Creating a Home Office in a Small Space

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Creating a Home Office in a Small Space

For those of us who are working from home, Heather Chilvers has contributed an article to help us create a home office space we can be comfortable in. This may be a bit of a challenge when space is limited. So, continue reading below for ideas. Perhaps this could be your project for the upcoming weekend?

Heather is amongst Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s. leading Sales Agents. She has over 30 years, experience in Real Estate. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332 1793. All questions will be treated confidentially. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

– Stay Safe Everyone

Transitioning from Office life to a Home Office

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me working from home was a massive transition from office life. I liked the structure of being in the office around 9 am. I liked the fact that everything on my desk was ready to go and just where I knew to find it. I like that I could print whenever I wanted to in color or black and white. I enjoyed having my colleagues around me. So, when I first started working from home, I found myself struggling, not so much with time management but finding a suitable space to set up my work area. It turned out that my handy dandy laptop, which I rarely used, seemed to have a completely different keyboard arrangement, to which I had to readjust. I also didn’t have a printer at home and hadn’t had time to get one before lockdown. Nothing was in the right place, markers, pens, highlighters, the stapler, the sellotape, the paperclips, not to mention anywhere to keep my files and papers organized.

Eventually, I realized I needed to set up a home office space, but the problem was that we live in a tiny apartment. So how was I going to go about creating a home office space in a cramped environment?

I had to compromise with space to set up a small office in our apartment. However, after some adjustments to my desk location and setup, I ended up with a modest corner of productivity at the end of an extendable kitchen counter (Thank God for Zoom virtual backgrounds).

Here are a few tips for creating a (mostly functional) workspace in your home.

1. Choose the right space

For me, that means not the bedroom, that is a place of rest. I don’t want to go to sleep looking at my work desk, and worse still thinking about what’s on it that still needs completing. So, sometimes that means compromising with other spaces. You may find a little wall area in your living or dining room, settle in the far corner of the kitchen, or find a new use for a cupboard space by removing the doors (so that you can fit your knees under your ‘new desk’). Wherever it is considering whether it has enough electrical outlets for your equipment.

2. Manage your cables

Nothing slows down productivity like a space that’s messy and doesn’t feel comfortable. Tuck your cables and wires away behind your desk/counter/table if possible, if not use elastic bands, twist ties, or zip ties, to help manage them and keep them from tangling up.

3. Windows and sunlight are your friends

An essential aspect of any office is access to sunlight. Natural light is by far the healthiest, plus you can leave the windows open for plenty of fresh air, and if you glance away from your computer, you may be able to admire the flowers and birds that are in your garden. If windows are a problem, use extra lighting and consider potted plants to oxygenate your space and keep you calm.

4. Water!

It may seem obvious, but keep a source of water nearby, whether it’s a large bottle, a jug, or setting up near your drinking water source. When you’re working from home, like any other workplace, you need to stay hydrated. But regular trips to the kitchen can lead to distractions, procrastination, and unnecessary snacks.

5. Go tall

One of the best space ideas for a home office is to use the full height of your wall (not always possible). Install shelving that goes high up, stack your drawers, and make use of the space below the desk. By building vertically instead of horizontally, you’re still using the same amount of floor space in your home while optimizing storage space, keeping everything you need nearby.

6. Ergonomics

Your home office computer set up should be as ergonomic as possible (not everyone can afford a new ergonomic chair at the moment).  Even so, you’ll need a chair with back support, set at the correct height, which should be eye level with your screen when your back is straight. Doing this encourages the flow of oxygen and blood, which helps you think and helps with preventing back and shoulder problems. Some people have portable, height-adjustable desks, which can help if you prefer to stand.  Alternatively, I have in the past used a large exercise ball, as a chair, which is great as it encourages core strength as you sit.

7. Use storage creatively

Tidy spaces help keep your thought process clean and driven. Dividing up drawers, installing under desk jars, hanging hooks, or even repurposing wine racks are all creative ways to maximize your storage space. You’ll want to have all the supplies you need nearby, so you don’t have to keep moving around the house to find your materials.

8. Share boundaries with the people you share the space with

Your office may be in an area where your partner/family/housemates regularly access, and it’s a good idea to explain your need to keep this space for professional purposes only. Tell them that while you are in this space, you are working and should not, if at all possible, be disturbed.

Be patient creating your home office space

It took me a while to figure out how to work from home effectively. However, having got more used to it I am enjoying the flexible schedule. I quite enjoy jumping onto my computer early in the morning and getting a large section of my work completed early in the day, leaving time for other things.  So now the question is whether I should be more concerned about transitioning back to the ‘main office‘? How are you managing, comment below?

Local Bermuda is about the Bermudian way. If you would like to contribute a story to be shared on our blog, please email us at support@local.bm or submit a request here and we’ll reach out to you. Stay safe everyone!

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