Maybe you’re holed up in the guest bedroom closet, in between the wet suit and your grandma’s old fur coat. Or maybe you’ve been relegated to the garage amidst your gardening tools. Oftentimes, home offices are not even offices; they’re just a space with a laptop.
You deserve better. You deserve a space you can enjoy spending 40+ hours in, and one that will make you confident as the awesome entrepreneur that you are. Here are four easy steps to setting up a home office you might actually like:
Step 1: Carve Out Your Space
I’m fortunate in that I have a converted breakfast nook (who needs a nook to eat in?) for my office, complete with three windows and two doors. But not everyone has enough rooms in their home to dedicate one to an office. You don’t have to. Get creative.
You could use your guest room as an office. I mean, hey, your in-laws stay once a year, but the other 349 days a year, it just sits there. Empty. Maybe if you made it your office, they wouldn’t come visit. But I digress.
You could partition off part of a room with a curtain or divider, or clear out a closet. The point here is that the space should be dedicated to being your office, and shouldn’t also double as your dining room table/TV tray/washing machine.
Step 2: Be Smart About Furnishing It
I’m with you. I’d like a foosball table in my office, but the fact that the room is about 7 feet square means that’s probably not a good idea. Obviously you’ll need a desk, so make that purchase before buying any other furniture. And measure your space! You might end up buying a desk that blocks the window or door, or that won’t fit in the room at all if you don’t.
If you’ve got room, add in a file cabinet or other storage unit. Because believe me, you’ll need to store things. Even in this digital age, you can accumulate a lot of paper, and you don’t want it living on your desk.
Step 3: Now for the Fun Accessories
Here’s the fun part: office supplies! We’ve come a long way since Office Space introduced us to the red Swingline stapler, which I heard didn’t even exist until demand created it after the movie. We now have an amazing selection of colorful office supplies to fit every personality and style.
Look for pen cups, storage boxes, folders, and mail organizers that present a cohesive style and that contribute to the overall aesthetic of the vibe you’re trying to create.
Step 4: Make It Functional
Now that you’re not hunting in winter coat pockets for your scissors or Post-It notes, you’ve got the opportunity to make your home office functional for your needs. Put what you need every day on your desk, then store the rest.
On my desk, I’ve got a paper tray (which I need to clean out, now that I look at it), a four-section pen holder, and an upright mail sorter. And a notepad and custom Bobblehead that looks like my husband. No joke.
My printer is also within arm’s reach, sitting on top of a file cabinet I can easily slide over to. It may take you a while to figure out what you need in a given day, so don’t be shy about moving things around to fit your ever-changing needs.
I’m a firm believer that your home office should be a sanctuary. After all, it’s where you pour your heart into the business you’re growing, so shouldn’t it be somewhere you enjoy spending time?