Covid-19 has been hard for the whole world alike.
Suffering lockdowns, losing jobs, working from home to starting new ventures, a lot has happened.
However, if someone has been hit hard, it is the working mums. Maintaining your professional life while you are looking over your family needs is no easy task.
Your productivity suffers big time. So how do you tame this beast?
Thinking of creating a separate home office is the smartest decision.
Redecorating a corner of your home for equipping it for office work can be overwhelming.
But hey, you are not alone.
You have help. Find out how.
Top 7 Ways to Optimise Your Home Office
Optimizing your home office is fundamentally governed by one principle, need over greed.Choose functionality over design and aesthetics. Also, invest in items that you would need to kickstart now.
You can always leave items with a heavier price point and are not required now. You can tag them as ‘buy later.’ This lean approach of investing your resources will help you to keep your budget intact.
Following are a few strategies that will help you achieve this.
- Planning is key to your budget
Putting up a checklist might seem unnecessary for setting up a small office for yourself. But look closer. It’s not only required to decide the look and feel of your home office. Done right, it can save you valuable time and money.
Creating a checklist of necessary items will give you a rough estimation of how much investment you need to make.
If the total cost exceeds your budget, you can always brainstorm ideas to come up with cheaper alternatives. Slash out a few items that you may not require immediately. But this would be impossible if you do not have a complete list of items in hand.
In this stage, start with mapping the total carpet area of your room. You wouldn’t want to overstuff your place. You can use free floor plan software to get a more realistic sense of your final output. While you design for maximum functionality, you need to keep a check on visual clutter.
Now, it’s game time.
2. It’s time to go DIY
You can always opt for purchasing home office products at a reasonable price. Sometimes getting your hands dirty comes with diverse rewards. There are so many utility products that you can buy. But instead of spending your hard-earned money, you can start making them in your home.
Here are a few ideas.
Get creative with your space: Finding a dedicated room for your home office might be a challenge for you, mums. But you can still turn the tables and get creative here. Find a space big enough to install your desk and a few shelves. You do not need to sacrifice a complete room for this. If your bedroom is big enough, create a partition and dedicate the space to your home office. Repurposing your in-built space can also do the job. If you have a spare in-built storage area in your house, use it for your office hours.
Charging station: Low battery is the story of every work from home mum. But having a charging station handy makes this easier. But, instead of buying another product, you can just go DIY. What’s more? Making a portable charging station is both easy and fun.
Trash Bins: Instead of buying one, you can repurpose any small to medium-sized plastic bucket as your trash can. Use textured soft-colored wrapping paper to aggravate its aesthetics.
3. Repurpose your furniture and utilities
Repurposing your existing furniture is an excellent way to save money. Here’s what you can do. Here are a few ideas that you can use.
Office desk: You can use your spare dining table as your office desk if any. If you don’t have one, look for pine kitchen tables at lower-end furniture stores. It will do the job for you.
Office chair: Your chair cannot be bought in haste. It influences your health directly. Your ideal chair is the one that gives you the perfect backrest and keeps your ergonomic posture straight. You can buy this new from somewhere like officemonster.co.uk or second hand from an Amazon reseller or workspace furniture reseller. But, in some cases, if the height of your desk compliments the height of the dining chair, you can always use it.
Filing cabinets: Although the world is moving towards paperless work, hard documents still consist of a significant work process. But new file storage cabinets can cost you hundreds of dollars. Instead, replace your first choice with refurbished filing cabinets at auctions, resellers. An even more cheap alternative is to utilize cardboard. You can choose a banker’s box made of corrugated fiber too.
4. Optimize your resources
Under-utilizing your resources is one of the common mistakes you can make while planning your home office. It’s best to invest in products that enable you to achieve more. Multipurpose is the key to optimum usage of your resources. Below are a few ideas for your consideration.
Printer: Choosing your printing machine can be tricky. Often you might be tempted to buy the cheapest one available in the market. But think again. A cheap printer will not only cost you higher monthly ink maintenance but will just do half of your job. You need to think long-term here. Instead, invest in a printer that doubles as a scanner, copier, and fax machine all-in-one.
Pro Tip: Settle for the machine that solves all your problems. It’s okay if you want to leave one or two functionality as long as your job is done.
Stand: Setting up an explicit printer stand while designing your office adds significant value to your office. Reducing visual clutter allows you to create extra desk space and storage area. You can get an inexpensive printer stand with open shelves for less than $50. But, the cheapest way is to repurpose a spare table at your home. You can use cardboard boxes as a storage area under it.
5. Choose lower-end brands over higher-end
Ideally, the best way of staying on top of your budget is to manufacture everything you require at your home. But the DIY approach might not work successfully every time. Outsourcing items becomes vital here. But you can always come with creative ways to satisfy your budget. Choosing a lower price point brand over a premium one is one such strategy.
6. Personalize for those long working hours
Your home office is your extended self. Remember you’re going to spend a lot of time here doing productive work. So, it is highly recommendable that you invest in creating a lively, engaging, and supporting work environment.
Here are a few items that you can optimize on.
Pen stand: Instead of going for a fancy pen stand, you can repurpose an old coffee cup of your choice. A cheap mesh pen stand can also do.
File cabinets: File cabinets are essential yet can come super expensive to buy. But you can optimize your budget here. Go for a refurbished cabinet over a new one. You can repurpose an extra kitchen cabinet if you have one.
Decoration: Low-cost paintings and artworks can imbibe life to your workroom instantaneously. But, if you want to do a little more, change your window treatments. Add a few translucent curtains to your windows. It will aggravate the visual appeal by multiple times. IKEA is a great option to explore such items. Add a little green to your rooms. Keep a few succulent plants on your work desk. It will instantly add freshness during strenuous work timings. Plants like Areca palm are also a good option to consider.
7. Go eco-friendly
Paperwork is a whole horror story of every office alike. But there is a much more efficient way to tame this beast. The best part? It is eco-friendly.
Turn your office into a paperless zone. Invest in software that helps you achieve this. Here are a few ideas to do so.
Software If you’ve been using the office suite for your work all your life, it is time to change it. The advent of saas-based cloud software services is flexible, high on utility, and inexpensive all at the same time.
The best part is you can use most of the saas products for free. If you’re in the real estate market, having free floor plan software can be immensely beneficial in the start. Experience them and figure out which you are most comfortable in. Then finalize your subscription list.
Storage Replace the traditional method of storing invoices and transaction details on paper. Instead, start partnering with cloud versions of file storage. Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive are all great options to consider here. Opting for e-versions of transaction invoices not only keeps your files secure but also lowers data retrieval time.
The above tricks and tips will guide your way towards your home office’s more optimal setup.
However, remember, your budget should also need to be realistic. If your work scape requires any unique gadgets on the more expensive side, it is often difficult to cut your budget. The key to optimal investment is based on the value an item adds to your daily work process.