As technology advances, so is the way we do business. The days of going into the office every morning, coffee breaks in the lunchroom, are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The reality is, for most companies, staff can work from home with tools like email, Google Hangouts, Skype and other online meeting tools. This is leading to more companies changing their office spaces – downsizing total square footage and the number of private offices. The benefit to this is that the company then doesn’t need a large office to still be productive, enabling them to save on operating cost like rent and equipment.
Having the option to work from home is appealing most employees, even if it’s only a few days a week. However, when you’re at home there can be a lot more real-life distractions than at the office – dirty dishes in the sink, laundry piling up, the temptation to put the TV on. On the reverse side, it can also be hard to turn work off at the end of the day. To be truly functional and productive in a home office, you do need a proper setup.
Step 1: Determine your Needs
In order to truly plan your office space, you need to understand your needs. What does this room need to accomplish…
- What kind of work space do you need? Does your work primarily involved the use of a laptop or a desktop or are you also creating things?
- Does your work require privacy, closed door conversations?
- What kind of storage do you need, if any?
- Will you have clients or colleagues visiting? If so, what kind of interaction will this be? Reviewing projects on a screen, samples…
Understanding how you work will help you setup your home office in a way that will help you work successfully.
Step 2: Find your Space
Picking the location for your home office is the biggest, most important, step. Every home is different, and every business has their own needs. While looking for your space within your home, consider the needs you outlined above.
Finding the space may not be easy. If you have an extra bedroom or predetermined office, your hunt just got easier. However, you still want to make sure this room meets your needs. Maybe another room would be better suited. Don’t be afraid to do a swap if it makes sense to do so.
If you don’t already have a room, you’ll have to get creative. Are there any nooks in your home that could be transformed? A dead-end at the end of a hallway, an unusable area in the kitchen, the void space under the stairs or even a storage closet. Follow me on this…
Step 3: Design your Office
If your needs for your office are a hard surface to work from, place to plug in a laptop or desktop and minimum storage you really don’t need a whole room. Converting an unused space, wall or even a closet may be the perfect solution. Add a desk or floating tabletop, a power source, some storage and you are set.
Pick colours that are pleasing to you. This is your space and where you could be spending a lot of time. It needs to be a space that is calming and appealing to you. If picking colours aren’t your forte, check out Colour Moods for some ideas.
Really pay attention to the needs you outlined in the above and make sure you are choosing supplies (filing, storage, computers, screens, boards, furniture etc) that meet your needs. Most importantly, make sure you have a desk and chair that allow for proper posture to avoid body strain.
Whether you have a room in your house or more creative area in your home, think about creating a way to close up shop when work is done for the day. If you are converting a closet, think about using a barndoor style door instead of a typical hinged or sliding door. A barndoor style door will feel less invasive and less like you are working in a closet. Whatever that may look like, having a physical door will help you separate work life from home life and keep the chaos of work hidden from family and friends.
Step 4: Build your Office
Pretty simple right? You have determined your needs, found your location, designed it and now it’s time to pull it all together. Whenever possible, I would suggest finishing the build of your office before you start using it. Living in a construction zone is hard enough but working through one is another level. For your own sanity, complete the build and setup of your new office space before you move in and start using it.
Given the option to work from home absolutely has its benefits. I mean, the commute alone… But if you aren’t setup to work efficiently, for the needs of your job, or focus on the task at hand, working from home will be difficult for you and your family.
If you have any questions on setting up a home office or help choosing that unique space, send us an email at [email protected].