What a Difference a Space Makes!

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March 18, 2010 by Erin Casey 

I know many of you work in an office environment. I did too until about two years ago, when my husband was transferred to a new town by the company he worked for. Since then, I’ve worked from my house. We’ve moved a total a four times during the past 24 months, and every move brought different challenges for creating a workable office space. I’ve holed up for eight to 10 hours a day in a not-so-easy chair in the corner of my bedroom, or perched on an office chair in a 3-by-4-foot space using a tiny laptop desk. Finally, we are in a house with an actual office space. And as I told my editor in chief last week, I feel like a new person!

Out of necessity, I’ve learned some tricks to maximizing small workspaces. Whether you’re working from home or are set up in a cozy cubicle, I hope you’ll find these pointers helpful.

Pay attention to your body. Sitting all day can be hard on your back and shoulders, especially if your chair doesn’t properly support your back. If you notice an aching or burning sensation in your shoulder, you can bet your back isn’t aligned correctly. It’s likely that the angle at which you’re holding your arms to type or control your mouse is straining your muscles. Adjust your position and the layout of your desk and computer until you find comfortable solution.

Talk hands free.
In our interview for “Stepping into the Boss’s Shoes,” Rebecca Boenigk of Neutral Posture told me she requires her employees to use a headset. Cradling your phone between your ear and shoulder can do a number on your neck. Use your speaker phone or a headset to avoid some serious pain.

Move often. No matter where you work or what type of chair and desk you use, get up and walk around at least once an hour. Standing and moving will help relax your muscles.

Keep office essentials together.
You may live online, but there are still a few tangible items you need to get your job done. For me, that means a few envelopes, paperclips, a couple writing tablets, sticky notes, a highlighter, a few pens (toss those that don’t write perfectly immediately!), business cards and my phone. Stash whatever you need to accomplish your daily tasks in a box, basket or drawer close to your workspace so you don’t have to stop and hunt for them.

As telecommuting and nontraditional work arrangements become increasingly popular, more people are carving out a dedicated workspace in their home. Create a space conducive to your needs and you’re likely to discover you can be far more productive at home than you ever were at the office.

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One Response to “What a Difference a Space Makes!”

  1. Grace Daly on March 30th, 2010 5:24 pm

    Dear Erin,

    As someone who has recently left the corporate world - I, too, have been working out of my home office for the past 8 months! I am very familiar with some challenges and also the benefits! Love all your tips! Thank you for being a voice for successful women all over!


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