Way back in the days of the pandemic, working from home was essential for many.
But despite a return to the workplace and the resuming of life as (fairly) normal again, a huge amount of people have continued working flexibly. Others are enjoying a hybrid model, with some days in the office and some at home.
The home office is clearly here to stay. And now the necessity has been replaced by normality, it’s time to exhale… and consider whether the space you’re using is working as hard as you are.
While many Aussies are returning to their workplaces, in many cases it’s not full time so it means the home office is still a necessity.
If you’re still attempting to work from one end of the dining table, or are propping your laptop up on an old shoebox, it’s been a few years now… and it’s time for an upgrade!
Getting organised and creating a productive work space is easier than you think and you don’t need to race out to buy a lot of supplies to make it happen.
Focus on what you need most
Firstly, when designing the layout of your home office you need to consider what you need the most; the same applies with rearranging the space and furniture you have. What you need:
You should keep the essentials together in one part of the office – this means less time moving around trying to find things, and fewer distractions.
The Block’s newest judge, Marty Fox, says there’s one essential element many renovators omit when they’re designing their space… and that’s having enough power points. He even counts himself as someone who’s made this annoying error.
“Lack of power points is a really small thing, but it can be very frustrating when you’re living in that space,” he explains. In fact, having multiple options helps make for a seamless, efficient workspace.
“We’re in a digital world,” Marty clarifies. “We’ve got phones, iPads, we’ve got people using their kitchen benches as an office, or their extra bedroom as an office…”
When it comes to preparing any rooms, Marty says it is vital to consider how you utilise a space.
“You’ve got to be really smart,” he shares. “You can’t just have one or two power points in a room because you’re never in the same spot. You’re always moving.
“There’s areas of my home now where we’ve just finished a massive renovation and I’m looking back thinking, I wish I had mentally really thought about where I’d be sitting the majority of the time because there are two or three spots now in our living room where I wish we had had some power connected.”
You want the essentials close by, but you might need to create a space for the essentials first. If you’re going to do a complete declutter, keep a rubbish bag (or two) handy.
Be mindful of useless junk and clutter just taking up space in your office and make sure you get rid of anything that will hold you back from using the space productively. This includes:
Storage is important in every area of the home and your office is no different.
If you have room on your desk go for a set of clear drawers or a little organisation station with a space for pens, highlighters, papers and notebooks that keep the space clutter–free. Doing this will make your office feel cleaner and more organised. Don’t forget a filing cabinet to put your papers and documents away and a little rubbish bin under your desk.
Once you’ve got your storage sorted, time to get labelling. Invest in a label maker and get cracking on everything from your desk drawers to your files and boxes for an easy way to stay on top of where everything is. Any time you need something you’ll know exactly where it is, and it gives everything a home. This also means less time trying to remember where you put something similar last time.
If your home office is also the place where your books are stored, it’s time to organise them too. It’s really up to your personal preference with how you want to do this.
You could go by genre (like in a library), colour or size… there are plenty of options.
Sorting by colour will create a stunning design element, while keeping your space clutter–free and looking sleek.
Don’t forget to make the most out of blank space on your walls. Use the space to hang practical elements like a whiteboard, calendar or some shelving, which will take a lot of the clutter away from your desk. Adding some art or a motivational poster will also bring some personality into the space too.
A printer can be a bulky and annoying thing to work around the home office – although for some people it’s necessary piece of equipment. Set up a printing station where your paper, ink and printer live in one area, ideally in a cabinet or separate area of your office. You’ll gain a lot more productive space around your desk and have an excuse to get up and walk around as you go over to the printer.