Working from home continues to gain popularity: 4.3 million employees work at least part-time from their homes, a number that doesn’t include the self-employed (currently numbering about 42.6 million). Creating the perfect home office is essential to making it work. Here are some tips from the home design pros at Sandlin Homes.
Put the right “space” in workspace.
Start with choosing an area that will allow you to separate business and pleasure. You might think a corner of the living room might work, but it’s not conducive to productivity. Between distractions and the need to pick up and move your “work stuff”, any area without a door just won’t cut it as a home office.
That doesn’t mean you can’t share your space with another function, like a guest room, but keep a few things in mind if you do. You’re limiting your ability to focus on your work when others need to access this space. In addition, if you’re considering home office deductions, any space that is not 100% dedicated to your employment is not allowable.
You should also choose a workspace that provides natural light. A windowless space will not feed your energy, an important consideration in choosing the right home office space. Vitamin D streams in with the sunlight and is a proven mood booster. Artificial light can’t deliver the same benefit.
Designers suggest that the minimum workspace is 5’ x 7’—the keyword here being “minimum”. This size allows for a workstation, which can be a computer desk or maybe a repurposed armoire. If you plan to have clients visit your home office, increase the workspace. A flex room presents a solid solution for a home office. Many floor plans incorporate a flex room near the front entry, a good location for keeping your work area away from the main living space and for welcoming business visitors.
Go with the flow.
Leave the commercial type of office furnishing and decor in the commercial space. A home office should be styled to blend with the look and feel of your home. Make it comfortable, cozy, and a direct reflection of you.
Choose colors that spark creativity, inspiration, and productivity. Surround yourself with accents that are meaningful—a favorite quotation and photographs that trigger happy memories, for example. But don’t overdo it. Too much of a good thing is, well, too much. Avoid clutter by carefully choosing your home office decor with the philosophy that less is more. And every so often, swap out some items to refresh your space.
Climb the walls.
Particularly in a small area, going vertical is essential to creating the perfect home office. Use your walls for organization: open shelves, cubbies and decorative cabinets. You can get as creative as you want with your shelving: rustic, industrial, contemporary, traditional, and whimsical, depending on your taste.
Organize your tech.
A home office relies on technology—computer, printer, mobile devices, and wireless connections. That means you’ll have cords. Lots of them. Avoid the clutter of wires and power cords. If you don’t already have one, install a wireless router. Then get a wireless printer to cut the cords even more. Use a cord tamer to gather up the cords. Attach loose cords under your desk or workspace to keep them out of sight (and off the floor).
Have a seat—a really great seat!
Unless your work keeps you moving around, you’ll spend a lot of time in your chair. Make it a great one. The right office chair should be comfortable and ergonomically designed to support your body in a healthy way.
For sitting at a desk, choose an office chair that allows your feet to be flat on the floor when seated. The seat should be wide and deep enough to comfortably accommodate you. Lumbar support is another key feature of a good chair for your home office. Look for furniture that supports the curve of your lower back. If you can’t find it, add a lumbar pillow. The backrest of your chair should be adjustable and provide sufficient height to also support your neck. Finally, armrests are good for some people, but an annoyance to others. You decide!
Do you do most of your work with a laptop instead of sitting at a desk? You have more flexibility with your chair choice in this situation. Maybe an overstuffed armchair is the way to go, possibly with an ottoman. Be sure that the same criteria for a desk chair is used when choosing this home office seating.
Don’t skimp here! Get a quality chair. When you’re not comfortable in your chair, you can’t work productively.
Are you looking for a home that better fits your work-life balance? In the Fort Worth metro area, Sandlin Homes has communities of single-family homes. Browse our virtual tours and broad collection of floor plans to build and our move-in ready homes. Then contact us to get the job done right!