Inspiration happens anywhere at any moment. Most entrepreneurs know it’s true. And in the rapidly evolving technological age, there are more ways than ever to keep track of your next money-making idea. Technology is a small business owner’s best friend and comes in all shapes and sizes to boot.
Yet in a world where it is estimated that one in five Americans work from home once a week and 19 percent of small business owners work more than 60 hours per week, having a home office is almost as much a necessity as it is a luxury.
From the mom running her small freelance writing business entirely from home while she balances caring for her two sons under the age of three to the architect with the corner office in a high rise downtown, working from home looks different to everyone. A functional working environment for an artist will be completely unique from that of a marketing professional.
Despite the job description one common thread weaves together the ultimate recipe for success in a home office: organization.
The benefits of being organized as a small business owner are tenfold. Much like the shared entrepreneurial inability to simply leave “work at work,” the need to be organized doesn’t stop the minute you leave the office.
There are time-saving apps that help keep your technology organized and countless tips on how to be more productive at work, but staying on track while working from home can be a challenge if you don’t have a dedicated work space.
We’ve pooled our resources to come up with some creative solutions to help keep you focused while working from home by transforming any room of your house into a functional (yet fabulous) workspace.
The spare bedroom or den. If you’re fortunate enough to have a bedroom to spare, why not consider setting it aside as a home office? Whether you choose to make a statement or keep it simple, a spare bedroom is among the most ideal spaces in your home to house your home office. It offers home office must-haves like a door for privacy, natural light from windows and can normally house as many or few storage pieces (like file cabinets and rolling carts) as you need.
The spare closet. Think of it almost like that beloved built-in hutch where your grandmother hid all the nice China. For those who don’t have a room to spare, utilizing a closet is a great way to live large in a small office space. It may not offer the privacy of an entire room, but it offers floor-to-ceiling potential for all of your organizational needs. The smaller the space, the more crucial it is to maintain a sense of structure, but that can all be integrated into the design process. Shelving, drawers and cabinets are highly useful additions to maximize space.
The attic. For the ultimate in home office seclusion, consider the possibilities an attic can offer. The space is often an underutilized one in most homes, partially due to lacking ventilation. Taking time to properly clean and ventilate the attic is not only a smart investment for your home office design, but could help you save energy costs and protect the structure of your roof. And once you move past the technical stuff, decorating the space can transform it into a comfortable work retreat where you can tune out everything else happening in the home below and focus on the task at hand.
The kitchen. For many American families, the kitchen is the hub around which the world turns. It is not ideal for the entrepreneur trying to complete a project on a deadline or a draftsman attempting to complete a conceptual design. However, it could be a re-imagined use of a breakfast nook, or tucked into an unused corner of the kitchen. It will likely be cozy, but it’s how you utilize the space you have that matters. Integrate storage solutions on the walls and consider elevating your computer on a shelf to save valuable desk space. Working in the hub of all of that excitement keeps you at least somewhat in the familial loop when you have to bring work home.
The living room. Also not best suited for the faint-hearted multi-tasker, the living room is another option that can serve multiple purposes as a home office. Use the fact that it is in a well-travelled space in the home to your advantage by playing into the décor. Whether you choose to utilize a small nook or a larger section of the room, finding ways to integrate things that inspire you may be easier than in other spaces where you are likely starting from the drawing board. Add shelves to help stay organized and consider using multi-functional tools like a rolling cart for added storage space.
Just because working from home is a reality for most small business owners doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore.
Creating a functional and fashionable space to work at home can help keep you focused, but it can do more than that. It can help save you time because you’re most likely being productive than you would be in just any random spot in the house. It can save you the energy of packing up and putting away important documents you can safely and efficiently store and keep track of.
But, most importantly, it can keep you inspired to create, design or do something you love despite the time of day.