Monday, 23 November 2020

5 Tips For Creating A Productive Home Office Space In A Busy Family Home

As lots of people are now discovering, working from home can present many challenges and overcoming them can take creativity.

With many of us working from home in a post-Covid world,  I thought I'd share my tips on getting the most out of your home office space and cultivating a positive working environment.

1. Be Imaginative With Space

The first challenge for most people is pinpointing a suitable space within the home to allocate as an office area. Unless you're fortunate enough to be blessed with a spare room in your home, it can be tricky to do this.

I personally tried a few different spots in the house before settling on my current space. I tried working out of the hall but found there was just too much activity with people passing through constantly and distracting me. Then I tried the dining room but found that I was being constantly interrupted by the children as I was downstairs. 

Eventually I settled on an area of the bedroom - it's not much space-wise, just a small corner but it's all I need and its far enough away from whatever's happening downstairs to not allow distraction.

Focus on locating the quietest and least-used spot in your home that allows space for a desk and access to power points, and be prepared to try a few different spots before settling on the right one for you.

2. Use Colours & Art To Create The Right Aesthetic

Once you've settled on your space, try to spend a little time creating an environment that promotes a calming and productive energy for you.

I find the best way to do this is to use colour schemes - I keep the decor in my office area in light but muted grey and soft pink tones, with touches of rose gold.

I use wall art and plants to beautify the space - my preferred choice of art is motivational quotes and posters as I find these beneficial, but fill your space with artwork that speaks to you.

You can find some lovely curated wall art collections online which will enable you to choose a selection of prints or tapestries that appeal to your personal taste, while keeping within a desired aesthetic theme.

3. Set Boundaries For Your Family

As I have young children at home all day, one of my biggest challenges is keeping my work space free from a constant stream of interruptions! I'll be honest - success with this is very hit and miss, and so over the years I've tried a few different ways to deter the children from coming in and out while I'm working.

I don't like to use locks as this feels like an unwelcome addition to a family home to me and I'm always keen to keep our home as a family environment above all else. Instead I now use a simple hand-crafted sign on the door - one side reads "Stop - Mummy is working right now, Daddy can help you.". The other reads "Come in!".

The children know that I have working hours and that I try to never work for more than 4 hours at a time, so that I can come and spend some time with them. But whenever I have a break in work or feel like I have some time to spare, I turn the sign to "Come in" so that they can pop in to tell me what they've been up to or have a quick cuddle.

4. Set Boundaries For Yourself

It's just as important to set boundaries for ourselves when working from home as it is for our families, as the temptation to keep working all evening or pop on to finish work on days off can be strong. 

I personally struggle with taking breaks to eat and drink when working from home, which is something I'm working on trying to improve. 

Sticking to dedicated working hours with allocated breaks wherever possible will help you to create a much healthier home working environment.

Equally, the temptation to do household chores instead of work can be strong and dedicated working hours need to be upheld as much as possible for this reason too.

5. Keep Office & Home Supplies Separate 

It's important to keep home and work life separate as much as possible, so keeping office and home supplies separate is a big part of that for me.

If I'm in the middle of a busy work day, the last thing I want to do is have to go searching through the house for a highlighter or some paperclips...chances are that I'll end up getting distracted by a household task or the children! Keeping supplies separate for my work space helps to avoid this and increases my productivity. It also makes it far easier to keep track of expenses.

I hope these tips have been helpful. If you have any of your own, please share them below...I'd love to hear them.

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