Since the pandemic, the phrase “Don’t quit your day job” no longer applies. Millions of people have left the daily grind to work for themselves in the gig community.
But while no commute, setting your schedule, and doing what you love sounds great in theory, the reality is that there are lots of distractions for gig workers while they’re at home.
Many of these freelancers or solopreneurs find that the best way to get work done is to head to a coffee shop or another quiet place where they won’t be disturbed. However, you can still work from home as long as you have a dedicated office space.
Do you already have an area earmarked for your office? You’ll want a spot where the natural light is at a premium, and you can enjoy some sunshine while you work. Beyond that, use these tips to set up any area and turn it into a place ready for maximum productivity.
1. Start With the Furniture
You need two furniture essentials if you want to function comfortably and safely: a desk and a chair. Working from the couch or bed may be comfortable, but it’s not good for your back and neck.
Look for a desk that fits your office’s available space, ensuring the top area is wide enough for your computer. You’re safe with nearly any decent-sized desk if you have a laptop.
Next, find a chair that slides roomily under the surface. You need enough legroom to be able to move around. Consider how much area you have behind you, too, as you’ll need a chair small enough to get in and out smoothly.
If you’re still not wholly thrilled with the ergonomics of your desk and chair, you can always buy a seat cushion designed to help support any spinal issues you’re concerned about.
This step shouldn’t be taken lightly, as an uncomfortable, tight desk and chair situation will deter you from working in your office over time. Since you’re a gig worker, you can use your membership at places like Selfgood to get discounts on high-quality, ergonomically-friendly office furniture you’ll use for years.
2. Move Into the Storage Solutions
The storage space you’ll need will depend on your gig working job. Do you stay in your office all day, or is it a place you go after the heavy lifting to complete paperwork and handle communication?
Grab the necessities of office supply organization, like a printer, pen holders, post-its, and file folders. Add anything extra you might use, such as staplers, hole punchers, tape, etc.
Once you have an idea of the supplies you’ll use, you can shop for the right storage solution for you. This might mean getting a bookshelf or file cabinet to slide next to your desk, or you could have everything you need if you got a desk with drawers and shelves.
3. Minimize the Clutter
Having reminders of the things you enjoy while you’re working can help motivate you. Go ahead and hang some art or put some framed pictures on your desk. But there’s a fine line between personalizing your place and cluttering up your office space.
The less “stuff” you have in your area, the easier it is to keep everything neat and organized. You’ll reduce time spent scrambling to find the right document or writing tool or figuring out which Post-it note you actually need if you’re always tidying up as you go.
Try to eliminate as much surface clutter as possible, using drawers and hidden storage. Studies show those visual distractions minimize your productivity.
4. Have a “Stay Out” Boundary
Having a gig often means you get to be at home with your family more. When they’re around while you’re working in your office, you’ll need to set and enforce “stay out” boundaries.
This might be challenging to everyone at first, but if you stick to a routine and your loved ones know when you’re not available, it becomes easier for everyone. You don’t have constant distractions, and your family knows when you’ll be available for them to enjoy your company.
Because you set those boundaries, you can get your work done faster and get back to your personal life. It’s a winning situation for everyone.
Having a productive home office is a vital part of being a gig worker. That space should combine efficiency and comfort, including some natural lighting, and be a distraction-free (or mostly free) zone.
With these four tips, you can set up any space in your home and turn it into a place where focusing and structure, along with a little personality, are the primary features.