How to get your home office organised
With many businesses embracing hybrid working and saying that they won’t be requiring staff to be in the office full-time going forward, it looks as if contractors will be needing those home offices for the long-term. Depending on your industry sector, of course, the likelihood is that your clients may only want you physically present on-site some of the time, if at all, in a post-pandemic world, and the majority of your work will be carried out remotely.
In some respects, this is great news. It allows for even greater flexibility (probably one of the reasons you became a contractor in the first place), requires less travel time, and it can even be a potential IR35 indicator. However, for those of us whose “home office” had been a hastily DIY-ed MICKE desk from IKEA, plus a dining room chair, in the corner of the bedroom, it’s going to require a bit more organisation if it’s going to be the office of the future. It’s one thing working like that for a year while you keep safe during a pandemic. It’s quite enough to work like that for the rest of your career.
So, what can you do to organise your home office so that it works well for you? Luckily, the Kingsbridge team have been chatting about what makes a great home office and we have some ideas.
Have a spring clean
If there’s one thing that coronavirus has taught us is that our pre-pandemic lives probably weren’t as hygienic as we would like to think. Germs spread quickly and we probably should have been sanitising our hands after a trip to the shops long before this. With this in mind, give your office space a good clean. Clear out your desk and get rid of anything you don’t need, dust everything and give your desk a good wipe with antibacterial cleaner, spray your keyboard with canned air to get rid of the biscuit crumbs and give it some anti-bac along with your mouse. Once everything is spotless, pop a reminder in your calendar to give your desk a wipe down a few times a week so that you stay on top of it.
Get some greenery
Getting a houseplant or two for your home office is a great way to brighten it up and inject some personality (you can get some fab pots too). Even better, they help to purify the air in your space, making your office a healthier environment to be in. Before you buy something, have a think about your room and where the plant will sit. Is it in full sun? Part shade? Will the plant sit on your desk or higher up on a shelf? You might also consider how much care you want to take of it. Are you likely to forget to water it for days on end? Or will you be diligent with watering, misting, and plant food? If you want something low maintenance, consider, perhaps, a Snake Plant, which is popular because it’s very hard to kill. Or if your plant is going to sit higher up, perhaps a trailing plant such as Devil’s Ivy would be better suited. If you’re worried about forgetting to look after it, apps such as Planta can give you reminders when it’s due to be watered, misted, or even dusted.
Grab a seat
It’s really important to look after your back and sitting in that dining chair day in, day out won’t be doing you any favours. You can get ergonomic office chairs offering proper lumbar support very affordably these days. If space is an issue, many come with features such as folding arms so that they can easily be pushed away under your desk when not in use – really important if your office is, in fact, the corner of your bedroom and you don’t want the chair to take up too much space.
It’s all about the lighting
Low light is bad for your eyes, which is why offices tend to use super-bright fluorescent bulbs everywhere. This probably isn’t an option for your home office though, so you need to think about how you can boost the light in there to a good level. First of all, if you can, have your desk near a window to make the most of natural light. This is good for your mental health too so it will give you a natural mood boost. It’s also wise to invest in a good desk lamp with a flexible arm to direct the light when you need it. This will help on gloomier days, or when the nights start drawing in again. And if you go for an LED bulb, it will help to conserve energy as well.
Organise your workspace
Your desk needs to be tidy to give you any hope of concentrating. This is a simple task, ensuring that anything that doesn’t need to be out is popped away in a drawer and that pens, pencils and other stationery are neatly in a jar or pencil case. If you don’t have drawers or space for a stationery jar, consider a pegboard with organisational accessories so that all your bits and bobs are stashed on the wall, leaving you clutter-free.
Having a filing system is vital to most contractors, particularly if your role generates a lot of paperwork. Even if it doesn’t though, you’ll likely have contracts, accountancy paperwork and other things that will need filing, so having a decent filing cabinet (even just a single drawer if you don’t need much) along with an in-tray, an out tray, and a shredder will help to keep you organised. Make time once or twice a month (more if you need to) to clear your in-tray, file things away and shred anything you don’t need to keep. You’ll thank yourself for it after a few months.
If you come across your business insurance paperwork when you’re filing, double-check your renewal dates. If it’s coming around to that time, give the Kingsbridge team a call on 01242 808740 to discuss your options.