As a freelancer, you are probably no stranger to working from home. For years, this circumstance was just fine and dandy. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many companies and schools were forced to send their employees and students home in the name of social distancing and public health. Now, freelance writers with roommates and families are likely sharing a space, and making it work requires serious adjustments. If you live in a small house or apartment, the issue becomes even more complicated. [Read more…]
With coworking and freelancing being the trend today, it’s no surprise that more and more people start paying attention to their workspace organization. And if it used to be enough to provide workers with tables, chairs, and computers, today everyone treats a comfortable and well-organized workplace as a high priority.
The reason is simple:
A place and surroundings where people work enhance productivity and increase their peace of mind. Hence, one should care about the place of work and setting up a virtual office if they want to stay inspired, motivated, and productive specialists with better results at work. [Read more…]
Everyone knows that those who have chosen blogging careers working at home is the ideal setup. You get to work whenever you want, wherever you want. You have all the freedom in the world, and you don’t have to shower and dress up first thing in the morning.
Whether you’re rather new to working at home or you’ve been doing it for a while, you know that while there is some truth to those ideas, working at home isn’t all sugar and spice.
There is always the temptation to procrastinate, which is not made easier by the plethora of distractions present at home as opposed to a real office.
One piece of advice that every work at home person receives is to create a space dedicated to work. This we all know to be true.
But how do you do that?
It’s easy enough to say, but in reality, some of us may not have the luxury of a study, like the ones we see on TV or in the movies. Fortunately, we can make a working space out of what we have – whether it’s a corner in the living room or the guest bedroom.
If you need a little inspiration on how to create your home office when you don’t have a lot of space, take a look at this infographic. It gives you ideas on how to transform different places in your home to a working space. More than picking the space, it also gives you tips on tools and equipment to ensure maximum productivity.
How to Create Your Home Office
What’s your working space like? How did you create it? If you want, share photos with us!
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Editor’s Note: This post was written by Brie Weiler Reynolds, the Director of Online Content at FlexJobs and a contributing writer for 1 Million for Work Flexibility. FlexJobs is the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible jobs, listing thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs. Brie provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog. Learn more at www.FlexJobs.com.
The profession of freelance writing has changed tremendously over the last few decades. Though it’s easier than ever before to find writing gigs and actually create pieces, there are an overwhelming number of tools for freelance writers to consider. These seven tools are ones that my team and I can’t live without, and most are free or very reasonably priced.
Here are seven must-have home office tools for freelance writers.
Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
If you’re going to be typing all day, every day, it makes sense to invest in a keyboard that you find comfortable, but one that’s also portable. Wireless keyboards allow you to to type in comfort wherever you might be, and today’s options are sleek, lightweight, and portable. A wireless mouse makes working from the coffee shop or even a park bench feel more like working from your office. My laptop never goes anywhere without my trusty wireless mouse.
Bullet Journal To-Do List
If you’re a fan of making paper to-do lists, the Bullet Journal method takes them to a new level. The video on its site walks you through the simple changes that will make your to-do list a tool for hyper-productivity. You’ll never look at to-do lists the same way.
Reliable Internet Access and Alternatives
Being able to access the Internet is an obvious tool for freelance writers, but how reliable is your service? And if it goes out, do you have multiple backup options? Take a couple minutes now to research and make a list of places with excellent Internet service. Then, go a step further and see if your smartphone offers a mobile hotspot option, which allows you to turn your phone into a personal wifi hotspot wherever you are, as long as you’re connected to your phone provider’s network.
Automatic Online File Backup
If you’re one of the unlucky many, you don’t realize how important this is until your computer crashes. Try to be one of the lucky few who reads this tip and takes action. Online file backup systems like Carbonite are easy to use and run constantly in the background, so even your most recent work is saved.
E-sign Software Program
Signing contracts the old-fashioned way through snail mail or by printing and scanning documents can be incredibly time-consuming. Stop taking time away from writing to do these tedious tasks, and use an e-sign program to make gathering electronic signatures a breeze. Echosign and Docusign are two popular options.
Speech Recognition Software
Talk about multitasking! Speech recognition software has advanced tremendously over the last few years and makes it possible to “write” on the go. Whether you’re stuck in traffic, walking the dog, or making dinner, if you can speak, you can write with these handy programs. You might invest a little money in Dragon speech software, but smartphones make it possible to dictate documents for free using voice-to-text with pretty accurate results. If you have the Google Drive app, you can speak into a Google Document, which will then be saved and easily accessible the next time you open up your laptop. Which brings us to…
Google Drive App
My team of freelance writers all use Google Drive to create and maintain documents. The Google Drive app makes it possible to access those documents on smartphones and tablets. Collaboration, sharing, and document creation are all much simpler when you can access your files regardless of your location.
Depending on the type of writing you do, these seven home office tools can help you be more productive, land more clients, stay better organized, and be more comfortable while you’re working. And since most of them are free, these tools are easy on the thrifty freelance writer’s budget.
Bring up the topic of green living and people think recycling and light bulbs. These are, of course, important parts of caring for the environment, but they are not the only things each of us can do to save, reduce and reuse resources.
The office presents several opportunities to lessen our personal impact on the world around us.
- Cut back on paper use. Writer’s use a lot of paper, including to hand -edit pieces. That’s why it’s important to keep a bin next to the printer to deposit used paper. The paper is can be reused for back-side printing, notes, lists and coloring for the kids.
- Invest in recycled paper. Prices are now more reasonable than ever. Keep an eye out for sales at your favorite office supply store and stock up when possible.
- Digitize bills, bank statements, invoices, etc. Much of our waste and clutter problems stem from incoming mail that can easily switch to electronic files. Often companies will give consumers a discount for the switch from paper to electronic billing.
- Ban pesky receipts. There are several programs that allow you to digitize your receipts – my fave is Shoeboxed.com – eliminating the need to keep bunches of paper. Make sure any app or service you choose uses IRS approved methods.
Put your money in green – products and services. There is a huge variety of recycled goods on the market for offices including file folders, organizers, calendars, etc. A little bit of research will go a long way to find products that fit in tight budgets.
Product control also means controlling the amount of energy electronic products consume. A quick way to keep energy usage low – plug all of your electronic devices into a power strip. At night, hit the switch and cut phantom energy use!
- Reuse ink cartridges. Instead of tossing a spent cartridge have it refilled. When a cartridge can no longer be refilled, dispose of it properly. Use local cartridge recycling centers and many ‘big box’ stores provide the service, free of charge.
- Donate old goods and electronics. Much of the waste in our landfills is electronic waste and things that could be recycled. Both office furniture and electronic goods can be passed onto shelters and thrift stores. Electronics not in good condition can be dropped off at any electronic recycling operation. These centers repair, repurpose and properly dispose of the hazardous parts of our gadgets.
- Cut the flushes. If you work from home this item is easier to implement. Save water and resources by following the old adage “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” It’ll also save loads on your water bill!
It doesn’t take a lot of effort or money to change your office into a green one. It’s almost as easy as putting on a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” pin.
What tips do you have for greening up an office?
There are two sides to the writer debate – those who require certain comforts and those who can write in the middle of a toxic dump. I’d argue both types are just as likely to have hazardous work environments. Your office could be making you sick, or at the very least, decreasing your productivity. The good news is there simple way to creating a safe and healthy work environment.
1. Trouble in the Air
The information is scary: according to the August 2000 EPA Indoor Environments Division, Indoor Air Quality and Student Performance report, “Indoor air quality can reduce a person’s ability to perform specific mental tasks requiring concentration, calculation, or memory.” While this specific report discusses students in school, the same can be said for those who require mental acrobatics to earn a paycheck. The solution? [Read more…]
What does your home office look like? Share the details with WorkingNaked.net and you can win a bunch of great prizes, including:
- Fellowes PS-79Ci Cross-Cut 100% Jam Proof Shredder
- Epson WorkForce 610
- Elfa products from The Container Store ($250 value)
- Library edition binders from Russell + Hazel
- Home Office Solutions: Creating a Space that Works for You book by Lisa Kanarek
- One-year subscription to Flexjobs
- “I’m working naked…are you?” t-shirt
I must admit, it’s the T-shirt that caught my interest. I had a good chuckle thinking about the kinds of comments that someone would get if they wore it out in public.
The contest starts on March 15, 2010 and runs until April 15. The winner will be announced April 30. You can get the details here. Please note that the site owner wants to see photos of an office, not people – whether they are working fully clothed or they have created a clothing-optional workspace for themselves. I’m all for whatever will help you to be happy and productive, BTW.