Most virtual assistants work at home in their small home office. It’s a chance to work in a place that is completely you – whether your style it country, shabby chic, modern, eclectic, etc. I have written many times about applying Feng Shui to your office for clarity, balance and workflow however today let’s talk about “stuff” .. the stuff you need to have in your office.
If you’re looking to catch up on the Feng Shui posts, they are:
Each home office needs to meet your needs and the needs of your clients, so what works for one person may not work for another. For example, explaining that a file cabinet is a “must have” in our practice is a fallacy, as we are paperless. Literally, all the important papers we need to keep fit into a single 11″ x 13″ envelope (which conveniently fits into a desk drawer or bookcase). So what does every home office really need?
-1- Proper Lighting
Eye strain, fatigue, lethargy, procrastination and moodiness all occur when the lighting in your office is poor – regardless if you are a morning person or a night owl. Lighting is also not a “one source” option, as different tasks and areas of your home office require different lighting. Be prepared to have multiple lamps and lighting fixtures. If you do need to add or update your lighting, please use eco-friendly materials and lighting options.
-2- A Power Desk and Throne
Your desk is your breadwinner, so make sure that it is large enough, but not overpowering in the room. It should amply hold your monitor(s), mouse, keyboard, speakers and microphone, while leaving you enough room for a coaster, maybe a betta, and a place to write.
Have you ever considered a standing desk? After about two weeks of your body acclimatizing to the standing desk, you will find that your posture is much better. Those first two weeks, however are not fun .. trust me, I know.
Next to your computer, your office chair should be the most expensive investment in your office. You are in your chair .. a lot. The Herman Miller Aeron chairs are the way to go and expect to pay $500-600. Respect your body and invest in a good solid chair, not a $99 office supply store cheapie.
-3- Paper Shredder
Even for a paperless business, we still do get paper in the office – receipts from clients, solicitation letters from internet providers (whom absolutely refuse our attempts to get off their mailing lists), and other various promotional materials. Get a shredder and incorporate scan & shred into your Friday afternoon end-of-week procedure.
-4- Use that Vertical Space
You have these four great things called walls – use them! Whiteboards or corkboards first come to mind. Have a creative flair? Take a framed picture that you have in your office and add a thin backing. Paint with chalkboard paint. Flip it to the chalkboard side when you’re brainstorming, flip it when you’re not.
File pockets are also an effective use of wall space. Watch your local Freecycle, or search for used ones. When offices close, much of their contents have a fire sale – take advantage of that. Don’t settle for putty bland colored items. This is your domain, decorate it to your hearts content. Bling it, add pirate stickers (yarghie!) and charms, decoupage it .. just make it yours.
-5- Add Some Fresh Air
Add some plants to your office to purify the air. They also add a calming effect and that’s always a good thing. Some of the best plants for your office are:
- Spider plants (adds relative humidity; reduces dust)
- Lemon balm (smells nice and is a mood lifter)
- Philodendron (reduces VOC & CO2; hard to kill – thankfully)
- Peace lillies (removes more VOCs than nearly any other houseplant)
- Golden pothos (great for low light; reduces VOCs)
Tip: VOC stands for volatile organic compounds
In conclusion, one of the joys of working at home is that you can set up your office the way you want and that is most effective for you. Don’t be shy to experiment in layout but make sure you have the essentials.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.Image Credit: Salon doré Palais de l’Élysée | CC BY-SA 3.0