I recently treated myself to a new chair for my office. Previously I had a big, black office chair, which did the trick, but really wasn't 'me', so I decided it was time to get a chair that suited my personality.
As a Virtual Assistant, I spend more time in my home office than anywhere else, so providing myself with an office that is comfortable and pleasant to spend time in is essential, in order to keep my working hours productive.
If you work from home, here are a few things you might like to do, to help make your office a more comfortable and enjoyable to space to work in:
An office needs to be well lit, and preferably with plenty of natural lighting. Many home offices are in basements or tucked away in corners where there is not much natural lighting. It can also help to have multiple options for lighting, like a desk lamp, as well as overhead lighting.
Avoid having a desk that is full of crumbs left over from your lunch or other things that keep it messy. Maintaining a clean office doesn’t require much more than just straightening up at the end of each day.
In addition to just keeping it clean, it’s equally important to have an organised office. If your surroundings are unorganised it is likely that you’ll feel like your thoughts are unorganised and this can create stress. Also, try to keep computer wires hidden away.
Once you have organised your office you should be able to identify some things that you really don’t need. Get rid of all of any excess clutter and you'll give yourself a more peaceful working environment with fewer distractions.
With a home office it can be very tempting to make it a home office/storage space or to use it for some other purpose. If you’re spending a considerable amount of time in the office it is best to use that space only for work. Having a clear separation of work and personal space is helpful for a healthy work-life balance, plus having a dedicated office will allow you to set it up in a way that makes it most comfortable for your working hours.
Part of making a home office comfortable involves decorating it in a way that inspires you and encourages creativity. Wall art and decorations are a great way to improve your home office.
A plant or two can create a natural and inviting environment. Plants can be bought inexpensively and there are all kinds of plants available for various amounts of natural light.
Trying to work in a space that is too hot or too cold is not a good idea. Being comfortable with the temperature will help you stay awake, be productive and help with creativity.
My Virtual Assistant is three years old on 13 March! Wow! I can't believe it's been three years already!
Now, as I head into my fourth year of working very happily in my 'virtual world', I am extremely proud to say that all my business comes from referrals I've been given from existing clients, from my fab networking groups and from my website.
On that note, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my wonderful clients, family and friends for all your support. Thank you!
I recently found some tips on how to work smarter, manage your career and lead a more meaningful life, so I thought I'd share a few of them with you:
1. Embrace gratitude as a business strategy
Almost everyone suffers from Gratitude Deficit Disorder. We want to know that we matter, that our efforts make the world a better place, and so do your customers, vendors, coworkers, employees, friends and family. So make an action plan to communicate your appreciation in 2012.
2. Brand early, not often
An early investment in business branding is no different than taking the time and money to set up an operating agreement or purchase efficient machinery that won’t break down.
3. Motivate your employees with workplace flexibity
Organisations that provide a healthy and robust work/life flexibility will win the talent war when it comes to finding and keeping good staff. For example, try asking your employees for their opinion - it's likely you will find they aren’t actually asking for much.
4. Hire your staff for their spirit, not just their skills
A leader can be coached on how to become more influential and engage their team to achieve great results; an employee can be trained for technical skills. But spirit is the set of 'soft' skills that can’t be trained effectively. People with the right spirit can be difficult to find, but they are necessary in order for a company to excel.
5. Make small changes often
We often try to focus on the 'Big Picture' or our 'Goal', and that's good, but the best way to reach your target is by making little adjustments along the way. Regularly making small changes is a lot easier to stick to than trying to make a big change immediately.
6. Do what you say you are going to do
Accountability is very important. If you say you are going to call, then call. If you promise to send someone information, send it. Finish a job when you promised you would - or earlier - with quality work. Let people know as soon as you can when you are running late for an appointment. If you say 'Let's get together sometime', make a note on your calendar in the near future to set something up - or don't say it at all.