I consider there to be 5 reasons why the kitchen table makes a bad workbench for virtual assistants. But first, a bit of background. When I started JMJ – EA for a Day more than 12 years ago, my first space was built into a closet in our spare room (when the kids were still at home). The moment we became empty-nesters, I put my name on the first room to become available. As sad as I was to see my children moving out, there was never a better opportunity to give myself space, ownership, and not to mention, a door I could close to visually end my working day.

Funnily enough, the kitchen table was never an option. I couldn’t imagine myself sitting at the table that I would need to set up and pack up every day. It seemed futile to me. Working in an environment where I could be interrupted, distracted or struggle to maintain focus seemed like a bad idea to me.

Yet, fast forward to today, and it’s the norm. When I need to spread out my work and use the laptop, the kitchen table is fine for an hour or two. But to use the space for 8 hours is a bad idea, and here’s why.

  1. Your dining room chairs are not ergonomic
  2. Your table is not desk height; it is often too tall
  3. The kitchen is generally the hub of the home, with lots of coming and going
  4. You’re too accessible to distractions, and that, in turn, leads to a loss of focus
  5. You’re not doing your health any favours by neglecting your posture

Let me be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using your kitchen table to work from for short periods, but when it comes to your productivity and your physical health, the kitchen table makes a bad workbench.

Planning your workspace

So what do you do if you’re not working from the kitchen table, but you want to remain at home?

One of the key considerations in planning your workspace is your family (assuming you don’t live independently). Low shelving isn’t a great idea for toddlers and stationery items; neither are printers perched at the end of a desk or on top of a low filing cabinet. While laying your space out seems like common sense, sometimes things get lost in translation.

If you like paperwork and will have a lot of documents, you will need to store them close to you. There is nothing worse than having to find a document and go to another room to get it. While a positive is that it gets you up from the desk, the downside is that it interrupts your train of thought.

Consider these 6 things when planning your workspace

  1. Where will you sit and work?
  2. Where will you store your office supplies?
  3. How will you lay out your office furniture, i.e., your desk, what shape is it; does your office chair have arms; does it fit under the desk or sit out in the room; does it take up too much space?
  4. Is your monitor at the right height; if you’re using a laptop only, is it at the right height? Do you need a keyboard and mouse instead of using the laptop keys and touchpad?
  5. Will you be productive in your new space; how will you deal with distractions?

If you’re still unsure or need some more tips, pop into the resources section and download a copy of Setting Up Your Workspace. I’ve covered off, best practices, how to select your space, plan, renovate, equip and fit it out, plus so much more.

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