When the pandemic hit in early 2020, no one anticipated just how big of an impact it would have on our homes. With lockdown orders, we worked from home, our children did school from home, we exercised at home, and we cooked most of our meals at home. All of this “being at home” time helped us to really see how our homes do and do not function best for this new lifestyle.
In the past, most of our home offices were more aesthetic in nature and were simply a place to send a quick email, pay the bills, or do a bit of online researching or shopping. We never expected to spend our 8-hour work day in this space. While many of us have returned to the office again (at least part-time) and our children have returned to school, we’re faced with the reality that both companies and schools are looking at ways to incorporate more work from home elements in our day to day life.
As a result, the construction industry has seen a huge boom with people wanting to make their spaces more functional. Here are our top 5 items we ask clients to consider when evaluating their home office space:
1. LOCATION & WORK/HOME BALANCE
Let’s face it - location is a BIG deal when it comes to your home office. It’s a place for working and that means distractions, privacy and noise level are important to consider. If your space is near a high traffic area, consider designing ways to “close” the office when it’s not in use. Cabinetry doors, drawers & shelving can keep the office mess tucked out of sight and away from little hands that might like to explore. You can also try rerouting the traffic flow of an area by rearranging furniture or repurposing a closet or small room/space altogether.
Top Left - High traffic area; Others - Converted small spaces
Others may have a separate room or more private space for their workspace, which may seem ideal. However, it’s also important that you’re mentally able to shut down and “leave” work at the end of the day.
How much storage do you need? Do you need a place to keep files or reference books? Do you frequently use your printer and need it close by or tucked away? Where will you store office supplies? Also, keep in mind this space is now multi-functional for work & home, so you need a way to keep things stored separately - an area for home-related work as opposed to your job-related work.
Tons of Storage in this corner office - tray pullout for printer, filing cabinets, room for personal touches and lots of cabinetry storage.
When designing your home office, consider how you work. What items need to be “at your fingertips” so to speak? Do you like a keyboard tray? What about a printer or second monitor? Is writing/desk space important or do you do most of your activity on a laptop? Will you have in-person meetings? If so, you’ll need seating and an inviting space for others. Most of all, you need to make sure this space WORKS for you!
4. LAYOUT & BACKDROP
How you lay out your office plays hand in hand with its functionality and can mitigate interruptions as well as boost productivity. As with Kitchen Layouts, there are lots of options - L-shaped and u-shaped work areas, freestanding desks, corner workspaces and more. And what about a view - both for you and those Zoom calls? You may gain a nice window view with a corner facing desk, but the door to your office becomes a blind spot. We’ve all seen the Zoom meeting with the child in the background dancing during mom or dad’s important call!
Last, but certainly not least is the decor of your office. Although we almost all would say we want our offices professional and classy, your home office should also compliment the rest of your house decor. A contemporary office might not be the best choice in an otherwise traditional house, but you can certainly explore how to make it personal with accents and color. Perhaps you want calm colors for a sometimes stressful space or maybe bold colors to spur on your creativity.
Also important is lighting. While a good source of natural light is ideal, it’s not always an option. Just make sure your work space has adequate lighting for working, and again for those Zoom calls!
Your home office decor should be a calm & inspiring space that compliments the rest of your house.
Children & Teen workspaces.
Whether it’s a nook off the kitchen or a completely private space, some sort of home office space has now become an essential area of almost every home. Bottom line - your space, no matter how big or small, private or not, needs to be a place that sets you up for success. For most of us that means staying organized, keeping productivity high and enjoying what we do...and where we do it!