Not surprisingly, COVID-19 has resulted in an increase in our clients’ interest in prioritizing a home office into their new build or considering renovations to add one to their home. Whether you’ve allocated a space in your bedroom for your laptop, or you’re taking over the family’s dining table, most are realizing that if working from home is the way of the future, a longer-term solution is worth investing in. Below we’ve outlined a few key considerations that will ensure that you are able to build the perfect home office.
Think About How You Use Your Office
Firstly – allocate a set space to your home office – working from bed in your pyjamas is only good if your job requires you to review the latest Netflix series. You’ll want to consider the location and the amount of space you allocated to your office within your home.
How do you use your space? If you’re taking several conference calls a day, you’ll want to consider acoustics and sound isolation so that you’re not being interrupted by – and interrupting – others working or attending online classes from home. Perhaps a basement office is suitable in this situation. If you’re a creative, like us, you’ll probably need space for a couple of monitors and a large enough surface to spread out your supplies/drawings/notebooks/creative clutter.
Lastly, if you meet with clients frequently, you’ll want to consider a space in your home that is easily accessible – right off the front entrance, for instance, or in the basement if you have a walk-out condition/secondary entrance.
Prioritize Light And Air
By now, most of us are aware of the positive impact that natural light has both on our mental health and our productivity. Eye strain and headaches from prolonged use of screens can often be offset with natural daylight. Ensure that the space you’ve allocated to your home office has plenty of windows. Better yet, if those windows are operable you’ll benefit from the ability to switch up the air in the space frequently. A stuffy room is going to make you feel groggy and certainly hinder your productivity. If the only space left available for an office is in your basement, select ambient lighting that mimics daylight (look for 4000-5000K light bulbs) and ensure that the room there is adequate temperature control and air ventilation.
Surround Yourself With Things That Inspire You
While my own office doesn’t feature a fireplace and artwork a-la Kourtney Kardashian, I still strive to create a space that both calms and inspires me. The first step in this is organization. Utilizing built-in millwork or furniture pieces to store supplies, notebooks, material samples, etc. ensures that I’m not buried in a disorganized pile of stuff by the end of the week.
Once the organization is established, then layer your space up with things that motivate and inspire.
For some, it’s art. For others, it’s inspirational quotes (I often made fun of my brother, who had a “shoot for the moon…” banner in his office when he first started his business… hey, to each their own!)
Invest In Good Furniture – Your Back Will Thank You!
When we were working out of our FrankFranco office, each staff member had a standing desk. It’s certainly something we’ve missed since moving into our home offices.
Standing desks are beneficial in reducing back pain, improving posture, and generally boosting energy and productivity. Even IKEA offers standing desk kits, providing an affordable alternative to a traditional desk. As critical as the right desk is a proper chair. If you’ve ever spent an extended amount of time working on a dining chair, you have the back pain to prove it. A favourite that we always recommend to clients both for the office environments and their home offices, is the Herman Miller Aeron chair (if you’re not ready to splurge, look for refurbished models.)
While many of us miss the social and collaborative aspect of working out of a traditional office, the perks of working from home are certainly appreciated too. In order to ensure that your work-from-home situation allows you to maintain a healthy boundary between work and home, dedicate adequate space to your office the way you would any other functional space in your home, and make it a space that inspires creativity and productivity.
To learn more about designing a custom build home, read our latest post on “Designing For Indoor/Outdoor Living Space“.