Small Office Layout Ideas for Productivity Improvement (Home Office, Freelancer)

  • Written By: Michael Haralson
  • Date: January 2, 2022
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Making your small home office layout streamlined and productive is not as easy as it sounds. Many things must work together to get the productivity improvement that is needed for small office layout. If you are a freelancer working in your home office, here are some small office layout ideas that you can implement right away.

So what are the key ideas to create a small office layout for productivity improvement in your home office if you are working as a freelancer? You do this by choosing layouts and arranging your furniture in a way that supports productivity and focus. You use home office tools that enhance your focus and productivity, and you choose known principles of decor such as color and simplicity that will further give your home office a productive environment.

Freelancers need to be productive to progress their projects and build their business. Although a home office is just one of the many places a freelancer can choose to do their work, the majority rely on their home office. The home office is the place where they make the most progress and can depend on this office environment to bring out productivity and results. Let’s take a detailed look at the possible layouts, tools, and decor principles that can give you a productivity edge.

What Is the Best Way to Layout a Small Home Office – Some Small Office Layout Ideas

We’re going to start with the layout of the home office. After you have determined the location in your home or apartment where you want to have your home office setup, then work out the layout. How you arrange the desk and the accompanying furniture will need to not only fit into your environment and surroundings, but as a freelancer, you want to be able to make this layout productive.

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How to arrange your home office depends on where you plan to dedicate space for it and it should integrate into your overall home layout – FreelancingBoss

Types of Office Layouts

There are as many different types of office layouts as there are styles of housing and rooms. To help you with deciding on what small office layout ideas fit best for your home office, here are some of the most common types:

Corner – the corner office layout places all of the desk and office furniture in one corner. It may even integrate the corner, for instance, by having a corner style desk or using the corner space for a cabinet or bookshelves.

Window – a window layout places the desk and accompanying furniture around the window. It uses natural light and also the shape of the window to create the home office space.

Center of the room – a center of the room home office layout will place the desk right in the center of the room and often will have the accompanying furniture like bookshelves off to the side. Although this layout will not work for all home offices (for instance, if your office is in the bedroom), it can create a focused environment for the room.

L-shaped – the shape can incorporate a corner, or it can have the L shape up against the wall. The advantage of this layout is that it will give the appearance of having a larger home office.

Box-Shaped Office Within a Large Room – with the box-shaped office, it will cordon off a specific area within a large room and create a box that has all the office furniture inside this box area. This layout creates the idea that there is a full office with desk, cabinets, and bookshelves all contained within the box.

Spreading Out Along One Wall – having an office spreading out along one wall can be a good option if your home office needs to have other types of furniture in the same room. Your home office becomes one sidewall of the room.

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One option for a home office layout is to have your desk and all equipment against one wall – FreelancingBoss

Dedicated Room for Home Office – the dedicated room for a home office is not possible for everyone due to space limitations but is perhaps the easiest to create a productive layout. Many of the previous formats can work just as well in a dedicated room home office.

How Do You Arrange Furniture in a Small Office?

Arranging furniture in a small home office is easy once you have worked out the layout that you want. You can arrange your furniture in a small home office by having your desk as the main component of your office, and this can be arranged in the middle or on the sides. Additionally, bookshelves and cabinets can be arranged to either side of the desk.

If choosing a minimalist approach, bookshelves and cabinets are physically located separately from the desk.

The critical thing to remember here is that in arranging your furniture in a home office, it should be concentrated in one area and not spread into different rooms.

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Related Freelancing and Work at Home Articles You Might Also Be Interested In:
How Can You Create the Perfect Freelancer Workspace at Home?
Small Home Office Desk: Ideas, Colors, Accessories
How to Have a Minimalist Home Office Desk Setup (Workspace, Computer, Decor)
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Best Small Home Office Layout for Productivity

In considering the best office layout for productivity, there are a few guidelines that will be helpful to you.

Centralized – a productive home office will have all office-related items in one place or area, including furniture, books, materials.

Tools Needed to Be Productive – all the tools that are required to make your home office productive need to be in this space also.

Soundproof or At Least Distraction-free – having a soundproof home office is easier if you have a separate office. Still, it is possible to keep sound and distractions to a minimum even with an open home office set up.

Reduce Interruptions – arrange furniture to encourage fewer interruptions, and they can even be used as a barrier to interruptions.

Lighting – bright and natural light is typically seen as giving an environment a more productive feeling. You can enhance this by positioning your layout next to a window if possible or choosing different types of lamps and intensities

Clutter-it is best that your home office set up is free from clutter so you can focus on one thing at a time.

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Keeping your productivity high as a freelancer is important and a well designed home office layout can help – FreelancingBoss

How Can I Be Productive As a Freelancer? 

Being productive means that your output on the freelance projects you have progresses the project, and you are closer to completing your project work. Whether it is artwork, an article or manuscript, a software program, or a website, the output advances your project targets.

According to some studies (Business News Daily), work at home remote workers are more productive than office workers in certain circumstances and also remote work is increasing globally. It is to your benefit to create an office that encourages productivity.

Small Office Layout Ideas -How Do You Create a Productive Work Environment At Home?

To create a productive work environment in your home office, there are a few things to keep in mind. It won’t always be possible to implement all of these guidelines, but it will improve your chances of being productive.

It is best to keep your work environment free from clutter, which means you should only have work items on your desk and keep these to a minimum. Your work environment should also be free from noise disruptions and even interruptions such as people visiting you or people calling you when you should be focusing on your work.

It’s good to have an energizing and comfortable layout of furniture so that your mind can be focused on writing that article or creating that software program. Additionally, all the tools that you need should be close at hand, and if you need, for instance, multiple monitors for doing video editing projects, they should be part of your home office set up.

Lighting has a lot to do with creating a mood for productivity. As mentioned previously, natural light and bright light is usually considered an advantage to have to create a productive work environment.

In the big picture, it’s interesting to note that a minimalist style work environment tends to match the small office layout ideas for a productive work environment.

How Do Freelancers Stay Focused?

Staying focused as a freelancer is also a matter of process, in addition to having a productive work environment. 

In the YouTube video below is one technique which I use and which is considered helpful to many people in many fields – the Pomodoro technique.

YouTube Video – The Pomodoro Technique

YouTube Video – The Pomodoro Technique by Med School Insiders – FreelancingBoss

To stay focused, these ideas which are process-related can help you. In the table below, I have outlined seven tips for improving productivity and focus in your home office. I indicate how difficult it is to implement into your daily life on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most difficult). In the next column, I indicate how this tip keeps you focused, and finally, in the last two columns, I indicate if a software tool is needed and the importance of the tip on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the most important).

Table 1 - Productivity Tips to Stay Focused

Productivity TipDescriptionHow Easy is it to Implement? (1-10)How This Keeps You FocusedSoftware Tool Needed? Y/NImportance (1-5)
Defined Hours of WorkingWork for a specified amount of time, no mixing personal items3When you are working, you are workingNo, but calendar can help5
Defined Work Project OutputHave what you want to accomplish well defined6You are focused on completing one thingNo5
No Calls, Visits or InterruptionsDuring the time you are working, do not allow calls or visits6Nothing to distract your focusNo4
Work When Your Energy is HighestWhen you are most energetic and fresh is when you should work2Use your energy at the right timeNo4
Take Scheduled BreaksAfter you have worked for a specified amount of time, schedule a break of 15-30 minutes2Replenishes your energyNo4
Work in Sound-Proof AreaWhen possible, work in an area that keeps outside sounds from bothering you6Keeps distractions to a minimumNo3
No MultitaskingOnly work on one task at a time2Keeps you focused on one thingNo5
Productivity TipDescriptionHow Easy is it to Implement? (1-10)How This Keeps You FocusedSoftware Tool Needed? Y/NImportance (1-5)

Home Office Tools To Stay Productive

When you’re a freelancer and you want to be productive, some tools help more than others.

One of the first tools that can help you stay productive is a timer. For the time that you have planned to be working on your project, a timer can keep you on track. For keeping distractions to a minimum, headphones that playing music or background sounds can help you. By using headphones, it will block out all other sounds except for the music or background that you want.

A calendar is a great tool to give you a look at all the appointments you have coming up. Many people use an electronic calendar, but the use of a wall calendar can also be helpful because it’s always visible.

Another good idea is to have a reliable filing system, which can be placed in drawers or your cabinet. It will not only keep you more organized, but it will keep papers and other items out of the way so that you can focus on your project.

A good cloud storage system can give you peace of mind. All of the files that you use on your computer or for your project can be stored on a cloud storage system and then accessed from any computer, tablet, or phone.

There are multiple books and software programs focused on productivity that can help you.

Productivity Improvement for The Home Office Freelancer 

Now that we have covered home office productivity and layout ideas and detailed some of the things that a freelancer can do to be productive, let’s dive into specific items in your home office that can improve productivity.

Small Office Layout IdeasDesk and Furniture

Choosing the right desk and furniture types for productivity in your home office is a matter of personal taste. However, there are rules of thumb that will get you closer to the ideal.

A desk can be extremely simple and made of various materials, but often people tend to like would as it gives a more modern look and feels. Desks can be L-shaped or designed to be in a corner. Depending on the layout of your home office, the right desk can improve productivity even more.

Furniture that accompanies your desk, such as cabinets, bookshelves, and side tables, is essential to consider, and as mentioned, they can be made of wood, they can be simple, and you should be able to find one that fits your style. To make it an improvement to productivity, match the furniture with your desk and layout.

The office chair is an essential part of the productivity equation for furniture because it is the place where it needs to be comfortable and have the possibility to keep you seated for hours at a time.

Color for Productivity

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Choosing colors for your home office are important for productivity too – FreelancingBoss

Productivity colors have a few guidelines which can easily be incorporated into your home office layout.

Shades of light blue are considered to be productive office colors. White is also a good color for productivity; however, some people feel that white is very bland and does not give energy to an office. Energy colors are colors like orange, yellow, and red. It will provide you with the mood of energy to motivate your productivity.

Some designers suggest mixing wall and floor and furniture colors to give the overall environment of your home office the optimal productivity setup.

Décor and Accessories That Support Productivity

There are many home office decor and accessories that will support your productivity. Here’s a shortlist of some of the main items:

Wall Calendar – as previously mentioned, a wall calendar can give you a visual reminder of things that are happening in a given week or month. You can find theme calendars to suit your own tastes

Posters and Artwork – a well-positioned poster or work of art can set the mood for your productive home office set up

Green Plants – green plants set in the corner or on the desk of a home office can give the atmosphere a fresh and energetic feel.

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Green house plants can be a great accessory for your home office – FreelancingBoss

Decorative Art – depending on your home office set up and the colors you have integrated, a decorative art piece like a sculpture can give an added productivity boost.

Keyboard – keyboards come in all shapes and sizes these days, and can have customized functions. It may improve your productivity.

Computer Mouse – the same is true for computer mice. There are programmable computer mice that allow improved productivity functionality.

Monitors and Multi-monitors – if your freelance work requires it, you can have any size of monitor and even multiple monitors to improve your productivity

#16 Conclusion 

A productive home office environment depends a lot on the layout, the furniture, and your personal preferences. It can be the difference between being a successful freelancer and one where you always feel overwhelmed. It’s better to do your best and plan and work out your home office layout so that it supports your freelancer lifestyle. The options are endless, but they have guidelines.

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