If, like lots of people around the world, you’ve recently found yourself working from home, you may be frustrated with the challenges of an office-less life – distractions, uncomfortable chairs, and a lack of elbow room, to start. But having a designated office space is a luxury many people don’t have, so that means it’s time to get creative. The good news is you can create a mini office in lots of different ways that won’t hurt your budget (or your back).
1. Designate a work-only space
Don’t have an extra room for a home office? You’re certainly not the only one. With limited space, you’ll likely have to designate one corner, wall, or other area of your home as your “office”. But that’s okay! Your workspace can be a desk in your bedroom, a patio, even just one particular spot at the kitchen counter. What matters is that you treat it as a work area. Don’t lounge, eat lunch, or take naps there (no, your office cannot be your bed). This will help your brain click into “work mode” and further help you be as productive at home as you are in an actual office.
2. Keep it clean
Picture your old desk at work: are there plates all over it? Junk mail? Random papers or clothing? Of course not! A tidy workspace is a space you want to be in. Decorating is fine, but using your desk as a catch-all (even if it’s your dining room table) will be uninspiring and will lead you to want to work somewhere else – like the couch, where it’s more fun to turn on the TV or nod off. Treat your space like you would if your supervisor was about to walk by.
3. Be cozy (but not too cozy)
If you’re spending around 8 hours (with breaks, of course!) in one spot, you better make it cozy. Remember how we mentioned not working in bed earlier? Yeah, we don’t mean that cozy. While you can take a couch break here and there, it should definitely not be your permanent workspace. Instead, cozy up your official desk with a back or seat pillow, a blanket if you get chilly, or a special work mug. The goal is to feel at home (you are, after all), but professional.
4. Have your own set of tools
We all have a junk drawer with pens, tape, spare sheets of paper, and some extra chargers or cords. These should not be your work materials. Keep house supplies separate from work supplies. You can find tons of cute desk supplies and décor from local big-box stores or specialty retailers. Simply put, well-designed supplies make you want to use them. And when placed on a table, desk, or counter, these nice touches turn any space into an official work area.
5. Surround yourself with what you love
If you’re at home, you’re likely already surrounded by your favorite things (and if you’re not, we can help with that, too), but your desk is a special case. In your off-site office, you may have had art, pictures, figurines, or tools that made your space yours. There’s no reason to not have that at home, too! If you’re facing a wall, consider hanging a motivational poster. You can have a mini calendar beside your computer, or a fun joke or word of the day tearaway to give you some morning routine. As always, plants are a plus! They purify the air and simply cheer you up when your deadlines are roaring near.
If working from home isn’t your first choice, these recent months have probably been frustrating. But a change in routine shouldn’t cost you your sanity! Creating a work haven where you can be productive and professional and still turn off at the end of the day will help you get through the days until you’re at your real office again – and who knows, maybe you’ll even want to go remote full-time!