Organizing a Home Office

Telecommuting can turn an ok “J.O.B.” into your dream job.  Sleeping in just a little longer, making the short walk to the office and the money you will save on gas can make working at home seem very enticing.  You can actually take a quick break and do something around the house, rather than hanging out in the water cooler. 

What a home office needs to be functional is a good work space to be functional.  Your setup should be easy to maintain and free from distractions.  This means identifying a space that is designated just for work, without a television.

Some things to consider are:  have a comfy chair that allows you to work without causing stress on your back and neck, there should also be good lighting that won’t cause a strain on your eyes.  Since a messy pile of unfiled paperwork can definitely be a stressful distraction, create a workable and maintainable filing system. It should be simple.  Have a clearly defined set of drawers for your files (there are many options available now).  If your space is limited, consider making your files mobile – using a file cart that can be tucked away at the end of the day may be an option.  Keep only those things on your desk that you need to deal with – everything else should have an assigned home where it can be found quickly and easily–so that it can be found when it is needed. 

Your physical and electronic files should mimic each other.  Use the same systematic method to set-up each system.  This will help keep you organized and save time from searching for files when you need them.  Nothing will waste more time of your day than searching for your files. 

There are a ton of desktop office accessories available.  Keep the basic items on your desk.  A staples, pens and pencils, sticky notes and a pad of paper to take notes.  Be selective when you think about what you should put on your desk.  This is valuable real estate that you will need to be functional.  If your desk space is limited, consider file boxes that can be attached to the wall.  These can be used to sort paperwork and a short-term holding bin for weekly To Do Lists. 

If your home office is also your work office designate a separate space for your home and office files.  One solution is to divide a file drawer (if you are using a lateral file system) or designate specific file drawers if you are using a traditional file cabinet.  If you are using a lateral file cabinet it can also be used to hold your In box and To Do List.  A graduated vertical filing system can also be kept on top of the lateral file cabinet to hold those files that you need handy – but not necessarily on top of your desk.  And, they can also hold thicker files easily too.  Also, have a specific place to identify your mail.  This is, of course, after you have eliminated all junk mail. 

Linda Clevenger, Organization Direct                                                                                                                                                                                          

Speaker, Consultant and Professional Organizer