Avoid These 10 Unforgivable Sins of Home Office Organization

Avoid These 10 Unforgivable Sins of Home Office Organization

If you work from home, you will want to consider these ten big mistakes of home office organization

Picking the Wrong Room

You should pick a room that will be comfortable for your daily business. You don't want sun in your eyes nor sun heating up the room by day. Nor do you want a cold room full of mold, nor a place that will see a lot of activity.

You should pick a room whose orientation is towards whichever direction the sun comes in. A north-facing window in a hot climate, a south-facing window in a cold environment. You don't want an east or west-facing window because there's going to be at last one half of your day where the sun is interfering.

Failure to Consider Repetitive Stress Injury

The insidious scourge of people working from home is repetitive stress industry. Carpal Tunnel syndrome is the poster child for this issue. There is also the question of back pain from sitting in a wrong chair for eight hours per day.

You will want to make sure the seat you are sitting in all day is ergonomic. Make sure as well that it is adjustable. Your keyboard should be in a position on your desk that will let you keep your wrists straight and parallel to the surface.

Failure to Dedicate Space

Your business is going to need space that is exclusive to your business. If you try to use areas that are already occupied by non-business tasks and objects, things will get jumbled up, and you won't be able to find what you need when you're trying to answer a client's question or respond to a request for receipts. If the space you're receiving visitors is full of kid's toys, they might be amused, but they might also be distracted.

You will want to make sure that your desk is clear, your file cabinets are dedicated to your business, and your reception area is well-kept.

Failure to Use All Space Wisely

In the same way movie, characters never bother to check the ceiling for enemies; some people forget that they can use the whole wall. So they put in file cabinets, and when it turns out that there are not enough cabinets, they stick the extra binders and books on top the offices and call it a shelf.

Be willing to add shelves if you need them. Be ready to add as much storage space on the walls as you need. And don't forget that if you have guests, they will also need space, so make sure your reception area is not cramped.

Poor filing System

If you find yourself saying "I'm sure it's somewhere in this drawer," you might be...a disorganized person. You've got to have a filing system, so you can find your documents quickly. If someone is asking for expense reports, they don't want to hear you say that you're sure it's somewhere in the room.

Lack of a Plan

It's very tempting to slack off when working from home. There is no boss telling you to get working. If you are working by yourself, there is no business partner at your side whose presence inspires you.

You will enjoy setting up a working plan for your day. It might be a to-do list written on paper, or some Daily Planner book; you could set up your Calendar app on your phone to give you periodic reminders about getting things done. Whatever works for you, as long as you stick to it.

Ignoring the Needs of Your Business

Suppose you are working from home with a photography business and you're working in a room with poor lighting. Or suppose your home business requires a lot of electrical equipment and you're in a room with one plug that can't accommodate a new three-pronged power cord. Or suppose your business depends on inviting people to your home, and the chair you have for them to sit in a hard, wooden chair in a cold, moldy room.

The space you work in must be appropriate for your business. It must allow you to do the work you need to do, without interference.

Failure to Consider Growth of Business

Just starting out, a business may not involve so many files and objects that you think you will need a significant amount of space or storage. So you pick a nice, relaxing room with an adequate amount of sunlight...and it's the size of a walk-in closet. Home office organization should involve considering how much storage space you will eventually need.

Failure to Consider Basic Security

If your home business depends upon computers, cameras, delicate jewelry, or anything valuable and easy to grab, it can be a tempting target for sneak-thieves who see it through your window. You will want to keep such valuables away from the window and keep their light dimmed if working at night.

If your business depends upon a steady number of visitors, you will want to have liability insurance and keep the activity of the rest of the household from interfering.

In either case, have a home security system installed and valuables insured.

Staying Cooped Up Too Long

Finally, it's easy to get so wrapped up in your work from home that you forget the outside world. Allow yourself to get out of the house now and then. You are your boss. Nobody can dock your pay for taking a break or limit your allowed number of vacation days. Except you, of course. Perhaps you are a mean boss to yourself. Lighten up! Give yourself a break!