Home office hacks for maximum business productivity

| March 1, 2021

Having a split workspace between home and the office is becoming the norm for workers and business owners alike.

But while the home office has become a necessity for many of us over the past year, those who have run businesses from home for years say most people get it wrong when trying to create the right environment and mindset for working and running a business from home.

Retailer Dave Strutton splits his time between his store on the outskirts of Adelaide’s CBD and his home office in the Adelaide Hills.

He believes it’s imperative that we maintain a functional workspace in our homes at all times to accommodate the changing nature of work and the threat of sudden lockdown.

“Over the past year many business owners have found themselves having to work from home for the first time – either full time or in hybrid situations – and I expect that will continue for some time,” Mr Strutton said.

“For that reason, I think it’s more important than ever that we have a dedicated home office that mirrors as much as possible our workstations in our business premises,” he said.

The owner of a Howards Storage World franchise says the key to a good home office is setting up a space that is properly laid out, well equipped and kept neat and tidy.

“Everyone’s homes are different and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another, but you don’t have to have a big space – or even a separate room – for a home office.

“Look for customised and adjustable shelving and storage units that allow you set up a workable space that utilises whatever space you have available.

“This also gives you the flexibility to move things around should your circumstances changes.”

  • Location – Start by selecting a quiet room or space away from distractions and interruptions, such as children, pets and the TV. Don’t plonk yourself on the dining table or spread work across the kitchen bench – you’ll end up with food stains on important documents as you rifle through your things looking for a phone charger! Set aside a permanent space just for working or studying.
  • Equipment – Make a list of everything you need – not just a desk and chair. You’re basically recreating your office workstation so you will need essentials at your fingertips. Drawers and draw dividers, overhead shelves, filing systems and a cable organisation kit will help you maintain order. A wireless charging pad and labels are also useful. If you’re splitting your time between work and home, put items that will be moving between locations in a separate box or basket for a seamless transition.

Workplace expert Maureen Kyne from Maureen Kyne and Associates works from her home in regional Victoria.

She believes there needs to be a clear delineation between your designated work and home zones.

“The lines between home and work have blurred and there are many pitfalls when it comes to working from home or dividing your time between home and the office,” Ms Kyne said.

“You have to be disciplined to create the right environment and right mindset and those who are splitting their time between home and the office really should be aiming for ‘hybrid harmony’.”

  • Dress code – get dressed in the clothes you would normally wear for work. Ms Kyne also applies make-up and puts on her high heels before entering her home office and shutting the door behind her. Dressing appropriately gets you into the right frame of mind.
  • Behaviour – Don’t keep any items nearby such as books and magazines you’re reading to avoid distractions and don’t get in the habit of doing chores or housework, such as putting the washing on or cutting up vegies for dinner, during work hours.

Both experts agree a well-planned and well-organised home office can make working from home a more enjoyable and productive experience.