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 Home Office Tips
for the active Union member

Most Union Members who hold a position as a Steward, Health & Safety Representative, Executive Member, Bargaining Member or Committee Member need a workspace beyond that of the 9 to 5 position that they hold.  In some cases these Members will attend to their Union role outside of their regular work hours and therefore would benefit from a “home office” space dedicated to the responsibilities that they hold within their Union. For these Members, an Innovative Workplace is a must!

Here are my top four tips for creating a home office that is a productive working space and a nice place to hang out too:


  1. Find a suitable space - You might be limited in your choices here, but look for ways to get creative. By removing the doors of a closet as well as the pole for the clothes, you might be able to reclaim that space for workspace. A desk and/or shelves could tuck nicely into a closet nook. This might not work if you like a great view though. In my office, I have my main workspace positioned so that I am looking out the window. I love to have the view of the world in my peripheral. That inspires me, but for you, it might just bother your eyes! Determine what’s important to you and then find a space in your home that will meet your needs.
  1. Plan and organize your working area - What do you need in order to feel comfortable in your workspace and to be productive? Good lighting is important (and natural light is even better). If your chair is on wheels, then a hard-surface floor or at least one of those hard plastic mats on top of your carpeting will be preferable. I like to have all of my most-used items (phone, stapler, calculator, pen holder, etc) within easy reach. I use lots of baskets and shelving to store the items I use less frequently. I have a whiteboard in easy view where I capture my various action items that need my attention. Add a few items that make you smile (photos of family, inspirational sayings, etc) and voila - you are well on your way to creating a productive and inspiring workspace!
  1. Sit down and enjoy - If you are tele-working on a full time basis then you really need to invest in a good chair because you are going to spend a lot of time in it! Avoid shopping for this one on-line if you can - you really need to “test drive” your chair in a store to determine if it has the comfort factor that you are looking for. Go for one that is adjustable - you will want to change the arm and back settings depending on the type of work that you are doing at a given moment…you may work on your computer for a while and then switch over to hand-written work…then you may want to kick back while on a conference call. I constantly adjust my chair throughout my workday based on what activity I am engaged in.
  1. Surface space - Your work surface is likely to be the single most important feature of your home office. If your work surface is not big enough to accommodate the kind of work that you do, you will be constantly shuffling papers and folders around…and getting frustrated. You might opt for a custom-made work surface and cabinets or a couple of filing cabinets with an old door stretched across the top. Whatever your set-up, be sure that it gives you a solid work surface that is big enough to meet your needs.
  1. Virtual office – Finally, carefully consider the type of technology you need to have “in your pocket” so that you can fulfill your obligations from anywhere. Smart phone technologies allow me to work from my RV or a beach depending on my mood!

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