Designing Your Home Office
For many of us, working from home has become our new normal. Sometimes our job offers us the opportunity do all, or at least part, of our work from home. Some of us are self-employed and do all of our work from our homes. Others of us just want a comfortable, efficient space in our home to manage all of facets of our daily lives. Regardless of why we need a home office, we need to understand how to design our home offices so that we can be efficient and stay focused on the tasks at hand.
Location and Space
When choosing a location for your home office, there are several things to consider. First, are clients going to visiting your office? Or is your office going to be more like your communication hub, a place where you generate paperwork or talk to clients via phone or live internet meetings?
If clients will be coming to you, you will want to locate your home office where it has easy outside access so that clients don’t have to walk through half of your home to get to your office. In this case you will need more than just your desk, filing cabinets, and shelving. You will need comfortable seating and maybe a smaller conference table and chairs.
If it’s only you in the space, your office should be located away from everyday distractions like TV sounds and general household traffic. And don’t short change yourself by attempting to locate your office in a closet or nook to avoid losing the use of a bedroom or other living space. You won’t be productive tucked into a too tiny space.
Furniture, Accessories, and Hardware
Decorate your home office to compliment the look of the rest of your home. Beyond just a desk and bookcases or filing cabinets. There’s nothing wrong with having a comfortable loveseat, designer end tables, some artwork and personal accessories.
These is nothing wrong with having things that you enjoy looking at in your office: scenic pictures, pictures of your family, a decorative coffee mug to hold your pens and pencils, things that make you comfortable. You don’t want to work in a cubical environment.
Remember that you are going to possibly be spending a lot of time sitting at your desk. The desk doesn’t have to be just your average run-of-the-mill office type desk. And you definitely need a comfortable, ergonomically designed chair to sit in. Start with those two items and then design your office around them.
If you are going to conduct or participate in video conference calls, consider adding a laser projector and screen. Nothing says success like a big screen display or video presentation of what you do or what you can provide for your clients.
Conceal and Embellish
There is not much you can do to computers, printers, or phones to jazz them up. But what you can do is to bundle together and hide all of the cords and cables necessary to operate them. Try to locate these standard office items as close to outlets as possible to cut down on cord clutter. If that becomes too difficult or not feasible, you can find tubes and sleeves to run them through to keep them from being unsightly or becoming a tripping hazard.
Don’t tuck your desk into a dark corner. Place it near a window so that you can occasionally glance away from the computer screen and see the outside world. Your work probably won’t stop just because the sun is going down, so consider a few table lamps. One overhead light fixture just won’t provide the correct level of lighting to keep you from having eye strain. Table lamps are another way to add a little of your own style to your home office.
Metal filing cabinets serve the purpose but they aren’t much to look at. A spacious, beautiful bookcase is much more attractive and will make an impressive backdrop during video calls. If you are converting an extra bedroom into your office, there will be a closet. Deck it out with additional shelving to store paperwork and supplies and keep those things out of public view. If you want cramped and cluttered, you would be better off going back to the office cubical at your place of work.
Home office design plays a major role in your creativity and success. Having a home office can be healthier, cause less stress and allow you to better balance your work life and your home life. And the money you save on transportation and clothing will more than offset the cost of setting up a pleasing and functional home office.