Working from home has many advantages, one of which is designing your ideal workspace and having fewer interruptions. But throw in a few kids and pets and suddenly your office turns from being a calm productive work zone into a stomach clenching distraction. In order to make your space safe, you have to think about bundling, enclosing and relocating your papers, books, and supplies.
Cord management is your first step toward a stress-free office. Pets chew through wires and kids love to pull on them; they also like sticking things in the outlets. Here is what you should do:
Step1: Label your cords so if something comes loose, you’ll know what it belongs to.
Step 2: Cover all exposed outlets with covers making sure to put ones on the power strips as well. Although they make boxes to cover your power strips, I caution you from getting them because they often can’t accommodate the larger plugs and bricks.
Step 3: Bundle loose cords together and run them either along the top, back section of your desk or even underneath. There are a lot of great ideas on cord management on the web. I followed someone’s suggestion to screw pipe clamps into the underside of my desk to run cords through that worked really well.
If you can close the door or block the entrance to your office area with a child gate, then all you need to child/pet proof the home office is to have a no kids/pets allowed rule. Another option is putting in a play yard inside your office (that is if you have enough space) to pen the kids or pet in. However, if you are like me where I don’t have a traditional home office space and putting up a child gate is not an option, then you need to make a few adjustments to disipate the kid/pet distraction factor.
Step 1: Put the office supplies in containers and relocate them to higher ground (or locking drawers).
Kids and pets alike are attracted to small shiny office supplies like paper clips and push pins as well as rubber bands,sticky notes, and permanent markers. So unless you like going to the office supply store, you will need to store these items high up and in containers. I recommend using clear containers and clearly marking what is in them. If you label your containers, you’ll find your stuff quicker and you’ll be less likely to throw in other random stuff. If you can’t move your office supplies to higher ground, put them in locking containers. Clear stacking drawers on your desk or on a nearby shelf are also an option so that your pens and scissors can stay accessible.
Step 2: Move your books and papers to high shelves and leave kid friendly books/toys on the bottom.
Better yet, go through your bookshelf to see if you really need all those items; donate what is no longer relevant or meaningful and try to put other less used books into temporary storage.
If you follow the steps above to bundle, enclose, and relocate your office supplies, cords, and other non-kid/pet friendly items, you will be able to work in your home office with a better peace of mind.