The ability to work from home is a benefit many professionals embrace. But productivity is only as good as the environment we work in. No matter how frequently you work without leaving the house — whether you’re self-employed and home-based full time or if you telecommute just a couple of days a week — it’s important to establish space that doesn’t infringe on family living area. It should be more than just a desk in a room, though. We’ve put together a list of ways to create the ideal home office.
Location and Logistics
Just like your work should be kept separate from home life, the space you choose should avoid the distractions of your household. Your office is not a place for the kids to come watch TV or play video games. Choose a spot in the house where people won’t be walking through to get from one room to another. If you have the type of job that requires conference calls or even in-person meetings, then privacy is required.
Design and Decor
Yes, it’s an office, but you can make it homey. Paint the walls a color that will keep you motivated. Maybe you prefer something bright and cheerful, or perhaps a more subdued, calming color will help you focus on tasks. Whatever fits your work mode personality, it doesn’t have to be boring.
When thinking about furniture, choose wisely. One great advantage to a home office is that the desk, chair, shelves, and other essentials are up to you, so eliminate any images of a generic office cubicle from your mind. Decide how furniture can meet your workflow needs, what can best fit the space you have, and don’t hesitate to go with beautiful pieces that reflect your tastes and complement the decor in the other rooms of your home.
The same goes for accessories. Dress up a bulletin board with fabric. If you have a window, put up pretty curtains. If the files on your shelves are an eyesore, replace worn or plain folders with something more decorative. Even the wastebasket can be an attractive part of the room if you find the right one!
Insight on Illumination
A great way to cut down on eye strain and avoid headaches is good lighting. Natural light is the best, but it’s okay to have multiple light sources that can help balance the brightness required for the work you do. A desk lamp is good for writing. Position the computer screen so that you don’t see glare from the window or overhead light.
Building the Best
You can ensure your home office is exactly what you want and need is to custom-build it. More often, home builders are helping families include designated work space into new construction designs. In some cases, it’s a room all its own instead of a guest bedroom, den, or even a large walk-in closet in the original floor plan. Others are making more efficient use of space that would otherwise have no specific purpose.
Ask your builder for suggestions and available options, which might include built-in desks and shelves in a nook you hadn’t realized could accommodate an office space. Maybe a skylight is the best way to let the sun into your office. Building new also gives you the chance to make sure you have the number of necessary electrical outlets for your technology needs. Remember, your builder is there to guide you in the process.
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