Home Offices

Simple set-ups even a man can do

imageThanks to the shaky economy, many of us may not be heading back to an office this fall. Instead, more and more of us will be working from home. Whether it’s by choice or circumstance, if you’ll be working from home, it’s time to think about setting up an office.

And you’re not alone says Holly Bohn, Founder and CEO of See Jane Work (seejanework.com), a popular online destination for modern, stylish organizational supplies. According to Bohn, the home office has become the new focus in the home.

“Just a few years ago the kitchen was the communication hub of the household,” Bohn explains. “Now, it’s the home office.”

imageA functional at-home work space today, however, can be as simple as clearing off a kitchen counter to make room for your laptop. “Sometimes it’s just not possible to have a dedicated room to work in,” says Bohn. “And that’s ok. If a portable office works better with your lifestyle, then go with it.”

In that case, Bohn suggests stocking up on lidded storage boxes and zippered pouches that you can easily tote around. “It’s smart to have pieces that move in and out of your office. Being mobile helps to break up the monotony of working in one room.”

If you are lucky enough to have a room or part of a room to devote your office to, shop at home first to fill it. Rather than feeling the pressure of buying an expensive desk that resembled the one in your corporate office, why not use the one your college-bound teen left behind? Or maybe an old dining table will do the trick. Whatever it is, clean it off and make it yours.

Bright, colorful accessories are an easy way to personalize your space. “It’s important to surround yourself with items that reflect your personal style,” says Bohn. “Plus, being surrounded by items that you love will make you more productive.”

Instead of stocking up on boring, standard office supplies, think outside the box. Choose a desk blotter and matching letter trays in your favorite color or pick up notebooks and file folders in modern designs. Allow yourself to be a little more creative and you’ll certainly be happier while you work.

Another important tip, whether your home office is a small corner or a large room, know your organization style. “If you’re a stacker, stay a stacker,” says Bohn. “Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself such as investing in a file cabinet filled with hanging folders. You’ll never use them.” It’s important to create a system that reflects the way you work best.

For Bohn, that means a large bulletin board. “My refrigerator is always covered in invitations, reminders and my kids’ artwork. It’s what works for me,” she says. “I re-created that system in my office by hanging up a few magnetic bulletin boards and organizing them by tasks such as, ‘to do’, ‘to pay’, ‘to file’, etc.”

Whatever your work style is, remember to be true to yourself and have a little fun. Afterall, isn’t that one of the perks of working at home?

lauren debellis

A former magazine editor, Lauren DeBellis has been writing and producing stories about home decorating and design for nearly ten years. She resides in East Northport with her husband.