Working from home is attractive for many professionals as it offers all the benefits of true comfort and efficiency. However, if the office is too casual or not separated enough from the domestic environment, peak productivity might be compromised.
When considering your space, be aware that an office that is too laid back might blur the boundaries between work and leisure, and the best way to prevent this is by the physical design of the space. Start by considering the type of work you’ll be performing, as well as if clients or colleagues will be visiting so you can establish a basis for a home office design.
Let’s look at some key home office design areas to consider when contemplating your new work space.
Common Home Office Design Mistakes
Some telecommuters believe that a huge flat screen TV will make the work space look more professional. The truth is that an office TV can become a huge distractor, with the fulfilling background buzz capturing your attention more often than you’d like.
Then there is the issue of inadequate storage, which can cause production-killing clutter. This goes hand in hand with the lack of space for reference materials, as getting up to look up documents wastes precious time.
Finally, there’s the problem of slow and outdated equipment, often related to a viper’s nest of cords and wires under the desk.
While speed and efficiency are critical when working from home, sometimes you should ask yourself whether a large colour copier or printer is really necessary for a room that is already tight on space. Consider that a walk to a neighbourhood copy shop will make a great opportunity to get some fresh air.
A high-capacity Wi-Fi network, on the other hand, may well be a valuable addition, as it allows you to work on your laptop from your desk, your chair, or any other place, at both sitting and standing heights.
You may also find you need a separate phone line, to ensure every client or business associate gets their call through.
In an ideal scenario, your home office will admit as much natural light as possible, since daylight provides the most balanced source of healthy white light. You can augment the natural light coming from the window with a big mirror on the opposite wall.
If little or no daylighting is available, you should resort to a combination of general and task lighting, the latter being especially important for cloudy days or late nights.
For basement offices, consider daylight-replicating light sources that provide energy-efficient lightning in full spectrum.
Layout and Organization
Your desk surface will support your computer and other items you need close at hand. Since the desk will be the space you spend most of the time, it needs to be placed strategically.
Eliminating traditional designs and construction models, today’s experts in the field design office interiors that connect form with function, both professionally and aesthetically.
Considerations like whether you work from left to right or have a distinctive paper trail flow can help you organize your home office in a way that is productive but at the same time appealing and comfortable.
The Green Component
Although an office might seem environmentally-friendly when compared to an industrial operation, keep in mind that electronics can contain hazardous materials such as heavy metals, vinyls, and chemicals (such as those used in batteries). Make sure to keep computers, printers, and other equipment turned off when idle, or at least activate power-saving settings.
When furnishing the office, consider sustainable and earth-friendly materials like recycled glass for desktops and wood from sustainable forestry. Even a salvaged door can become an eclectic desktop surface.
Working Alongside Design
Once you finish building or outfitting your ideal home office, you need to extract maximum benefit from it. First of all, keep all the related work items in the office proper, so you can avoid wasting time looking for things.
This goes hand in hand with keeping the non-office areas in your home free of work-related items, and maintaining the healthy balance between the work and free time. Also, it makes sense to establish set hours for your work at home, as many telecommuters experience problems with separating their working hours from off-hours.
Through the Door
It’s important to realise from the very beginning that your home office should reflect your professionalism and your approach to work. As a home addition, it should provide you with a stress-free focus that comes from knowing that as soon as you step through that door, you’re entering the productivity zone.
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