Generating Effective Work Flow from Your Space


By Chris Gilmer

Working from home is great. Lots of time to sit, contemplate, hash out ideas, take a break, wake up whenever you want, work whenever you want, play some video games, make a cup of tea… and the list could go on. However, the key is you are in control of what you do, and how you do it throughout the day in the privacy of your home office. A special non corporate place that serves as your money making machine. It is up to you to be productive in order to make cash, and to do this, your space has to be effective.

Organization is key. The more organized you are, not only are things easier to find, but your head will be free of clutter, allowing you to think cleaner, and maybe have a few extra minutes at the café down the street. Baskets, drawers, and filing cabinets are your friends in this area. Just ensure to use them effectively so as to not leave mass amounts of paper work on your desk, if you can help it. Clean and uncluttered go a long way in producing great results.

Soothing Nature. Ensure that your space is filled with natural light, and maybe add a few plants and try and keep them alive for as long as you can. Nature can have a great effect on people. Not only can sunlight help keep spirits high and good moods up, but sunlight produces vitamins your body needs in order to stay healthy. Plants produce oxygen to help you feel alive, awake and ready to roll.

Dividing the work space. Nothing beats working from home, but sometimes we have to disjoin ourselves from work, in order to actually have a life. If your office is in the middle of the family room, not only could you be tempted to sit down and sift through emails, when you really should be taking some time off to relax with the family. Kids and loved ones could be interfering during your business times if you are out in the open, as it looks like you are right there and available for their ever needs. Try to create a barricade if another separate room isn’t available. Push your work materials into the corner, and get a stand alone screen or curtain to section the room off a little. This little piece can help a lot to divide your home life, with your working home life.

Working tools. It’s highly beneficial to the web worker to have the proper tools to get the job done. Including tools for the workspace like office chair, desk, and lighting. The chair is a biggie. If you aren’t sitting pretty, your work might be suffering, and so could your body. A chair is a big investment; try them out at your local office supply, or furniture store. Make sure they are functional, and not only stylish. Aside from having some natural lighting in your work environment, a desk lamp would be a good investment. Proper lighting alleviates unnecessary eye stress and strain, which again risks your workflow.

The home work space is a special spot for web workers. It’s a sacred ground that should be held high with proudness, and raised atop a pedestal… because… HORRAY! This is my un-corporate environment, where I do what I want!

Feel free to submit any other tips you have that can help out to generate better workflow from your work space!


Craig Cameron

What I found the key to being sucessful at work was for me (someone who can be easily distracted) to remove all the things in my workspace and beyond to remove all the distractions. So in order to do that eventually I worked between the midnight and 8AM when distractions were at a minimum




In my books it’s as important to keep your computers desktop well organised. Get the biggest and best quality monitor you can afford, clear out unused desktop icons and make use of tabbed web browsers to reduce the number of open windows.

Add your favourite programs to the quick launch bar and keep your web favourites organised (preferably using a social bookmarking tool like, for easy access and better sharing).

At CIX we encourage our users to store all their data online so that they can get at it from anywhere. Some people see this as a risky proposition, but we think it’s the future.


i think your point about natural light is very important. It is getting darker in the evenings here in the UK and this means that when I finish it is already dark. So I have moved into a lighter part of the house and try to go out into the sun at lunch just to show my body that it is actually day!


Andrew M

good points all!

– a separate computer is very helpful, I’m on the computer all day and night, desktop for home office, and laptop for the couch.

– a lunch time routine, luckily I live downtown near a pleothora of great inexpensive restaurants, its great to get out and walk around, get some fresh air, eat, even if you drag the smartphone along for the trip…

– for extra supplies, a bunch of pen’s and legal pads, pages get filled daily and I can quickly flip back through them to reference an Idea or contact a few days previously.

Andrew Terry

Great article, Chris. Having a well ordered and comfortable workspace is key to maintaining good productivity when away from a more formal office space; but the non-corporate surroundings you refer to are equally important – I often find that stopping to, say, load the dishwasher or vacuum a room seems to “unblock” my thought processes, and that doesn’t happen as often in an office setting (I wonder if that’s because of the open-plan-ness…?)

@Sal – yes, completely agree. (Except for the bit about Ikea. I like their products; but I loathe their shops and the Ikea shopping experience.)


I’m trying to work from home after work hours and find it challenging. My biggest walk away from your article Chris is focus – and dividing my work space. When I get homet he first thing I do is get comfy in my joggers (maybe I shouldn’t), and try to work. Ineffective thing – it’s in the dining room next to the family room. Good points from Cal (the other comment – walk away is STAY MOTIVATED) I also suggest the following:

– Stick to your schedule
– There’s nothing wrong with insomnia if you have it.. rest when you’re tired
– When you’re working alone, know what you need to stay up.. coffee and music
– A calendar – with a TASK LIST (like you metioned Chris, you are accountable)
– A big desk
– Ensure you have a constant supply of office supplies by you. Including: file folders, highlighters, printers, accessible cartridges for any refills, at least one extra pack of paper, stapler, binder clips, etc etc.
– lighting is crucial
– dedicated phone line.. with caller id.. don’t want to pick up when the utility company is calling

Dean Johnson

Something that saves space and reduces clutter, buy a small toolbox and stock it with all the different office supplies and infrequently used office tools (ie. calculator, etc). Things like envelopes, stamps, erasers, pencil leads, paper clips, and bulldog clips. Get different sizes of stuff to insure that you have the right size for the job. Nice and neat in the little toolbox, you can set it on the floor next to your desk, rather than on the desk.

Another useful tip is to have little magnetic kitchen timers in all your work areas. They are not just for the tasks at hand, but also can be reminders of concurrent tasks, such as when the clothes washer is done while you are working on something else.

Sal Cangeloso

I have been working from home for about 2 years now and it took me a long time to realize just how important all these things were. But, I can say that putting some thought into your tools and working environment can make a huge difference to areas were stay-at-home workers tend to suffer, such as productivity and motivation.

Some actions I took:
– a dedicated computer just for work
– a great task chair (Knoll Life chair)
– a 24″ LCD monitor
– better lighting (LED desk lamp and daylight light bulbs)
– a big desk (i love Ikea)

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