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How to create a home office sanctuary

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics over 1 million Australians currently work from home. That’s a lot of people watching TV on their lunch break.

Even more Australians probably work at home that aren’t capture in the stats. And who can blame them?

A Melbourne University study from February 2013 found people who work from home get more done and feel less stressed. The National Broadband Network should see the number of Australians working in a home office at least part of the time increase even more.

But, as home-workers will know, the right space can make the difference between productive and procrastinating with regular trips to the fridge.

Here’s some simple tips to help you create a functional haven.

Have a designated work space & actually work there

As tempting as it is to work from the comfort of your couch you’re not doing yourself any favours mentally or physically by working from an area of relaxation.

Space permitting, get yourself a proper desk or table and make it your specified productivity area. Try not to use the area for anything but work.

If you’re strapped for space, a corner of your dining room table will suffice but make sure it’s always free from clutter and ready to be used for the working day. Stacks of mail, dirty plates and unfolded laundry are total productivity killers.

Get organised

Give yourself an afternoon to get organised. Create folders on your computer desktop and file each document into the correct folder. In terms of physical supplies, be sure to have everything you need stored neatly near your workspace: pens, pencils, stamps, sticky tape, scissors.

Consider what you need to store and spend some money on the perfect storage system. Try a filing cabinet with folders or several expanding files stacked on a shelf.

Archive boxes can be an inexpensive storage solution as well. Experiment with a few different storage methods and find the one that works the best for you.

Separate your work life from your home life

Never do your washing during your work day or vacuum on your lunch break. It’s extremely important to keep your work and home life separate. Try not to use your desk for anything but work. Also keep your work supplies separate to your home supplies. For example don’t use your work scissors to cut open food packets in the kitchen. It may seem like a trivial boundary but it really helps mentally compartmentalise the difference between work and home.

Invest in a proper chair

If you’re working from home every day, you need to have proper body support. Take yourself into a quality office supply store? Think about the seat depth, the height of back and whether or not it has arm rests. All of these factors are crucial to your comfort and working health.

Try Matt Blatt for designer replicas in more appealing styles and colours than basic black leather. The right chair can make or break your work day.

Colour code your workspace

Inject a little colour into your home office with a few clever decorating tricks. Mount a pin board above your work space and regularly change the display. Try scrapbooking paper, cardboard cutouts, bunting, photographs, dried flowers or twigs.

Drape scarves or fabric over your desk chair and perhaps add a colorful cushion. Make sure all your folders match and are neatly labelled. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, just put a little effort into the presentation.

Don’t forget to add some art work or posters for a personal touch and remember to rearrange and update your office every now and then for a fresh perspective. Simple things like a set of matching stationary, a refreshing scented candle or a perfect coffee mug can make a huge difference in creating a dynamic and inviting work environment.

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