With more and more people working from home in today’s global workplace it’s vital that we start taking the prospect of creating unique home-office environments that are custom-tailored for individual needs. As an entrepreneur, I have always worked from home, so I have always been keenly aware of the type of space I needed to carve out for myself and my business. But when my husband, John, started migrating from his typical corporate America work environment into a home office scenario I was uniquely involved in the creation of his home office space, as well.
All too often the glam shots we see of home work environments don’t depict the true nature of what it’s like to either work from home or even more challenging, running a business from home. So before you venture into designing your perfect work zone make sure you have carefully considered your needs AND goals. Here are a few points to ponder AND suggestions on how to make it happen – in style!
At first, you may think it’s just about carving out an area where you can have a work surface and a chair. But functionality is paramount when it comes to work environments. So don’t just be satisfied with a desk in the corner of your bedroom. Perhaps you need a surface for a larger stand-alone monitor and/or spreading out paperwork and notes. Sometimes another surface adjacent to your main desk, or directly behind you can act as a landing zone to help keep your main work area clutter-free. Although most of us work on laptops these days, think about ways to optimize the position and juxtaposition of mouse pads, external keyboards, and other external devices. The bigger the better when it comes to accessible work surfaces! Standing desks are extremely popular and beneficial – but require more counter surface to be truly functional!
It goes without saying that storage is a priority – especially if your work area is part of a larger space like a bedroom, living room or kitchen. The ability to put away paperwork and close off work from nosy guests is a necessity rather than a luxury. Do you need file storage, separate file storage for household vs work papers? Think about what other filing systems might work better for you like a vertical file for “in-progress” files and notes? Unfortunately for a society that was supposed to have gone “paperless” decades ago, we seem to have more paperwork than ever to manage and organize.
Often this detail gets overlooked because of backlit computer screens, but adequate lighting is important for reading and giving your work environment an energized look and feel. If you have the benefit of a window or any natural lighting in your home office, then glare management might be offsetting the benefits of natural Vitamin D. Task lighting for reading is a must, but perhaps consider specialized light bulbs to help with the lack of vitamin D, or help control Circadian rhythms. Lighting is so much more important and subliminal than you may think!
TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRICAL
With all the wireless technology available these days electrical needs have changed – but we still need abundant outlets as many devices like printers specify that they should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Cord management is another element to consider, especially if you are a neat freak like me. Think about having multiple outlets at different heights!
An ergonomic desk chair that is suited for your specific body type and needs is a necessity. But don’t forget about the guest (or spouse) that might show up for a visit! Even a folding stool of some sort is a great idea for smaller spaces. And, of course, if you have the space, a leather recliner or sofa is a great addition for you and your guests!
If you have the luxury of a private office, then sound control is only a factor of the thickness of your walls, a good solid door and perhaps your neighbor’s stereo system. But if you need to somehow create a quiet office space within a larger room, consider drapery panels, sliding doors or a panel-track system to at least give you visual privacy. Texture is king when it comes to dissipating echoing – area rugs, and acoustic wall and ceiling panels (you can get custom designs with great graphics!) will definitely help the issue!
There’s no doubt a home office – a truly functional home office – needs to be carefully planned. There are many more options and tech devices coming out every day. In the end, you’ll not only want to create a space that is functional and effective for completing the tasks at hand but don’t forget to add a little personality to make those long work days seem a little shorter, too!