What does a productive work-from-home setup for moms look like?
Well, it depends greatly on your type of work or business, your home, and the age of your children. But this post will have tips on areas you need to focus on to create a productive home office setup. I have been working from home for years and now as a mom, I know some things that work and things that don’t and what can help you succeed.
Here are tips and areas to focus on for your home office as a work-from-home mom…
Flexible Furniture and Layout
As children grow our work-from-home lives can change too. Something that I have found helpful to my work productivity is the ability to rearrange my office as needed. Having some flexibility with your layout and furniture can help you refresh your office and also change things when the layout is just not working.
Some things that can create a more flexible office are:
Having your printer and other office supplies on rolling carts makes it super easy to move them around as needed. Rolling carts are also great if you are working in a shared space or don’t have a dedicated office and are using another room in the office. You can pull them out as needed and then store them somewhere out of the way. As a busy work from home mom you may need to take conference calls from the kitchen table or work from the living room couch at times. Remote work gives you that flexibility in your work day. A rolling cart can go with you wherever you are in the house.
An Adjustable desk that adjusts for sitting and standing at the touch of a button can be great to give you working flexibility. An alternative could also be having your monitor on a stand to make it higher when you want to stand or having it on a monitor mount that can move up and down.
Think about all the things you need on your desk and get a desk sized accordingly. Don’t forget about white space too and room for a hot beverage. You don’t want to feel cramped.
An L-shaped desk.
Instead of a sit-stand desk, I have an L-shaped wood desk but I like it because I can turn it in different ways and I can work on the computer on one side and have clear space to write and brainstorm away from the computer on the other side. It does take up more room but it also creates a barrier I appreciate that makes me feel cozy and like getting down to business. A good desk makes the room. Mine puts me in work mode.
When you are sitting for long hours you want a chair that allows you to comfortably rest your elbows on the desk and be at the right height for your computer. Rolling chairs make it easy to move from one side of your desk to work to the other. If your chair or desk is too high you can get a footrest.
With your desk placement, you will also want to consider where all your cords will go. You don’t want cables to be out in the way and accessible, especially with young children around.
Lightening Natural and Artificial
Working in a dark office can feel depressing and hard on the eyes. When it comes to your setup you need to consider a few things around lighting the space. Natural light from windows is great but it can also create a glare on your computer screen and you also don’t want the sun shining directly in your eyes while you work. This means windows, while fantastic, can be a problem from the front and behind.
You may need to move your desk and computer setup around a bit to find the perfect light for working. Overhead lights can feel harsh while working as well but you can often find a simple solution by just swapping out the light bulbs for ones that are more suitable for you. I prefer warmer light.
I don’t work later in the office very often but I have a ring light with orange covers that give warm light and I prefer that to lamps when I do need some artificial light added. I turn it out, not directly at me, and it creates a nice ambiance.
If you are filming videos in your home office you will want to look for ways to balance the light for that as well. You could utilize a window on one side of your filming space for instance and supplement the other side with a ring light to even things out. Adequate lighting can save your eyes from strain.
Which brings us to having the supplies you need.
The Supplies For Your Business
Having the supplies you need is important for any home office but I think this is particularly crucial for busy moms. When we get time to work we need to have what we need to work efficiently and quickly. Going to print something important only to realize you are out of paper is not fun or efficient.
The supplies you need will vary by the type of work you do. I just watched a video where the business owner was a photographer but she ships packages to her clients often. She found it helpful then to be able to weigh those packages and print shipping labels from home.
I work with digital products and live abroad so I never ship anything so I can skip the label paper and shipping scale. But I do need a decent printer to test my printables to make sure everything will look great for buyers.
Whatever supplies you need make sure they are in good working order, protected, and stocked. If you have a lot of supplies that you use up often it is a good idea to create an inventory and check off the supplies you need to restock so you are not wasting time on trips to the store. Keep check on your home office needs as they can change over time.
Organization And Storage
Having an organized space is one of the things that can increase your productivity tremendously. Having a particular place for each of your supplies means that you can retrieve what you need quickly and also keep up with inventory.
Drawers, rolling carts, bins, bookshelves, envelopes, and even gift boxes can help you wrangle all your office items. Find storage solutions that work for you with whatever space you have.
Again what you need will depend on your type of work. You may need a filing cabinet if you have a lot of paperwork. You may need photo boxes if you are a photographer and labels.
Built-ins behind a desk always look nice and provide a lot of storage. You can fake built-ins by putting some bookcases together. Just be sure that if you have little ones that are going to be in the space the cabinets are locked as needed. Also, make sure bookshelves are secured where they can not fall over if littles try to climb them.
If you deal with a lot of mail or day-to-day paper clutter you may want a desktop paper organizer to make temporary filing easy. This is something to think about as you work in a space for a while. How can you make things better and more organized to work more efficiently? So often we continue to work around frustrations with simple solutions because we don’t take the time to think about easy fixes.
If you are in a shared space you may want to consider a screen or divider so you can block off areas that you don’t want to look at while you work.
An organized space is the base for a healthy space but also think about how you can support your physical and mental health in your office.
Here are some ideas:
- Large water bottles filled and ready to keep you hydrated.
- A therapy light to turn on in the early morning working hours to make you feel alert.
- A smartwatch that will remind you to get up and move ever so often.
- Blue-blocking glasses to protect your eyes.
- A Pomodoro timer to remind you to take breaks.
- An ergonomic chair for proper sitting.
- Exercise equipment like an exercise ball, resistance bands, or a rebounder.
- Place a humidifier on your desk to keep the air moist.
- Keep a blanket on your chair to knock off the chill in cooler months.
My mom gifted me a rebounder that I keep in the home office. It’s great because I can get up and bounce to feel reenergized during breaks and keep myself alert.
Use your office space to help support your wellness goals not drain you.
Also, make sure your home office is getting cleaned and dusted regularly, and open windows to air it out from time to time if you can.
A Place For Littles
If you are a mom to littles working from home then it is a good idea to create a safe area for your children in the home office if you can. I work while our daughter is napping as much as I can but her play area is in an enclave from the home office where I can watch her while I work when needed.
It is closed with a play corral so she can go in there and have her own space while still next to me.
Here are some tips to include your littles in your office space:
- Make sure furniture is secured and the environment is safe.
- Have a barrier for areas you don’t want them to have access to.
- Have a bin of toys that they only get to play with when with you in the office.
- Look for open-ended toys like story sticker books, blocks, and imaginative play items.
- Practice having your littles do independent play at other times so they are used to it.
- Explain clearly that you need to work now and what you are expecting them to do.
- Give very focused attention before work time so they will feel full and ready to play independently.
If you have the option and space creating a little reading nook with a comfy chair is great for taking breaks and fitting in some reading time with your little ones. This will make them feel more calm and cozy in the room. If you allow screen time, save it for the times when you are desperate to get something done and keep it as limited as you can. As a working parent, we have to do the best we can to balance all the things.
For more see: Working From Home With A Toddler
Why Pay Attention To Your Office Space
The impact our environment has on our focus and productivity is huge. Having a clean, organized space will help you make the most of the time you have as a busy mom to get work done. It will also impact the way you feel. Make your home office a place where you can step into the CEO Mom role and feel empowered to help support your family financially while you also support your family in all the other ways you do. Work-at-home moms have a lot to get done. By creating blocks of time for different areas of your life you can manage your family, work, and household chores. If you work full time this is more challenging and you may need help.
Be diligent about your work hours and have a set schedule even if your work is flexible. You need boundaries so you still have quality time to spend with your family.
Remember we are always being an example to our children. How we keep ourselves and our environment speaks volumes to them. Having a pretty space is great. But you don’t have to spend a bunch of money or have fancy things to create an effective home office that works. Having a dedicated workspace helps so much even if there is room just for a little desk and chair.
Even a small space is better than working all over the house because when you go to your space your work brain will turn on and know it’s time to get to work. Have time for specific tasks, use lunch time for a break, create your to-do list the evening before and keep yourself on track. A problem with working from home is letting your work life spill over into family time. Don’t let that happen. Our personal lives are too important.
With some productive routines, effective systems, and an organized environment we can get more done in less time and be more effective for our families. This frees us mentally and physically.
You can also check out our sister site Immensely Social for tips on home office style with videos.
I hope you found these practical tips helpful and will create a dedicated work space for yourself if you don’t already have one. Find the best option for you even if it is a closet or space under the stairs.
I want to know, do you have your own office space? Will you create one?
Visiting a local coffee shop to work is great sometimes but nothing can really beat your own well-supplied space that young kids know is the place mommy gets down to business.
Bonus Tip: Make use of online and digital resources to stay organized like Google Calendar, ClickUp. 17 Hats, etc. We can use our electronic devices to support our work rather than distract us. If you would like a separate blog post about that let me know in the comments and I’ll give you my best advice.