Creating a Productive Home Office

Messy Home OfficeI am happy to say that I am eventually upgrading my home office and this is something I am really looking forward to.

My current office layout is now nearly 8 years old and a lot has changed since then. Time for a change and time for me to start with a blank canvas and plan an ideal and productive home office.

My home office 9 foot x 7 foot, so a pretty good size for just me and all the techie gadgets I can fit into it!

I am trying to get quite a minimal layout within my office whilst building a great working environment. My current office is rather cluttered and does become a dumping ground for a lot of things.

So, the essentials I need as far as I can see are a chair, desk, filing cabinet, inbox trays, and some cabinet to hold my printer.

I am totally clearing my office and buying everything new. I am going to take down my wall units and get the office painted and new carpet.

I currently have a desk with two drawers down each side. One is a drawer and filing cabinet and the other is three drawers. The filing cabinet is bad as it is hard to get my files in and out due to the layout of the drawer and the fact that it does not fully open. I currently have quite a cheap fake leather chair. My printer is on the top of a nice Ikea wooden cupboard.

For my new office I want a big, curved desk to hold my MacBook Pro and 30″ Monitor. I have seen one in Ikea from the Galant range. I want to do away with pedestal drawers as I just seem to fill these with junk, as most drawers are in most offices.

I am looking for a nice premium but trendy chair. Not really started looking but one in Costco does take my eye although it is quite expensive at £250.

I currently do not have a great filing capability and I must have a good filing cabinet in my new office. I want at least two drawers with the ability to utilize my manila folders and A to Z system.

I do not implement the Tickler File so no need for the 43 folders!

I have a laser printer that I do use quite a lot when I need to print anything out. It is only a small footprint but I still need some cabinet to keep it in, ideally out of view.

I am also really fancying a scanner to go totally paperless. I currently have a HP OfficeJet All In One but this has a large footprint and takes an absolute age to scan from.

I therefore will purchase a Fujitsu ScanSnap. The models I am looking at are the S300M or the S510M. These are not cheap scanners but the ability to duplex scan as well as use the ability to load the document tray with up to 20 sheets makes these a very attractive proposition.

I love Evernote and the ability to scan from the ScanSnap scanners straight to Evernote looks amazing, and one of my main drivers for trying a totally paperless office.

If I implement a paperless office I am going to need a good shredder. I currently have a bin shredder but it is quite lightweight so I may look at the cost of updating to something more heavy duty as I plan to shred everything I can.

I will take photos and keep you all updated of my new workspace.

Also, the photo at the top of this post is NOT my current home office 🙂

I would love to hear any recommendations anybody has about building the ideal home office or the choice of equipment to place in the office to make it as productive as possible.

10 thoughts on “Creating a Productive Home Office

  1. eurig harries

    I have recently bought a Fujitsu scansnap S300 to go with evernote and it has revolutionised my office. The ability to instantly store a document in a computer folder rather than having to try and find space in my filing cabinet, and the ability to access that document from any computer has been fantastic. I am now getting rid of the boxes full of “not sure where to put this” documents.
    I bought the S300 as though it won’t scan as many sheets at once it allows me to scan at home, work and when I’m on call.

  2. Andrew Mason Post author

    @eurig harries:

    Great to hear you are liking the ScanSnap. I do like the portability of the 300 but the 510 looks better for my home office right now. Still undecided though.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. DannyT

    This might add undesired footprint but if I were to do this I would aim to have another computer/laptop available in the office purely for email, social networking, twitter and anything non-core-work related.

    Having it physically distant from your main computer (e.g. opposite side of the room, or at the end of the desk) so you have to do more than a few degrees of swivel to access it, will allow for a form of ‘caves and commons’ type setup. When you’re at your main computer you’re solely focused on the task in hand, when your mind starts to wander move to the other computer to have a much more distinct separation. This way you will not be blurring the lines between distraction and work and will hopefully appreciate the downtime more whilst away from your work unit yet also not feel like you’re sort-of working when you’re really not.

    This is all of course just based on my own dreamt up theory but sounds good in my head!

  4. Tony Garland

    You don’t mention about how to get power to your techie gadgets! This is critical for a good layout as cables all over place really detracts from effective working.

    I upgraded my home office last year, the key element being a corner Gallant desk from IKEA. I found a block of sockets designed for installing in a computer rack. I installed 1 on each wall with a 3″ slotted cable duct beneath to carry the cables around the desk. One has 12 sockets and the other 16. I was told I was mad for having so many but they are already around two thirds full with plugs.

    I still have cables on the desk but the floor is clear and there are far less cables hanging about and getting in the way.

    Only problem is that the sockets are too close together for some of the larger power transformers, so some end up being unusable.

  5. Andrew Mason Post author


    Thanks for the comment Danny.

    I agree that social networking such as Facebook and Twitter can be counter productive and it does take great self control to ensure these do not interfere with your productivity.

    Luckily, I think I have this in hand although I do normally have two laptops on my desk. My main MacBook Pro with my 30″ TFT and also my MacBook Air. I normally use Spaces and set up my second screen with all my social networking and I do limit how much time I spend on it although I do get a lot of great work related content from my social networks.

  6. Andrew Mason Post author

    @Tony Garland:

    Sounds like we are both going to have the same desk!

    I agree with power and the problem with leads. I currently hide these under my desk. With a quick count up I need 9 plugs in my office, with a couple spare for when I plug chargers in etc. So this means I need 11 sockets!

    Would love to know more details about the cable management you have and where you bought it all from. I know the Galant desk range does have a cable management tray you can attach to it and I have been looking at getting a 16 strip power bar similar to what are used in racks.

    The APC Power Bar’s looks awesome, although expensive. These have a web interface so I can remotely power devices on and off. Handy for turning on my NAS so I can access it from anywhere in the world through my VPN or MobileMe!

    Thanks for the great comment!

  7. Tony Garland

    The power bars are from Taiwan (bought in Hong Kong, where I live). I suggest that a better one would have the sockets a little further spaced. The cable management is just pvc trunking 65 x 65 mm with slots on the side walls to allow cables to enter and leave at any point. I have it about 4″ above the desk top and the power bar above that and then use flexible conduit to route cables to equipment. You can pick up the trunking from an electrical contractor who makes control panels as it is standard kit for that – cheap as chips! If you want a photo of my set up let me have an e-mail address.

  8. Pingback: Business Development | Social Media Literacy |…words » Productivity Links- Thursday, June 18th/09

  9. Sven Fechner

    Great read. I will be moving houses in September and for the first time will have a huge space for my home office. So far it has always been in the corner of some other room. I certainly consider a bit more filing space and cupboards for books than yourself. But I certainly agree on nice, large table for very few equipment – just like the Galant ones from IKEA you have mentioned. But I am always a bit concerned about cable clutter which is difficult to avoid with regular or free standing desks. There is usually a lot of cables around: USB hub, printer, external hard drive, iPhone dock, digital camera usb cable, … so hence I am looking into a setup where I’ll have a little shade in front of my desk which will be facing the room.

  10. Pingback: Creating a Productive Home Office – Update 1 - DIGTD - Making You More Productive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *