Despite size and budget constraints, having a dedicated office space is critical to creating a work environment that enhances productivity and enables focus on what matters most. In a time of ever more expensive real estate, it can be difficult to find an effective workspace that is large enough to accommodate what is needed. Work spaces, especially small ones, are challenging in that there is rarely sufficient space available. So I created the SMOV system, which enables us to maximize space, productivity, and functionality even in a tiny office space.
First, Strategize. Ask yourself what you really need in your office space and what you can live without. Then focus on crafting an office space to accommodate essential items. Essential items include your desk, chair, computer, printer, and frequently used office supplies. Do you really need that huge plant or that enormous easy chair, or can they go elsewhere? Once you’ve determined the essentials, you’ll have a good idea of how much room they’ll require.
Then, Minimize. Rather than large, clunky horizontal furniture, go as small as possible. Smaller workstation surfaces take up less space and lend themselves to reduced clutter and fewer unneeded items, simply because there is nowhere for these to land. So, all else being equal, choose small over large to make better use of scarce space.
Continue with Optimize. Determine the best layout to optimize the available space. Separate distinct workstations from each other to reduce noise, lessen disruptions and distractions, increase concentration, and enhance productivity. Arrange furniture so that each workstation has its own separate work space which is distinct from other work areas.
Finally, Verticalize. Yeah, not really a word. But still. Verticalize describes making the most of the available vertical space. Rather than minimizing here, go big. With an eye towards less obvious or even hidden space, look around and see if there are places which could be better designed. Then use these. A freestanding shelving unit in the middle of the room not only provides additional storage and an extra workspace, but can also serve as a privacy and sound-dampening divider. Floor-to-ceiling shelving along the walls can be used for much needed storage. Can that little cupboard under the stairs be used as another office or for additional storage? Look critically at the space to determine non-obvious work areas and go from there.
Lisa Mark, C.P.O. is a productivity expert and Certified Professional Organizer. Contact Lisa if you would like to find out how she can help maximize space in your home office.
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