Here’s a round-up of style ideas and clever software that will help you work smarter, not harder. These are the four S’s of home office design
How to create a home office space that helps to increase your productivity
If you wear a lot of hats throughout your day thanks to a demanding business, having a dedicated space to take care of things will change the way you work. Creating a home office space that encourages you to be efficient requires a bit of thought and planning so we’ve rounded up some style ideas and clever software that will help you work smarter, not harder. Check out our four S’s of home office design: Smart Spaces, Storage, Set up and Style below.
Being productive is tricky especially if you’re under pressure trying to process piles of expenses, estimates, invoices and spreadsheets. While it’s important to have an organised home office, it’s worthwhile going back a couple of steps to see if there are any work practices you can update to streamline the way you do things. The rise of digital tools and apps like Xero make it easier than ever to manage your work efficiently and minimise your paperwork.
Software like Xero will change the way you organise your finances and your time. Everything is recorded in one place so whether you’re the tradie or the bookkeeper, you can instantly see what’s happening. The Xero app also allows you to send invoices and track expenses on the go from your phone – giving you the freedom to be productive even when you’re not in the office.
There’s a reason why “tidy space, tidy mind” is such a well-known saying – we know a messy workstation is definitely not conducive to being productive. Going paper free with Xero will help you to cut a lot of your clutter, but you also need a low-effort way to sweep aside the chaos at the end of the day. The size of your home office and how you like to work will guide the style of storage you need. Have a think about what would encourage you to keep your space clutter-free. Labelled storage boxes? A bookshelf or cube system? A dedicated file cabinet?
The current minimalist trend for slimline desks and trestle tables is one of our favourites but you’ll need to get creative with storage as these styles don’t offer any. A good work around is to tuck some drawers underneath your desk and add a few floating shelves to your wall. If you have limited floor space, these shelves are a clever way to maximise your office storage – add an indoor plant or two to make your space feel more inviting.
If your workspace is in your general living area, see if you can commandeer some space in a storage cupboard, kitchen cabinet or wardrobe. If you can’t, it’s best to choose something that can blend seamlessly into your interior. We love fabric-covered or woven storage boxes and small, chic cabinets.
Just like a good party, a home office needs a set up to rival any other. How you set up your workspace also has a direct effect on your productivity. The first step is location, location, location. One of the biggest threats to productivity is not being able to separate work life from personal life so, if you can, keep your study space out of your bedroom and out of the direct line of sight of your TV. Next, think about how you’re going to use the space and lay it out as you would a kitchen; in a work triangle. Keeping your necessities like important files and stationery within reach will save you time and effort when you’re trying to get work done.
Ensure you choose a space where natural light is in abundance. Placing your desk under a window is a good option and the bright outlook will make sitting at your desk feel less arduous. However, keep the direction of sunlight in mind. There’s nothing more distracting, or annoying, than the sun reflecting off your screen, or receiving the afternoon sun directly into your eyes as it sets.
In terms of ergonomics; your desk should be deep enough for your computer screen to sit an arm’s length away. The top of your screen should be at eye level and your chair should allow you to sit with your feet flat on the floor. Take your measuring tape out with you when you go shopping to ensure you get the height right.
And for the pet owners, set up a spot for your dog too. Studies have shown that the presence of dogs in the workplace helps to diminish stress levels. Win-win!
You’re more likely to spend time in your home office if it’s a place you want to be in, so this a good excuse to go shopping and decorate. Look to the rest of your house for style inspiration. Scandi-style desks of blonde wood and tougher, industrial-inspired pieces are right on trend. As long as it adheres to ergonomic principles, there’s also no reason why your work chair can’t be both stylish and comfortable.
In terms of colour, green, blue and yellow are believed to inspire focus, optimism, efficiency and creativity, whereas red and orange can be too intense and distracting. Studies have shown that glancing at some type of greenery for 40 seconds can markedly boost concentration levels. This could be a green wall, green pinboard or some pot plants. In fact, pot plants should be included regardless; they bring life and a reminder of the outdoors into a space.
Personalise your office space to make it yours; it’s a great opportunity to turn every day, necessary objects into decor pieces. It could be as simple as using ceramic tumblers as pen holders and storage baskets instead of plastic containers. A wall of inspiring images or art will also help to improve productivity for beautiful business.
If you want to find out more about how Xero can help you to save time managing your small business by working smarter, visit Xero.com and sign up for a free trial.