Millions of Americans spend time working from home each week. And while some people have ample space in their homes for large, dedicated offices, others are limited in the space they have. Learning how to maximize these tiny spaces is critically important.
6 Tips for Small Home Offices
Countless research studies and a long list of anecdotal evidence suggests that the spaces in which we work have a direct and powerful impact on productivity, creativity, and output. This is true regardless of whether you’re working in a skyscraper downtown or a spare bedroom in your apartment. However, it’s noticeably more challenging to optimize a workspace when you have limited space on your hands.
Small spaces aren’t ideal, but you can’t let them negatively impact the work you produce. Here are a few tips you may find helpful:
1.Use Dual-Purpose Items
Ask any interior designer about working in small spaces and they’ll mention the importance of using dual-purpose items. In a home office, this could look like a large filing cabinet that doubles as a work surface, or a sofa that can be used as a pullout bed when you have guests stay at your house over the weekend.
- Rent a Storage Unit
While most modern companies do a pretty decent job of digitizing processes, there’s still a lot of paperwork, equipment, and physical inventory involved in business operations. If you’re working within the constraints of a small office, how do you handle all of these physical items? One answer is self-storage.
“Instead of littering the rest of your house with extra equipment and inventory, you can simply store it at a secure facility,” KeepSafe Storage suggests. “This allows you to access your things whenever you need them. When they aren’t being used, they are out of your way.”
A storage unit also gives you a scalable solution that allows you to increase capacity as your business grows (without infringing upon your limited office space).
- Use Vertical Storage
In small rooms, you don’t always have floor space to waste on storage. But rather than installing bulky cabinets, you can always go up. Vertical storage solutions – like stacked drawers, shelving, and bulletin boards – give you functional areas to store items, while also providing sufficient space.
- Eliminate Clutter
Nothing stifles creativity and makes a small space feel even smaller quite like clutter. In a small office space, you have no room for knickknacks and unnecessary items. Get rid of them!
“Jot down a list of everything you use for at least one to two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, you’ll have a list of items that you actually use and likely should keep,” Wanda Thibodeaux writes for Inc.com. “Everything else, with the exception of occasionally used cables or files, is probably kept with a ‘just in case’ mentality and is a candidate for digitalization or donation.”
When you run across items you don’t need, they should be sorted into three piles: trash, donate, and sell. The more often you do this little exercise, the easier it gets.
- Manage Cables
Speaking of clutter, you need to do something with all of those unsightly cables that make your desk/workspace look like a mess.
There are a variety of cable management solutions on the market. You can use something as simple as a twist-tie or do something as complicated as add a concealed power outlet to the bottom of your desk.
- Set Boundaries
Whether you have a small office space or a large one, you need to set some very clear boundaries so that people living in your home – i.e. children, spouses, and roommates – aren’t constantly infringing on your space.
Ideally, you should have a door on your office. But if you’re working in a very small space where your desk is located in a common living area – such as a hallway nook – clear expectations will help you stay focused and free of distractions.
Make Do With What You Have
Space is definitely a relevant factor, but you can’t let it limit your productivity, creativity, and output. By proactively dealing with this constraint, you can optimize your workspace to ensure you have every chance to be successful. Which suggestions will you put into practice?