Pandemic brings influx of home offices.
With the coronavirus pandemic, many of us face the challenge of working from home—and often for the first time. Some of us are camped out on beds or couches while others are perched at dining room tables, and still others trying to shore up a space or nook wherever possible.
Many of these spur-of-the-moment or makeshift setups are resulting in frustration because of undefined boundaries between work life, and, well, life life.
Our sales team has recently been fielding numerous inquiries for home offices. In Memphis, home builders told us that floor plans are making a dramatic shift from open and airy to more closed off and segmented because people are preparing to work at home and also planning to do so post-pandemic.
But creating a home office for remote or freelance work isn’t necessarily an easy thing when you have family members and space to consider.
So what is a good solution in order to create a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, productive work space? How can you effectively combine home and work spaces?
We believe the answer is a well-defined space that allows separation (needed for all!), practical for accomplishing work, yet with a design focused on aesthetics.
Here are six tips on how to create an attractive and productive home office space.
#1 Pick an optimal location.
Location, location, location. Try to pick a spot that allows for distinct separation and privacy from other things going on in the home.
Four walls and a door of course are ideal, but if more than one person is working from home, you might have to get creative. Nooks and stair landings can work well with the right furniture placement. For nooks, consider facing the desk to the wall to establish a sense of privacy. In open spaces, try room dividers or curtains.
#2 Give yourself enough room and treat yourself and your clients to decent furniture.
Make sure you have enough space to work comfortably. Think about how much room you’ll need to sit and stand from your desk and move around. You don’t want to feel squished. Look into ergonomic chairs and standing desks, if you don’t own them. If you have room, add a comfy chair or two for your clients or guests.
Make sure to accommodate your computer and other office requirements like printers and supplies. Provided you have room, a sixty-inch-wide desk or larger can work well and be fairly comfortable in a small space. Be cognizant of your monitor height and distance to avoid eye or back strain. A good rule of thumb is 20 inches away while viewing at a downward angle of 15 degrees.
#3 Let there be light.
Bright, good lighting is critical for any home office space. If possible, you can position your desk facing a window, which will cut down on screen glare. You can also enhance natural light by adding a mirror and keeping walls a nice, light color.
This will be important if you have to conduct or attend video conferences. But you will have the opportunity to choose from the latest Zoom meeting backgrounds (‘90s sitcom lovers will appreciate the Seinfeld apartment background).
And don’t forget your task lights. You can get small lamps that are powered by USB cords, minimizing a potential cord debacle, one of this blogger’s pet peeves.
#4 Zip ties are a great way to tidy up your cords and wires.
Keeping your power cords in check will help maintain a clean and clutter-free work space. A smattering of cords zigzagging on the floor and in your area can be unattractive. When possible, use wireless devices for your router, printer, and mouse. You can hide the necessary cords along desk edges and keep wires organized on the floor with a tamer or zip ties.
#5 Plan for decent storage.
Don’t forget about storage. Lack of essential storage can have a real negative effect on productivity. Consider your workflow and determine how many drawers, shelves, and filing solutions you will need. If you don’t have room for a bookshelf, use a small cart. A diverse assortment of trays can also be used to stay organized.
#6 You can make your space your own aesthetic.
Finally, don’t sacrifice style and personal inspiration. One of the benefits of working from home is that you get to decide how you want your office space to look and feel. As mentioned above, place some artwork in your area for inspiration. If you can paint, paint your walls in an appropriate color. If you personalize your space, you will have happy and productive work days. Live plants and flowers are a great option. Surround yourself with items and art that inspire you.
Consider the creativity of Thomas Jefferson’s home office, called a cabinet, at Monticello.
Jefferson’s cabinet was pimped out with a red couch and some of the usual items: globe, telescope, plenty of books and busts, but he also had something he loved—a polygraph machine, cutting edge for the time, that allowed him to make copies of his hefty correspondences. He was a fan of red oak flooring and the parquet pattern though he may have had something more utilitarian in his cabinet. If you are doing a partial remodel to accommodate work space, consider the inspirational warmth of our Vintage Loft Collection.
Discover our flooring options.
No matter your aesthetic, the home office needs to be a space where you can stay focused and keep distractions at bay—a space that is comfortable and inspiring, designed to maximize workflow and happiness. These spaces can range from a designated room in the home, a converted area, or a small nook.
Following these tips for your home office will create a modern-day cabinet that perhaps even Thomas Jefferson would envy. To discover our variety of flooring options, visit our collections’ page and order your samples today.