Many of us have a home office, a place where we can work from our house or, for those of us who are slackers, “work” from our house. Whether we use our home office to get end of the year reports done or use it to catch up on an assignment while we are out sick, a home office is an important place for productivity, productivity that could probably benefit from an upgrade.
Now, a home office upgrade doesn’t mean you should set up a board room in your house or spend time around a leaky water cooler, gossiping about office politics with your dog and cat. Instead, a home office upgrade simply involves giving your office a little kick in the cubicle.
Get high speed Internet. If you don’t have high speed Internet yet – in other words, if you’re Amish – you don’t know what you’re missing; dial-up is so ten years ago (and oddly takes ten years to perform). If you rely on the Internet for work, high speed Internet will help you get things done much faster. You will be able to download documents, send attachments, open emails, and perform research all at an expedited rate. Get on the high speed Internet band(width) wagon as quickly as possible.
Remove distractions. One of the problems with working from home is the amount of distractions surrounding you. If it’s not the cable television enticing you, it’s your brand new video game sayings, “Psst…over here.” Instead of surrounding yourself with work deterrents, remove them from your situation. Keep the television, game consoles, and page-turning mystery novels away from your work area. It’s also a good idea to ask your kids not to bother you during certain hours: playing with them is probably a lot more appealing than writing an overdue expense report.
Put in a file cabinet. Sure, file cabinets may scream “office building,” as if all you need to get is a micro-managing boss and you’ll be right smack dab in the corporate world. But file cabinets are essential to keeping you organized, which is essential to getting things done quickly and efficiently. A file cabinet also allows you to keep work stuff separate from home stuff, helping to assure you won’t accidentally throw out company invoices with the latest JC Penney catalog.
Soundproof the room. If your office is located in a house full of noises – kids hollering, dogs barking, neighbors mowing – soundproofing your room can help free you from distraction. Soundproofing a room, particularly not one large in size, is fairly easy to do (it can be as simple as spraying specialized foam on the room walls), and it’s a lot easier than soundproofing your kids.
Leave out what you don't need. Some of us are born mess makers – holding the Peanuts character Pigpen as our own personal hero. Yet, of all the places to make a mess, your home office isn’t one of them. For this reason, make an effort to keep things out of your office that you don’t need. Must you really have your childhood collection of army soldiers sitting on the top of your desk? No, probably not.