During this global pandemic millions of people have transitioned from working in a large office environment to working from the kitchen table at home. It’s not been easy. But with so many organizations giving their employees and opportunity to work from home permanently or a staggered schedule moving forward, it’s essential to have a space dedicated to you and your work if at all possible. We’ve seen so many HGTV shows designing for an “open concept” with no walls, no privacy and no door to shut for that conference call. But if you have a formal living room, den or even a small storage space or storage closet that you can redesign to serve as your own little nook, I encourage you to do so.
About 18 months after launching my company, and a few beautiful office spaces later, I decided that working from home, and having my team join me there, would be the ideal scenario. So, I deliberately bought a home that would accommodate office space for several workers. It’s been such a delight to be out of the hustle and bustle of traffic, parking garages and packed elevators. And now, we are well ahead of the "new normal."
So once you’ve identified that room in the house that does not get used often or is relatively empty during the day, or even if you already have a room that is considered your office, it’s now time to design the space. It goes without saying, but your desk is the focal point of an office. Decide what type of desk works best for you as there are many options. There are thin desks that do not take up much space, a great option for a part-time home office that has other uses, or there are big, sturdy desks with a lot of storage space and room to spread out.
There are several places both online and in store to purchase a desk, so it should not be difficult to find one, but if you are looking for a bargain, I suggest checking Facebook Marketplace for a pre-loved desk or a second hand store or consignment shop.
Positioning your desk is the next step in how you want your office to look. Where do you want to be looking when you glance up from your work? Personally, I enjoy looking out a window or an open doorway, something that is interesting but not too distracting. If you do not have a window in your office, try hanging some of your favorite art or beautiful landscapes on the wall you will be facing.
Next item to purchase is a comfortable desk chair, an obvious item but it is important to have a chair that fits your body. Look for a chair that is height adjustable to make it a perfect fit for you and your desk. It should also have armrests for comfort and wheels for mobility.
I suggest having some sort of natural light in your office if possible, whether it comes from a window in the room or let some light seep in from the next room. Natural light allows you to be connected to the outside world while still working. You will also be able to see what time of day it is, which will help you to not work all hours of the day, which can happen all too often
when working from home. Not only is natural light important but overhead lighting and lamps are essential to complete your work properly. A lamp on your desk will help on a gloomy day when there is not much natural light. A lamp with different levels of lighting is ideal for work settings. To have an efficient workspace, it is important to de-clutter and organize your space. If your desk has drawers, you can file important documents and have a spot for everything in your office, like the saying goes, “There’s a place for everything and everything has its place.”
You will likely need a printer, but there are other ways to go paperless and keep all your documents, notes, and emails organized on your computer. One of my favorite apps is called GeniusScan that allows me to scan a document and email it very easily on my phone. Be sure to utilize today’s technology to make your life easier.
The final step to a great home office is adding your own personal touch. With each item you purchase for your office, make it something you love. Your comfortable desk chair can also be quirky and stylish, the solid desk can be a statement piece and the lamp will tie it all together. Hang artwork of pictures of places you love. Frame pictures of your friends and family and place them where you can see them. You want to be comfortable in your home office and now’s your chance to design it exactly how you want it.
Good luck in your home office design, and who knows, this might be the next series on HGTV!
Well, that’s all I have for now.
Thanks to Emily McWilliams for her assistance with this blog.
Want more ideas? Check out this article.