We’ve all seen the pictures – business owners sitting on the beach with their computers and a large wide brimmed hat, entrepreneurs in pajamas and bear slippers in their home office, or casually dressed at a small round table at a coffee house surrounded by lots of distractions. The people in those pictures were smiling and happy but for me, I was frustrated just seeing the photos. Perhaps those situations worked for those successful business owner but below I am listing my top three workspace environment must-haves to minimize my frustrations.

Peaceful and Private. There is no way to effectively work on a beach in my opinion. The sand alone will drive you crazy, people walking by, birds flying around for bread crumbs, and the waves are distracting. And it is the beach so how can anyone focus on anything but frolicking in the ocean? So our workspace has to be a place where things are quiet enough for us to think and complete tasks without distraction. If you are renting an office you should have minimal distractions and can easily close your door to quiet things down. If you’re working from home, it becomes even more important to find a room that offers privacy whether you’re working at home alone or not. That way when you have to handle any business when the family is present, you have a private place to go to where your office equipment is already set up and files, even pen and paper, are easy to access.

From the desk to the equipment you use, take time to ensure it will meet your needs. The desk should offer plenty of working space and you should be able to access most of what you’ll need within arm’s reach. Make sure you also have plenty of leg room to stretch out. In the past, I had a desk with a small shelf right at the stretch point and hitting my leg against that shelf enough times and that desk and I had to part ways. Invest in a chair that offers great back support for those long work days spent tapping away at your computer. Choose a good, reliable printer based on your business. For example, a realtor may need a multi-function printer because they fax, scan, print contracts, etc. frequently but a blogger that rarely prints anything might be just fine with a simple laser jet black and white printer for business.

Anyplace But the Bedroom. The fastest way to blur the lines between business and home is start working in your bedroom. The television is there that you turn on but don’t intend to look at and so are very comfortable pillows and your favorite blanket. You may start out working, but when you wake up strangely surprised you were asleep, and with the television still on, you’ll find you have completely slept away the time you had allotted for business. So bedrooms cannot and should not be used for business purposes where possible. Your master suite should be the place where you retreat after work and family responsibilities each day – not used as multi-function room where you begin and end your work day, likely in pajamas. If you have no choice but to use the bedroom, please try to figure a way to place a divider in the room, so it’s separate from the living area.

When growing a business, your work environment can make all the difference.  Where possible, a dedicated environment is the best choice for your business but if not accessible, creating a way to separate the shared workspace from living areas may work well for you.  However you choose to set up your workspace, taking the time to create a professional feeling work area, will ensure you approach your business each day with less frustration and a more positive spirit that inspires you to accomplish your business goals.

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