Does Your Home Office Work for You?

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Whether you commute to work or have your office at home, it's essential that your workplace be comfortable. When we say comfortable we don't mean satin-sheets-and-plush-pillows kind of comfort, but a neat, tidy place where you can get as much done with minimal distraction.

For those who work at home, this can present a challenge. Because your office is within your home, it's easy to "let it go". There aren't any co-workers to worry about, or a boss to give you the "your desk is unsightly" talk. In fact, it doesn't really matter what it looks like as long as you get your work done, right? Actually, many of our members have told us they are much more productive in a functional and attractive environment as opposed to a clutter filled nightmare. You will see that a little work on your work area can go a long way.

Take Karen, our Jane-in-training. She worked from home in conditions that were definitely sub par. Her files and papers were scattered all over the floor, cardboard boxes were piled in the corner about to burst, and her file cabinets held both documents and supplies, making it impossible to find almost anything. Because the system was so out of whack, Karen's place of work wasn't really working at all.

The problem had reached a breaking point when Karen's realized that the disarray of her home office was keeping her from doing things she really wanted to do, such as spend more time with her family. She confessed to feeling like she was "going crazy" trying to keep track of all of her important things. All Karen needed was a little creativity, storage space and elbow grease.

First on the list: lighting. Everyone knows that it's nearly impossible to get work done without the proper lighting. This is no exception if you work from home--the lighting should be the strength and quality of any office, but Karen was living with dim, yellowed lights. In a matter of minutes we had switched out those dated fixtures for crisp halogen lights that made a sizeable difference immediately.

Next up: storage. Karen needed a place where she could have immediate access to important books and papers, as well as some surface space for things like pictures of her family. The solution? Floating shelves. Because her office had slanted ceilings, we didn't want to add a heavy bookcase that would appear to shrink the size of the room. The floating shelves were cheap, easy to install and gave her maximal surface area.

Finally: out with old carpet. Karen's maroon carpet was not helping her home office in any way. Replacing the dingy thing with wood laminate flooring opened up the space and made it look brighter. Plus, the material is so easy to maintain that Karen won't have to worry about spending a lot of time cleaning it.

In addition to the improvements, some much-needed storage space was added. Three new file cabinets were brought in to hold all of Karen's important documents. Even though we had taken care of the lighting earlier, a few new lamps were thrown in to supplement the recessed halogen lights. New desk chairs were also a necessity. Being comfortable (but not too comfortable) is essential for a productive day at work.

In the end, Karen had a home office that worked for her. Instead of pouring so much time into finding this or that, she knew where everything was. Just by getting organized Karen shortened her time at the office and was afforded more time to relax with her family.

See also:

VIDEO: Build a Secret Desk
TUTORIAL: Install great looking baseboards

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