Creating a Productive Workspace at Home

Whether you want somewhere to write your novel, produce some stunning art or you want to work from home, that spare room is the ideal location to build a productive workspace.

There’s more to creating a great office or hobby room, however, than putting in a desk, chair and the odd pot plant here and there. You’ll need to think about productivity and how you are going to achieve a balanced work ethic as well.  Working from home should be viewed with the same professionalism as working from the office, creating the right space for you is going to require some thought.

Turning Your Spare Bedroom into a Workspace

If you are an office worker using a computer, you can do your job almost anywhere in the house. The purpose of setting a particular room aside is that you associate it with work and minimise distractions and conversely, are able to close the door and switch off at the end of the workday. The first job is to list what you want to use this space for and what equipment you will need.

The next step is to empty the room completely so you can see the full potential of what you have. Ideally, you want an area that is big enough, feels comfortable and has a good amount of natural light. Look at the empty room and the list you have made of what you need.  Plan where everything is going reside but bear in mind you will want it to be a pleasant working space rather than just a practical one.

Storage and Furniture Tips

Let’s say that you are creating a home office so that you can work from home. You’ll want a PC and monitor or laptop, desk, chair and telephone as a bare minimum. You’ll need the appropriate software and a decent broadband connection as well, you might need to look at WiFi extenders if the signal in the room you want to use is weak. You may also need a printer if you use one for work and an area for storage – either a filing cabinet or some shelving.

If this is going to be a shared space, you will want to include other things. For example, if the children are going to do their homework in this room you could put up a planner and have space for more pens and other materials.

Personalising the room is also important. You don’t want it to be so bland that it doesn’t inspire you to sit down and work. Add your own personal touches to make it an enjoyable space to work in. Top tip: Try adding a bold colour to a feature wall to make the room feel different to the rest of your home.

Staying Productive whilst Working at Home

Once you’ve got your work area set up and ready to go, it’s time to get into good, high productivity habits:

·        Dress for work. It may sound simple but if you dress appropriately for a work environment, it gets you in the right frame of mind. Sitting down to work in your pyjamas should be a no-no. Do all the things that you normally do preparing for work – shower, put on your day wear and get to the office.  

·        Have a timetable and keep to it. At work, you normally have your daily routine laid out for you. At home, you need to create it yourself. Set a timetable and list of things to do for the day and put it somewhere you can see it. Tick off tasks completed so that you know where you are.

·        Don’t get distracted. Talk to anyone who works regularly from home and they’ll tell you that getting distracted is the biggest issue. We will find anything to do apart from sitting down and getting on with the work. Avoid giving a room a quick clean or just watching the end of a programme that was on last night. 

·        Watch out for day creep. Another problem when working from home is the day can suddenly get longer – after all, we don’t have to commute far. Set how long you are going to work for and keep to it. Make sure you take regular breaks, just as you would in the office, at the very least make sure you break for lunch. Once the day is over, turn off your computer, close the door and relax.

·        Keep friends and family at a distance. Because you work from home, loved ones and friends tend to think that you’re free to help them out at any time. Make sure they know you are working and you aren’t to be disturbed.

Finally, prevent people from putting other stuff into your workspace. It may have been a storage space for all sorts of family life collateral when it was a spare room but now it’s your office.