The importance of a good workspace

I had planned a blog post today about packing for a weekend away, but something far more exciting has happened this morning that is way more blog-worthy.

My new desk showed up!

home office
My new desk! Finally, a proper workspace!

Isn’t it fab? I’m still waiting for my new office chair to come but as that’s coming from Norway (it’s a custom job because I have a really bad back and these special chairs take a while to make), I’m not expecting it for another month or so and am using another chair in the interim. We’ve also got a bookcase coming which will go on the opposite side of the doorway to the desk, so when that shows up, expect another post. We’ve got a lot of changes going on in the house, most of them spurred on by my need for an office space, and the house is going to look really different when we’re done.

Why am I blogging about furniture anyway? Well, it’s not so much the fact that it’s furniture as the fact that the arrival of The Desk heralds the start of me being able to have a proper workspace in which to run my business from. Since I decided to start this business back in May, I’ve been working out of my bedroom, the same bedroom I’ve had since I was a teenager. Admittedly yes, I do have a desk in there but it’s more of a dressing table. There’s not enough space to work properly – the space is shared by books that are overflow from my bookcase, my makeup, three pots of pens and assorted miscellaneous crud that every bedroom has. It’s not a dedicated workspace, and it’s made it so hard to focus while being surrounded by crap. Not to mention that my room is usually occupied by a sleeping cat and my family also think they have every right to bounce into my room whenever they please, even if I’ve got my ‘sod off, I’m working’ sign up on the door, so I never have any privacy or peace and quiet to do what I need to.

And having to give my dressing table over to work-related things didn’t thrill me. My laptop had always lived on there even before I started working for myself, but I was only casually gaming and faffing around on social media, so it wasn’t such a big deal. But then I did my fashion course, and books started to appear… and appear… and before I knew it my dressing table was a secondary bookcase. As is half of one of my entertainment centre shelves, which should have my Xbox on it, but has been lost to yet more fashion books. I had to move half of my makeup to my bedside table, which then meant I lost my space for my reading book and my teacup, so everything was shuffled out of place and just very, very wrong. Our house isn’t big, so space is at a premium and the space in my room hasn’t been used properly for ages. The new office will definitely help that – I can have my dressing table back!

The office space is in the living room of the house, so it’s not totally private, but nobody uses that space during the day so I will definitely have more peace and quiet than I have now. Plus I can shut the door and keep the cat out if I want to – he much prefers to stick around upstairs where there’s a big soft bed and some sunny patches for him to sleep in. I will finally be able to concentrate on what I’m doing, and feel like I’m actually running a business properly. And maybe my family might take me seriously now I have a workspace, instead of making me feel like I’m a little girl playing at being an entrepreneur. I’m 36, I shouldn’t be feeling that way, and a decent office environment will definitely go a long way towards helping me feel like a proper business owner.

I read an article recently that said a good workspace is important for anyone who works from home, but especially for the self-employed. The home is our workplace all the time unless we’re out at a client visit, and unlike people who are employed by a company but can work from home, we don’t have the ability to escape off to an office space if we need to and home gets distracting. I had looked into renting an office space in town but the costs were extortionate, and I decided it was better to stick with working on my dressing table than pay all that money for a tiny box of a room that was actually smaller than my bedroom.

One more thing about my new workspace – the lighting. Finally I’m not going to have the glare of a giant window on my screen. My laptop has a very high-resolution screen (it’s not a MacBook but it’s got a screen good enough to rival those Retina displays or whatever they’re called) and it’s got a very glossy, glassy finish. If the sun is in the wrong place (like it is now, actually) I get terrible glare and reflections on my screen. This can make it hard when I’m trying to type or edit an image that’s smack in the middle of the glare spot on the screen. I can angle the screen, obviously, but then it’s in the wrong position and I’m having to move around to see what I want. The lack of a window behind me is going to be such an improvement, and the lighting is excellent in the living room. This really is the start of something great.

It’s funny how I had never really thought about how important a good workspace is before until I started working for myself. I had almost assumed that because I had a desk space of sorts in my room, I would be fine. I would have peace, quiet and privacy, and would be able to work. I hadn’t counted on how much disruption and annoyance working in my bedroom would cause, and I didn’t realise that not having a proper workspace would affect my perception of myself as an entrepreneur.

My new desk means I can take everything seriously. I’m a proper self-employed business owner now. That’s ace. Now all I need is my chair!

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