Working from home is just about anyone’s ideal American dream, right? Sleeping in, lounging in bed with coffee and an iPad, taking client calls fresh out of the shower in a bathrobe, and handling conference calls in the den in-between laundry loads – yeah. Working hard, or hardly working has a thin line when playing the cards right!
While this might be the 9-5ers dream come true, especially living in the age of thriving start-up companies reaching millions through social media platforms, what they DON’T always tell you is that working from home can easily turn into a nightmare you can’t escape, too! Now you’ve brought your work office home with you, full time.
However, one way to ensure success working from home is to take the necessary steps to make sure your office space is organized at all times, comfortable, and provides separation from your personal at-home life, while still maintaining plenty of comfort.
Necessary Office & Communication Functions
A lot of people think of the “fun stuff” when designing a home office. Fun as in, it looks pretty and satisfyingly provides visual organization, such as installing a historic bookcase or decorative shelving units. While these are very important, many forget the basics of a corporate office space and take the simple functioning steps for granted. Functions like high-speed Wi-Fi, telephone and cable lines, a projector and viewing screen, an efficient heating and cooling system, and a heavy-duty printer are just a few examples of home office design ideas that can make work life easier for you.
While any ideal home office space has large windows with lots of natural sunlight, sometimes it is also necessary to add additional lighting like lamps or studio lighting, depending on your work industry. If you fall into the creative studio office design type, box lighting, ring lights and key lighting are additional tools you should consider adding to your space if you haven’t already.
As mentioned earlier, some more obvious fixtures like bookcases and wall shelves are key for both visual and organizational elements of your home office. Filing cabinets, wall-cubby units, and small rolling island carts are other physical fixtures that can help you stay organized. However, other non-physical items like wall or desk calendars, whiteboards/chalkboards, or even easels are crucial to keeping records of your schedules, appointments and project due dates current and updated.
What you plan to do in your home office can determine the size, shape, and needs for your workstation. Whether you need multiple monitors or a large screen desktop, portable laptop, separate keyboard, and Bluetooth mouse are completely up to you. First, identify your task needs; second ensure your workstation is comfortable for you. If you will be spending long hours sitting, take the extra step and purchase a large, comfortable office chair. If you spend time video chatting with clients and co-workers, install a large monitor and an industrial telephone with a loudspeaker function. Make sure your desk is a shape that fits the size of your space and allows you plenty of working room. If you see clients in your own home, make sure you have guest-seating arrangements available too.
Finally – the cozy and comfortable part! Here is where you can really take advantage of being in the comfort of your own home. Keep your office design consistent with your established household elements or even step-up your style with a clean, sleek design to impress clients and keep yourself work-motivated! Make sure your space is a place that keeps you in the mood to be productive! Whether it’s a Tiffany blue Keurig, the latest flat screen, that next-gen iMac, a Moroccan floor rug…you name it. This is the time to personalize your space to make yourself feel at home. Don’t forget important décor pieces like beautiful wall art, plants, maybe a sitting space with armchairs and a coffee table.
Separating Tasks with Separate Spaces
Often times, growing a business from home involves separate tasks in one working space, like creating a product and then handling the distribution for it or communicating with clients on a regular basis. Make sure your home office has separation for each task role, like putting your desk and sitting area on one side of your office and perhaps partitioning the workspace behind it. An office can also double as a personal library with a separate space for reading and books, or even separating your space with French doors from studio (back of house) to client and office space (front of house).
Speaking of separation, the most IMPORTANT compartmentalization that needs to take place is work-to-home. The best way to do that is to make sure your office space has a closing door from the rest of your home! While a “removed” space can still be usable, often times noise from the kitchen or common areas can float upstairs or downstairs to a den or down the all to an extra bedroom, easily affecting concentration. It’s key that both you and your family know when the door is closed to the office, mom or dad should not be bothered!
Home Office Design for Optimal Work Performance
No two home offices are the same. These vary depending on many factors, including industry, size work-space, necessary tools needed to work, etc. No matter what it is you need to do at home - whether it’s art, merchandising, simple clerical needs or anything in between; the most important thing is creating a space that helps you maintain productivity and serenity and allow you to stay efficient and successful.