Given the new world we are living in, it is easy to dwell on the negatives, and there have indeed been a lot lately. Luckily, setting up your home office doesn’t have to be. There are many good things that can be missed when not having that office comradery while working at home, and although it is not going to be forever, for most it is the wave for the near future. So, while we are working that 9-to-5 from home, why not make the most of the situation and give yourself a truly functional and inspiring home office space, no matter the limitations.
One of the most important things when working from home is to try and keep on a schedule so you have a routine as before when leaving home for work. With this in mind, get up and start your day just as you would have before -- get dressed, have your breakfast and then “go to work”. It is important to make a distinction for work time
and personal time with a dedicated space since the line gets blurred very easily when working from home. As not all of us have the luxury of a second bedroom to turn into an office where we can conquer the world, there are other ways you can maximize your space as well as meet your budget.
The first step to reimagining your home office is to assess the space you have to
work with, as well as what your needs are for doing your job to your best ability. This will greatly determine which scenario works best for you. First, do you have an open floorplan home? Will you be sharing it with a spouse, kids, etcetera who will be home as well? Do you have large closets? Do you have any nooks? Second, do you need quiet space for calls? Wall space to tack up mood boards or problem solve? Desk space for spreadsheets?
If you, like most people, are living in an open floorplan home where the only other interior room with a door (bathrooms don’t count) is your bedroom, this room becomes key even more so if not living alone because it will be the most private for concentrating, phone calls, and endless Zoom meetings from home. So, given this is the space that you should be mindful of sleep time, you do not want to always have work staring you in your face. If you have the space, section off one area of the room to make a workspace and you can visually break the space in many ways.
A small desk area can be delineated by a beautiful and functional folding screen; folding screens are great because they are mobile, add great style to the room, and can be done in many different materials for a little background envy as well. Also, foamed fabric panels can be added as well to help with acoustics and the bouncing sound when making those Zoom calls.
If you do not have the space for a permanent desk area in the bedroom you can also try a collapsing or folding desk. Collapsible desks have been popular in the tech world for years as an option for those that prefer standing at times to work as well. The space- saving hack with a folding or collapsible desk is great because it can just go under your bed while not in use, so it is out of sight when work is done.
Another bedroom office fix, and a little asymmetrical interest, is having a writing desk
in place of a typical bedside table in the room. This will give you a perfectly functional work surface while still leaving room for a lamp and the stack of books you still have not gotten around to reading yet.
When working from the Living/ Family rooms, we can settle into a casual work style that can be as simple as sitting on the sofa with the laptop literally in lap. In the living space, we can take those same principles of creating a separate identifiable workspace that is functional and fits into our décor style as well.
A great way to have function and add architectural interest to your home in general is
to have a bookcase or furniture units that give both storage and workspace. Within the bookcase, you can have a desk area designated as your home office space that can have a sliding door to close everything when not in use. Let’s face it, you do not want to look at those stacks of paper all evening!
Depending on your style and budget, home office spaces can also be simply defined by a beautiful piece of furniture that opens like an antique secretary. Of course, an antique is an antique if you know what I mean, but there are several modern reproductions that do the job and won’t blow the budget. Along the same lines, the furniture piece could be a beautiful armoire with a fold out desk that can nicely keep your work life in one tidy furniture box.
When a guest room office or camping out on the dining table aren’t options, we just have to deal with what space we have and get a bit more creative.
Turning that empty, or just poorly organized, extra closet into your own private home cubicle is an easy home-hack to have a fixed workspace that can be closed away. This is also more useful if your work doesn’t simply require a laptop but much more equipment that isn’t conducive to being moved, or if you are just a messy worker... present company included!
Another interior-hack for a home office is to make smart use of that empty wall with a wall-hung rail system of shelving and desk system. There are beautiful and functional systems on the market that can answer your needs whatever the room. With aesthetics in mind, it can really be a smart and cool way to face the daily grind... at home, that is.
With respect to a home office, the choices can be as endless as your imagination. In the end, you know what works best for you and how you function best in your job. Just as work is vitally important to our livelihood and sanity, turning it off is as well. Research has shown Americans work far too many hours in a week to have sustained productivity, so the best counter to that is to have a good work-life balance to recharge. So, when you are done close your office for the day, take a break, and try out your 14th banana bread recipe to relax.