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Diversity in Business

Making the Most of Your Home Office

Photo: Courtesy of Luke Peters

With a growing number of people working from home these days due to the pandemic, knowing how to set up an office that’s practical and comfortable is essential.

“Job 1 is the physical space,” said David Allen, an efficiency guru and author of ”Getting Things Done.” “It doesn’t have to be formal, but it needs to be discreetly yours. Not necessarily big, but you have to have your own private space. When you sit down, you are ready to go to work.”

Be prepared

Converting space for a home office doesn’t have to be complicated. Set up your computer and desk so that you have easy access when you’re answering emails, paying bills, or making Zoom calls. The area should be clean and not too highly structured.

“And you should have all the ordinary tools at hands-reach,” Allen said. “This includes a stapler, tape, pens, notepad, and tissues. Have an organized paper-based filing drawer and  good stack-baskets for incoming, pending, and outgoing stuff.”

Also, avoid potential distractions. It’s probably not a good idea to put your office in the kitchen or near the TV.

Create the right atmosphere

According to Allen, it’s important for your home office to be a functional yet inviting space, where you’ll want to spend time.

“You want to work, not think about working,” he said. ”You need to have no resistance, and even a liking, to sitting in that space.”

Make sure the area you’ve transformed is attractive, with the correct temperature and lighting, a nice chair, and maybe even some artwork. 

“Make it cool,” added Allen, who believes feeling good environmentally and psychologically is crucial.

Make a commitment

To maximize productivity, consider all your options before making changes. Allen stresses that the space you choose should be your own, and not shared with anyone else.

“You need to sit down to think and work, without having to rearrange your context to do that,” Allen said. “You don’t want to have to reorganize to get work done.”

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