The secret to getting focused, inspired, and making the most of your limited time may be more straightforward than you think.
It’s all about your workspace.
Creating the perfect home office space can seem daunting, especially when you have kids underfoot or other “less-than-ideal” conditions. Lucky for us, we have a legion of accomplished small business owners at Pepperlane who’ve been there, done that, and made it work by finding creative home office solutions.
Many of us work from home for years before designating a work space for ourselves. We sit on the couch, at the kitchen table or the coffee shop down the street. But, truth be told, not having a proper workspace can put a damper on productivity. When you have limited time to run a business, efficiency is the ladder up.
Your home office space doesn’t have to be anything fancy, or even its own room. The most important thing is that it is a dedicated work space just for you that doesn’t double as a playroom, toy repository, or junk storage. However, if you are tight on space, think about ways to re-organize a room so that you can still have an area just for business. And remember, it can be hard to carve out a space that is just for you. Give yourself permission to take space for your business—what you are doing is valuable and worthy of a dedicated area!
Investing in your office will make you more productive and confident. Here’s how to update or create a home office space with ease.
Location, location, location
Do you worry your home office will never be featured on HGTV? We feel you, but the good news is, it doesn’t matter! Technology has streamlined some typical office processes, and most of us don’t need a ton of space for large equipment anymore. And you certainly don’t need a separate room. You can make space anywhere, though ideally your space would have a door you can close (see you after work, kids!).
We asked Pepperlaners to share their home office hacks with us and they’ve found some very creative solutions! A few examples include: the nook under the stairs, a walk-in closet, a converted garage, or that fancy dining room you only use once per year.
Guard your office space and remind your family that its off limits as toy storage overflow, craft land, or any other kid-friendly purpose. Nope, it’s all yours! If your space is loud, consider adding a noise machine (thanks for the tip Christina Granahan), or grab some noise-canceling headphones.
Organization and storage
Overflowing piles of paperwork, business cards, and other brain-clogging stuff can impede productivity. Pepperlaners have organization down to a science. Robyn White recommends, “a file cabinet for files and a dresser with drawers for office supplies so they’re tucked away. She says, “files I need daily are in an organizer on my desk.” Success coach Jess Miller knows a thing or two about getting things done. She shares, “the environment being lovely and not cluttered has a huge impact on my productivity.” Need help getting organized? Find an expert near you.
Decor and inspiration
Creating a space where you want to work is important! The best way to do that is to make it your own and make it work for the way YOU work. Get creative with your desk too! Jessica Cohen loves her counter-height drafting table where she can spread out her piles and stand up if she feels the urge.
And finally, the best part of designing your own office space? Decorating! We could talk about decor all day but again, it doesn’t have to be Joanna Gaines approved—instead, think about what will bring you joy? A dog bed for your work buddy, a wall clock, an electric fireplace to keep it cozy (we love this one from Rita Morris), a candle or diffuser, artwork, a bulletin board? What gets you excited to work: vision boards, photos of vacation with your family? Daily motivation calendar? Post-it note grid? Quotes? Blank space?
Lighting and seating
Don’t skip this one! It’s normal to think that any old chair and lamp will get the job done, but both are important to overall health. According to The Manual, a bad chair can lead to “fatigue, musculoskeletal injuries, poor circulation” and more. Bad lighting can also take a toll on health: if your monitor is brighter than the surrounding room, your eyes have to work harder to see. Natural lighting is ideal. If possible, find a spot with at least one window and adjust the lighting from there. A supportive desk chair and good lighting can help you stay focused and energized as you work to get more done with your precious time.
An extra monitor may seem like an unnecessary splurge, but once you work with one, it’s hard to go back. A second monitor creates efficiencies, especially if you need to move a lot of information from one document to another. For as little as $70, you can increase your productivity by up to 40%.
The work “go” bag
A few Pepperlaners mentioned this brilliant “office-on-the-go” strategy. Interior designer Angela Hall recommends having a bag ready with all your office/work supplies. That way, you can pick it up and bring it wherever you need to go — inside or outside your home. What’s in the bag? Think pens, paper for taking notes, lap top, chargers, mints, files for active projects, and/or office supplies. Basic, but brilliant.
#1SimpleAct: If you don't have a designated office space, take 10 minutes today to pick a spot in your home and claim it as your own! Already have a space? Write down 2-4 small improvements you could make based on these suggestions and keep the conversation flowing on Facebook.
Work smarter, not harder
Thanks to all the members of our community for pitching in their tips! Pepperlaners know what business owning moms go through, and what’s worth adding to the budget—like a second monitor, or the right lighting for your home office space. They also know that a Pepperlane Boost is an amazing place to get feedback on all areas of your business. Your first Boost is on us, join in and get advice and feedback on the small, but impactful ways you can grow a business that fits your #momlife.