Until I started working from home, I hadn't given much thought to how to organize an office .... and until then, I didn't realize how important it was.
It didn't hit me until I was spending so much time looking for things instead of working and I wasn't getting as much done as I usually did.
The reason? I just wasn't organized. I was working on the dining room table, having to pack things away every night and I had nowhere to store things.I had to do something about it. I learned very quickly how to organize an office and I realised that it wasn't all that complicated. But the impact on my productivity (and my frame of mind) was fantastic.
These are the things I did ... I hope they'll help you too.
Obviously if you have a spare room that you can devote to your business that's great. But most of us don't have that luxury. I certainly didn't
... so I "set up shop" in one of our bedrooms ... with one difference ... my "office" fits on one wall.
It actually works very well as it is compact and functional. I have everything at my fingertips which means I am organized.
And most importantly, I'm less stressed because I can focus on the doing rather than searching for things.
Once you've defined your work area, you need to "furnish and equip it". I'm only using those words loosely. I definitely do not mean that you go out to buy anything fancy.
Try to use things that you already have around the house.
Starting an online business from home can be done very, very economically.
This is what I call my basic start up kit:
Make sure that the desk is the right height. If not it could cause all sorts of back problems.
I strongly suggest you get one of those plastic mats to put under your chair which protects your carpet from wear and tear and makes it easier to roll back your chair.
Tip #3 for how to organize an office: you need a decent computer.
The choice of computer ie laptop vs desktop is entirely up to you and should be based on your specific needs. The same applies for whether you choose a Mac or PC.
These are all based on personal preference, need and your budget. Remember you don't need a Rolls Royce.
If you are buying a new computer, I strongly recommend that you jot down what you are going to use your computer for, before you start looking around.
Go with a shopping list! Don't let the sales person blind-side you and don't assume that the computer has everything you're looking for.
When I bought my last laptop I assumed it had a memory card reader and CD/DVD reader and writer. Was I wrong! So now I'm stuck with external devices which are inconvenient, cumbersome and cost me more additional money.If you don't have an understanding of the technical side of a computer, don't be afraid to seek advice from someone who really knows.
This is not something that you want to scrimp and save on as time means money and the longer it takes for you to do the job, the more it'll cost you.
Make sure you have adequate
Although your business may be online there's still tons of stuff you'll be saving on to your computer's hard drive.
There's nothing worse than losing everything when your computer crashes ... and believe you me, this does happen and it will!
Backing up at the end of every day is probably the safest way to go.
Some people still use a fax but they are very few and far between.
It can be located on either your right or your left - your personal preference - as long as it's in easy reach when you need something.
Make sure that they are very sturdy as files weigh a lot. If they're not strong enough the shelf will buckle or the brackets will come away from the way ... something you definitely don't need!
Just because you're working from home doesn't mean that this can and should be ignored. Occupational health and safety is just as important at home as it is in the workplace.
Check your local government's website if you're not sure what to do.
It is best to also keep these on your desk and in easy reach. You want to avoid having to move from your chair to get anything.,
If you label the folders you'll be able to find things at a glance. I also colour code my files to make it easier.
Whatever you choose is up to you but remember, you don't need to install a telephone line in the room you're using as your office.
Just get a hands-free phone and put it on your desk. They're great and will give you lots of flexibility at no extra cost.
Both should fit under your desk. You can get very reasonable shredders these days and it doesn't have to be too big.
Having said that if you'r not getting rid of confidential documents, you may not need one. I do find, however, that having a shredder is really good even if you're only getting rid of personal information.
What with so much identity theft these days, it's better safe than sorry. However, this is entirely up to you.
So there you have my tips on how to organize an office. I hope they have given you a few pointers and that you find them useful.
Let me know how you go. And if you have any tips you'd like to share, please do so by going to my contact me page. I'd love to hear from you.