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Working from home and unsure if you should set up a separate work space? Here are four ways to figure out if you actually need a home office.

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I have been working from home for about six years now and my boyfriend has been working from home even longer than me. Two summers ago I was pregnant and the room which I was using as my office had to become baby’s room so we slowly started transitioning it over. I said good bye to my desk, most of my shelving units, and the idea of having my own office. The filing cabinet is still in there for lack of having anywhere else to put it – although it is decorated to fit into the room now.

Maybe some of you are taking the opportunity to telecommute from work, or are starting up your own at home business, and are wondering if you should find somewhere in your home to carve out an office. Here are a few things to consider:

1. How much stuff do you need to work with?

My current ‘workspace’ is basically me on the couch with my laptop. I’m mainly a writer however so the only other things I require are a notepad and pen. I do most of my work while baby is napping and after she goes to bed so if she gets up I simply shut off my computer and put it aside.

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If you have a lot of paperwork, books, and other supplies you need to work with you may want to find a specific space to designate for work so you don’t have to pack everything up, or leave it scattered around.

2. Do you enjoy your work?

This is an important question to ask yourself. If you don’t enjoy your work will you always want reminders of it hanging around your home? I doubt you really want to be reminded of a job you loathe every time you walk by your kitchen table and see your paperwork sitting there.

It is always important to keep your work and home life separated, but even more so if your job doesn’t make you happy. In this case having an office type setting in your home allows you leave your work behind a door, temporarily forgotten.

3. Can you shut off?

Your work day is done and you’re spending quality time with loved ones in your family room – but wait, your laptop is sitting on the table beside you and you feel the need to check for that one last email. Or you keep your work cell on the kitchen counter where you can hear it ping – and run to check it.

Even if you love your job you need to set limits. If you find it hard to shut off after work having a space away from the rest of your household duties helps you to take your much needed time off.

4. Do you get distracted?

If you work from a laptop on your kitchen table this gives you the opportunity to look around and realize you didn’t do your breakfast dishes or you need to mop the floor – just to procrastinate doing your work. Or even worse you see all those wonderful snacks – and make several trips to the refrigerator.

A separate area teaches your brain that this is the area to work in so you get more done. Family will learn to respect if you are in that area and not interrupt you.

What works for you?

It’s working fine for myself and my boyfriend to not have an office, but most people will likely find they need one. So what to do if you feel you need an office but don’t have an extra room? Don’t worry, I’ll cover your options in another post soon!

Do you feel like you need a separate work space at home? Do you have any unique work space ideas? Let us know in the comments.

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Erika Palmer

Erika Palmer is a Mom and freelance writer located in Beautiful British Columbia. She is currently working hard to create a home for her new family and is stumbling hilariously down the road to becoming a domestic goddess. In addition to her love of family, and reading and writing, she enjoys exploring new interests with friends, shopping for just about anything, and cuddling up with a great cup of tea and some sort of chocolate treat.