Thinking of decluttering your home office check out this article from The Daily Telegraph, where I provided some helpful hints
Design experts share their tips for the best home office
MANY of us dream of the day we can walk out of the office for the last time and set ourselves up in our own business.
But while the likes of Sex And The City’s Carrie Bradshaw have made working from home look like the dream job, the reality is often quite different.
And this is often most obvious when the end of the financial year draws near.
Come This Way
Building designer Luke Van Jour from Distinct Innovations says there are some basic questions you need to ask yourself before setting up a work space at home.
“The most important thing is to determine if you will have clients coming to see you,” Luke says.
“If you are expecting clients, you have to make sure you have your insurance (such as public liability cover) sorted out because if they trip up on your footpath or step, straightaway you can be liable.”
Ideally, he says, it’s great to have a separate room, preferably near the main entrance to your house.
“If you have clients coming make sure your office is private so that they can’t see your partner wandering around in their pyjamas,” Luke says.
“People don’t realise that while it’s wonderful having a home office, it’s also an invasion of privacy.”
Given so many of us are dependent on computers in our working lives, setting yourself up with good IT services is a must, says Luke.
“If my computers go down I can’t draw,” he says.
Create Good Vibrations
Surely one of the best things about working from home is being able to design and work in a space you really love and that stimulates creativity.
Interior designer Monique Sartor says it’s important to personalise the space and create an environment conducive to your needs.
“I have a really big artwork in my office,” she says.
“The artwork has a pink background and the happy colours help make it a happy space. It’s a bit of energy in the room.
“I always like to have music going in the background to keep me going.”
Kick Clutter To The Kerb
Decluttering expert Jo Carmichael from All Sorted Out says this time of year is the perfect time to declutter your home office.
“You should feel calm and relaxed in your office space, even if it is a short stroll from the kitchen,” Jo says.
“Once you’ve got yourself organised, you’ll actually feel like going to your computer nook or office — rather than wanting to escape it.”
As tedious as it sounds, it’s time to go through the paperwork and get rid of what you don’t need.
Jo’s decluttering system breaks paperwork down into categories such as business records for the past financial year, important records such as wills, passports and birth certificates, and then paperwork that requires immediate action, such as bills.
Because there is so much potential for distraction when you’re working from home, Jo says making a “to-do” list and crossing tasks off as they are completed can be an effective way of staying on track.
But there should always be a little time for dreaming, says Luke.
“Because my designs are very nature based sometimes I just stare out the window and the ideas flow,” he says. “If the mind is completely relaxed you start to produce some great stuff.”
Shelving A Good Idea
Interior designer Monique Sartor from Sartorial Interiors says even if your home office space is part of a larger room, there are plenty of ways to maintain a stimulating and professional environment.
“It’s all about balance,” she says. “I’m not super fussy about my space but I also want it to look nice.”
So while she saw the necessity of using an ergonomically sound but unattractive chair, Monique added a soft throw to make it more appealing.
Storage is a mix of open shelving and closed cupboards and filing cabinets, which don’t have to cost a fortune.
“I have lots of cabinetry but I make sure the printer is out of sight,” she says. “There are three filing cabinets from Super Amart which weren’t expensive but they are really nice.”
Break up storage spaces with stand-up folders and shelving so that everything is readily accessible and easy to see.
Luke says it’s important to leave your home office neat and tidy for the next day, just as you would if you were working away from home.
“We do get clients or delivery people who randomly drop by but it’s all neat and tidy,” Luke says. “Before I leave the office I make sure the desk is clear and the place is ready for the next day.”
Luke says it’s worth spending a little money on good office furniture that presents well to visiting clients and keeps you motivated during the working day.
“A lot of people think it’s fine to have a makeshift desk but if a client comes in and sees you working from a fold-out table, they might wonder why they are spending money with you,” he says.