By April 25, 2013 Read More →

Creating a home office

Greg Dillon describes how he set up and uses his home office

Work from Home Wisdom - creating a home office, Greg Dillon, Strat-TalkingGreg is a freelance brand strategist and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world.

He describes how he transformed what had become a junk room into an inspiring home office.

You can see the before and after pictures at the bottom of the Spare room home offices gallery:

How did it feel to set up your home office in the space your father had previously used?
It felt right. In an odd way I had wanted to get it in ship shape for so long – in the 9 years since he passed away the space had been filled with anything we did not want or need in the house.
It had turned into a dumping ground so I had to restore and redesign it to be a fully functioning home office complete with client chairs, treadmill for de-stressing, magnetic glass board for ideating and keeping track of live projects / clients, and a Nespresso machine to keep me awake during the long days!
It was made all the sweeter as it was my fiancé and I that did all the decorating and furniture buying so it was fun as well as being for work!

What’s your favourite piece of furniture or equipment in your home office, and why?
That is a tough one! Probably my dad’s old desk. It needs a bit of a polish and restoration still but it reminds me that some great business decisions have been made in this room (he owned his own business and became very successful and respected because of it).
It also gives me a family link and reminds me of the motivation behind everything I do. Plus it has more drawers than I can work out how to fill – one purely holds craft beer from various breweries I visit for work or on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

What’s your best bit of advice for someone setting up a home office?
Really think about the design and what you are going to use your home office for. I did not approach it lightly. I used an app on my iPad called Penultimate to design a floor plan and what would be on each wall  / in each part of the room so that I was focussed when we began decorating and I started buying bits for it.
I knew early on that I wanted it to have creative elements, being that I work in the creative services industry. I wanted space to pace around when thinking and writing on the board, as well as needing a Chesterfield sofa to relax on with a suitably design-led lamp to light the area, so they became priority purchases and design elements to the room. 

Do you have a time of day or day of the week that’s most productive?  Why?
Typically 90 minutes before I have to be somewhere else! I have a bad habit of getting into a really rich vein of productivity when I realise I have to go out soon. But aside from that most days end up being productive, I am pretty good at project planning and writing to do lists of client and business tasks so work through them systematically. 

Do you have any little tricks to get yourself into the mood for work when you don’t feel like it?
Probably not a great one but either forcing myself to go for a run on the treadmill, or not allowing myself to have lunch or enjoy an evening beer without having completed part or most of my list.
Sometimes you just have to give in though and write off a day as inefficient – as long as you do not do that every day it can be VERY motivating for the productivity levels the next day as you catch up.

Sometimes the opposite is a problem for home workers, and they have trouble switching off – any tips for that scenario?
If I have a massive project on I struggle to switch off. My fiancé won’t go to a supermarket with me any more, as I spend hours taking photographs of new packaging or new promotional point of sale design work to use in benchmarking presentations or competitor reviews for clients. 
One thing I have learned is to work up until my other half comes home. She is usually home by about 7.30pm and then we spend quality time together for dinner and relaxing in front of the TV or in the garden etc. But if she falls asleep first I end up getting my laptop back out and getting back to it for an hour or few. 

Find out more about Greg and his business on his freelance strategy blog

Posted in: Home offices

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