Once regarded as a luxury, an office space at home is now a must-have, whether it’s a dedicated room, a built-for-purpose garden room, or a small study space with big ideas.
Start by thinking about the purpose of your space. If you’ll be working in there on a daily basis, creating a different feel from the rest of your rooms may help you to focus. Design the home office you deserve with our handy guide.
A distinction has to be made regarding the physical boundaries of this working space. The most effective way to do that is with the design of the space itself.
Ask yourself these questions before you begin:
- What will you be doing in the space?
- What type of work needs to be done?
- Will external clients be visiting the space?
- Will colleagues visit for collaborative work?
- What type of materials will be referenced and/or stored?
- What type of equipment is required?
- When will I be doing the bulk of my work?
- Will I be making conference calls?
- Will I be video conferencing?
The answers to these questions will begin to develop the program for your home office.
The next step is setting up your space. Where are you going to put your office? It doesn’t need to be large or expansive, but it should be separate from other areas. You might be able to convert the guest room you only use a few times a year or another underutilized area into your office. Evaluate how the space you find can be dedicated for your use and can be “your space.”
If you work from home, there’s nothing more beneficial to your productivity—and sense of style—than a well-designed office space. Here are some tips to help you get the modern home office you’ve always wanted.
CHOOSE A LOCATION THAT BEST SUITS YOUR WORKING STYLE
The first – and probably the most important – thing to think about is where your home office ought to be located. Consider your working style and the nature of your work, as well the needs of the people you live with.
If your work is solitary and requires quiet and privacy, a garden office room, garage conversion or home office in a loft conversion is most appropriate.
On the other hand, if you run a small business from home while keeping an eye on children, you may need your workspace near the kitchen or sitting room, perhaps in an under-used dining room. An ideal solution in this case might be a cupboard workstation.
Or, if you simply don’t have the space elsewhere, a spare bedroom or corner of a bedroom or living space can do the trick nicely, if well planned.
PLAN THE LAYOUT OF YOUR SPACE
Take a good look at the layout of the room and think about how best to use the space. The desk is typically the set piece where we spend most of our time in an office, so position it in the best possible coordinates. If clients will be coming and going, line it up neatly in view of the entrance. If there’s an inspirational view of your garden you want to take advantage of, put the desk square in front of the window.
Then, determine the strategic placement of additional equipment like printers and electrical components. If a major portion of your workload relies on technology, you’ll want to make certain that the space you’ve chosen can accommodate that kind of setup. If necessary, invest in a quality wireless hub.
WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR HOME OFFICE?
Speed and efficiency are critical at home. But make careful decisions. Question whether that large color copier is a real necessity or if a trip to the neighborhood Kinkos will suffice. Don’t pay for equipment you won’t use on a daily basis.
Investigate a wireless hub for your office so you have the flexibility to work on your laptop from your desk, your chair or a table, and at both standing and sitting heights. This simple option can enhance your creative problem-solving and thinking ability.
It goes without saying that if you’re planning on working long hours, you need enough light to ensure you won’t strain your eyes. To do this effectively, use a mixture of lighting types to fill every corner of the room. As an added bonus, including a variety of light sources gives you more control over the room’s ambiance.
If you’re new to lighting — or need a refresher — here’s an overview of the different types you can include:
- Ambient: Lighting that’s used to fill most of the room, usually from overhead
- Accent: A light fixture used to highlight a specific feature like a bookcase, fireplace or piece of art
- Task: Light fixtures for a specific purpose like a desk lamp
For best results, try to include at least one example of each of these types of lighting in your home office. And feel free to add more, if needed. In this case, it’s better to err on the side of too many light sources than not enough.
No one can work effectively in a sea of noise or interruptions. When planning your office area, ensure that it affords a degree of privacy from surrounding activities. While headphones may serve to isolate certain sounds, no one wants to be forced to wear headphones all the time. Portable screens can be used to shield the work area from nearby activities. Alternatively, divider walls that double as bookcases will not only divide the area but provide superior storage solutions.
Your health, safety and welfare are critical. Therefore, the items you choose should be ergonomically designed to promote your health and well-being while using them.
INVEST IN THE BEST DESK YOU CAN GET FOR YOUR BUDGET
Choosing the right desk will involve considering how much space you have available in the room. The desktop needs to be big enough to accommodate your laptop or computer, while giving you space to take notes or sort files.
A corner desk will allow you to split the work station into two: one side for the computer, the other for paperwork. Be aware that integrated storage pillars (while incredibly useful) will dictate where you can sit and may affect achieving a comfortable working position. Like to be more mobile? A standing desk is worth considering.
Some desks have handy wire channels to keep your tangle of cables neatly out of the way. If your chosen desk does not, you will need to consider the placement of the desk for a neat and safe connection to plug sockets.
How would you sum up the concept of home office design?