.Personalise your office space with Vision Boards
If you’re allowed to hang something on the wall, a vision board is a great way to have inspiration in your eyeline. A vision board is a great reminder of why you are doing what you do and that in itself should be a motivator when you start procrastinating.
6.Keep your space tidy with a Desk tray/organiser
A messy desk means a messy mind, as I’ve spoken about on my blog before, so it’s important to have an organisational system that makes sense to you. You can continually update this system so that you find something that works for you. I love beautiful pens so displaying them nicely and having them handy is important to me.
7.Always keep a Notebook handy
When it comes to taking client notes, I cannot help but go old school and write things down. I know, it is doubling up on work because I still have to type these notes up. But I get pleasure from writing with pen and paper. It is interesting to see whether I use cursive or print, what colour pen I choose – there is definitely a connection between those things and my state of mind.
8. Hand sanitiser & moisturiser are office must haves since 2020
We touch a lot of things that pass over our desk, so it’s important to keep our hands clean even when we don’t have access to a sink. But don’t let that get your hands dry, having moisturiser right next to the sanitiser reminds you to look after your skin too.
9.Keep your phone alive with a Phone Charger at your desk
Being on the phone so much means draining your battery so charging your phone at your desk means not missing calls and keeping my phone alive. I bought this really cool lamp from Ikea (it wasn’t even a flatpack) which has a USB port AND wireless charging – love it.
10. Stay comfortable with a cushion at work
Some of us spend long hours at our desks, it’s important to be comfortable. Being sore is a big distractor, costing us time and comfort. A simple cushion or ergonomic support system can make a huge difference for the house you spend sitting down.
Although not something I have on my desk, I do think it is important to set an alarm that reminds me another hour has passed and I need to get up and move. The older I get the less my body tolerates being seated all day so movement has to happen or I get very sore without even realising it. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have just done an amazing session of highly focused work but four hours have passed and you are as stiff as a body and everything cracks and creaks when you try to stand up.
So how have you set your office up? Do you think you will include any of these things in your happy workspace?