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You Can Work From Home, But You Still Need a Desk

| Flourish Monthly

Hey Everyone! We’ve talked about realizing when to look to other professionals for help (check out that blog here). It’s important to recognize when, even though you could do it yourself, a job could be better done by an expert. Small business owners often do this with their bookkeepers, tax preparers, or even marketing (wink wink). Even when it comes to solving problems that come with working from home, it’s important to turn to someone who actually knows how to fix it rather than doing it ourselves. Our friend, Celeste, at Designing Women had some good things to say about that this week, and we wanted to share! Read on to learn more about how to design a helpful and efficient home office.

There are a lot of people who are working from home. It’s funny to see - I have neighbors that worked from home and have been since before the pandemic. How they worked in their circumstance is beyond me. They’re working from their messy living room on an uncomfortable couch with seemingly endless distractions around them. I have no idea how they get any work done! Let’s talk about how to work from home the right way.

First of all, wherever you find it, you need to find a space for yourself. When you’re working away from home, your boss has given you a designated work space. It may be an office, a cubicle, or anything, but that space is dedicated to work. You have to do that at home too, whether it’s an additional bedroom or even just a spare closet. These same people who are working from their sofas also have all those distractions: the TV is usually on, the pets and kids are distracting, the dishwasher is on, chores need to be done, etc. All the distractions of working from home affect these people! Find a space that’s away from distractions, and keep those distractions out of the room.

When designing a home office for my clients, just like with any space, I have to think about how that room needs to function. Even if it’s just a place where you pay bills and look at emails. It can be big and pretty, but it doesn’t need to be. Bottom line: you need to have room for your tasks. If you’re going to have lots of papers spread out, you can’t have the sweet little writing desk, tv tray, or the ever-popular hairpin legs. Those aren’t functional. They’re great little console desks to put in the hallway to store keys, but not much more. For those who still like paper - like me - maybe you need a filing system! If your information can survive in the cloud, or digitally, a tiny desk might be fine. But you always need to think about the task at hand.

If there just isn’t a better place for your office than in the middle of your living room, get clever with whatever you use as a desk! When you’re living your daily life, or even entertaining, you don’t want it to look like a huge eyesore. Think about where you’ll put your printer and office supplies. Are you, realistically, going to clean up your office every day so your kids aren’t eating peanut butter sandwiches around your printer, or are you going to organize it so you have a separate table? Do what works best for you. One of the best home offices I did years ago was actually in a closet in someone’s hallway. We took the doors off, took all of the closet-related things out, and mounted an old door inside to function as a desk. We put a filing system and a printer below with shelves up above for storage. Everything was within reach, but it didn’t take up valuable real estate on the surface. We added lighting up above and a wheeled chair so it was super effective. This is proof that you can hide and still have the office space be functional and good looking.

I’ll leave you with one of my pet peeves: loose cords. Get all of that black spaghetti out from under your desk! There are so many ways to organize and hide that mess. Tubes, boxes, etc. This is probably the simplest way to make your home office look good. Organization will make a huge difference in the appearance of your space. All it takes is a few minutes!

 I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use some organization with my “black spaghetti!” Can you apply some of these tips to your own office? For more tips on home design, including tips on your home office, be sure to follow Designing Women on Facebook! She also sends out a monthly newsletter with more in-depth details. Click here to sign up for that.

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