If you’re working from home, you should have a home office. A dedicated office will give you a professional workspace where you can focus exclusively on your important tasks. It can afford you some degree of privacy, allowing you to shut out potential distractions. And it can even give you a physical partition to help you separate your work life and personal life.
But what if you live in a tiny home? Or what if you live in a small apartment? If you don’t have much space to work with, you may feel like there’s no hope for setting up a home office.
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to create a home office space, even with minimal square footage available.
Pick the Right Room (or Section of a Room)
Your first goal will be choosing the right room for your office. Your office should be in a consistent place, so selecting that place should be high on your list of priorities. If you had a large home with many available rooms, you could easily convert a spare bedroom—but you probably don’t have that luxury.
Start by looking for a space that is currently unused. For example, is there an attic with enough room to move around that’s currently only used for storage? Is there an unfinished basement with space for a desk and chair?
If you don’t have a room or space to dedicate exclusively to your home office, consider making use of a partial space. For example, let’s say you have a bedroom and your bed only takes up half the room; can you take advantage of the remaining space to set up a mini home office? Can you get rid of a couch or rearrange the furniture in another room to make space?
Prioritize Cable Management
If you’re like most professionals, your workspace setup is going to require a lot of cables. You’ll need power cords, ethernet cables, and cords for all your accessories. These can take up a lot of space and make an otherwise clean workspace look cluttered. Accordingly, once you’ve defined a space, you should start thinking about cable management. Look for outlets and ports to take advantage of, and make use of ties and clips to more efficiently manage these bulky items.
Get Privacy and Segmentation However You Can
Your workspace should be physically separated from the rest of your living space. Again, the ideal setup is a traditional door to a traditional room. However, you may need an alternative setup.
If you’re making use of the partial space within a room, you can set up an expanding wall to partition off some space. You could also install a curtain to serve as an obstruction. Whatever you choose, it should afford you some privacy and some clear space.
If you’re working with a small space, you’re going to have limited options in terms of furniture. The furniture you choose will have a major impact on your productivity and morale, so it’s not something you can afford to neglect. Measure your space carefully and look for furniture options that can fit neatly within that space. Even if you’re dealing with a very small area, you can likely make use of a small desk and chair to occupy it.
Invest in Ergonomics
One of your highest priorities when buying furniture should be ergonomics—in other words, the furniture’s ability to support your musculoskeletal health. Having a desk at the proper height and a chair with plenty of back support can instantly make your workspace more comfortable (no matter how small it is). If you’re not sure which options work best for you, invest in items with lots of customizability so you can tinker with them until they fit.
Get Creative With Storage
Small workspaces demand creative storage options. You won’t have much room to place your files, accessories, and other items. Consider investing in drawers, tubs, and other options that can fit under your desk. You may also invest in storage outside your main workspace, so you can have plenty of room to do your primary work.
Talk About Boundaries
If you live with someone else and you don’t have room for a traditional home workspace, take the time to talk about your boundaries. Make it clear when it’s okay and not okay to interrupt your work and set up a system of communication that makes your work time unambiguous.
Your small space may not afford you a luxurious, spacious office—but you can get more value out of it than you suspect. Be prepared to make some sacrifices and get creative. If you can, you may carve out the perfect workspace in your humble abode.