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April 23, 2016

Reader Mailbag: How To Create a Together Home Office

Mailbag GraphicVersha, recently wrote in to ask for advice about her role shift from school principal to one where she’ll need a home office. What a great question. . . How have I not written about this before? I’ve been a home office woman for almost five years!

With the help of Ryan F., a newly-minted home-office-using talent and human resources consultant in New Orleans, here’s a list of must-haves for a Together Home Office. Writing this also forced me to reevaluate my own setup!

Technology Needs

  • Dual monitor setup.  Saves so much time to have 2 screens!
  • Fast Internet.  Totally worth the upgrade.
  • Printer/Scanner combo. Or a great printer and a separate scanner.
  • A docking station to link your computer, power cord, keyboard, monitors, and mouse.
  • A second mouse and second power cord.  Pro tip: “Keep one set in the office.  Never take it out.  Keep the other in your bag for when you travel outside your house to work.  If you try to survive with just one of any of these items, you will inevitably leave it behind somewhere, and that can really throw off a day!”
  • Headset for phone calls. I have experimented with literally ten different versions and my iPad headphones seem to work best!
  • If you use only laptops, a laptop stand will save your back.
Ryan Desk - Cropped

Ryan’s dual screen standing office set up

Comfortable Furniture

  • An adjustable desk/work station/ way to work comfortably while standing.  Sitting 5-6 hours in a row is the worst.
  • I personally love this chair from the Container Store.
  • If you do choose to stand, a soft mat to stand on.
  • Bookshelves for books, magazine boxes, and so on.
  • An inbox to catch all your papers.

Office Supplies

  • Stamps.  Buy 20.  As Ryan advises, “Don’t go to the post office 3 different times buying only a couple at a time (like I did), continually thinking you won’t need more. You will.  Also, stamps.com is the way to go if you’re mailing enough to make it worth it.”
  • Document stand. I have had luck with this one.
  • Plastic document envelopes for receipts and such.
  • Pencils, pens, tape, staplers and the like.

Just for fun, here’s an actual shot of my home office!

Maia's Desk - CroppedYou can see a few other things that keep me Together:

  • My daughter’s art work hanging on the left.
  • Water!
  • Printed Outlook calendar with my favorite pen.
  • Nice window view – complete with trees!
  • Old-fashioned wall calendar on the right. I reference this ALL the time.

Some closing words of wisdom from Ryan: “Your office space doesn’t need to be large.  Mine is 25-sq-ft in one corner of one room, but that’s all I need to make me feel like I have a separate space that is dedicated to work, and thus work doesn’t overtake the rest of the house!”

Readers, please chime in! What else do you need to keep your home office Together?

PS – Drowning in paper at your desk? Five Steps to a Total Desk Makeover

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