It’s spring and time for a good tidy up and some order to my home working environment. I need to stress this is an unnatural act for me. If you’ve ever seen me make pizzas you’ll know that I’m a world class messy worker. Covered with dough, flour, passata, mozzarella, olive oil and basil my kitchen looks more like a serious crime scene than a place for producing fine cuisine.
However I do believe in the productivity and psychological benefits of a well organised tidy work space. Order, defined as a condition in which
everything has a proper place with reference to other things and its purpose, is without doubt a precursor to getting things done with minimal stress and effort.
Here are my top tips to getting your home work space organised and reducing the potential for unintended home working faux pas.
Make sure you’re ready to go with one-click on-line web meetings. Fumbling around looking for user id’s and passwords can be very frustrating when you just want to meet with folks and discuss a hot topic. I set up an empty meeting room at the start of the day and just invite people into it as the need occurs. That way I’m only ever one click away from my colleagues or clients.
There is only one thing worse than not being able to get your meetings set up quickly and that is having your web camera pointed at the wrong place. A shot of your knee isn’t going to add much to the meeting unless you are talking to orthopaedic surgeons. Make sure your set up is just exactly how you want it.
Similarly, make sure no-one from the family can unexpectedly barge in behind you. I have a cat that thinks I pay too much attention to my computer and not enough on her. Jealousy makes her leap onto my desk and sit on top of my keyboard just when I’m in full meeting flow. To stop humans entering my home office I stick a ‘studio busy’ notice on the door. It doesn’t always work but it has stopped a few potentially embarrassing moments.
Keep your computer equipment clean and well maintained. I have a real dislike of grubby keyboards and they can be a rich source of germs if you share computers in an office. I have been hugly frustratd trying to write mails using a kyboard with the letter after D and before F not working. I’ve also bbbbbeen frustrated with a keybbbboard where the letter bbbbbbb kept repeating. It’s a small thing but one of many small things that can be the grit in your otherwise well-oiled work space.
The most important part of your set up is the desk and chair. Make sure you have excellent working posture and alternatives. I have a stand-up work space as well as a desk. Using it occasionally stops my lower back from aching. Similarly, try to make sure your office is uncluttered with plenty of space to move around. Arrange channel cables and power supplies so that they are hidden and don’t represent a safety hazard.
I like working from home in the winter as I avoid time consuming unproductive commutes. In the summer I like working from home because I can take advantage of flexible working arrangements and the long summer days. Spring is a good time to take stock of your home working set up and make sure it is just as good as it can be.