COVID-19 has changed the world we live in - and the world we work in. All of a sudden, many people are living both their “work life” and their “life life” from home. Starting to go crazy without a home office? You’re not alone! Luckily, there are a few interior design tricks that will help you create a designated work space in the comfort of your home.
If you have a guest bedroom, den, or formal dining room, then creating an office may be as simple as moving some furniture around. If you don’t have a “spare” room to work with, then you’ll have to get creative. Remember, your home office needs to be a functional space for the work you’re doing and a peaceful area where you can focus your mind.
Here are the most important things to consider when designing a work-specific area where you can get things done, and then clock out to “go” home:
Location. Location. Location.
The first thing to think about when deciding where you should set up your office is functionality.
Consider these questions before settling on a location for your work space:
Is there reliable wifi connection in this area? (You probably don’t have an on-site IT team in your new home office.)
Do I have access to enough outlets for all of my work appliances? (An ideal work space would have its own power source, rather than sharing with other appliances in your home.)
Will there be enough light throughout the day? (A big window where you can get fresh air when you need it would be ideal, but a desk lamp will do.)
Is this location remote enough to be free to distractions? (The living room where your kids play video games isn’t your best bet.)
Answering “no” to any of these questions might be a deal-breaker, unless you can think of a creative solution to the problem. Move the router, find an extension cord, add a desk lamp, or whip out your sound-cancelling headphones!
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find an expansive place to set up for the work day. Small, quirky spaces, like corners, nooks, under staircases, closets, and entryways, can all be converted into beautiful office spaces. This may require a little bit of renovation skill - or maybe just some peel and stick wallpaper. If you can find a great corner desk that’s an awesome way to make use of an empty corner space!
(Images from left: blog.scoutandnimble.com, nextluxury.com)
Okay, you’ve chosen the spot for your new work space. Now, you need to set it up. Let’s start with your desk. Of course, you can repurpose your dining room table. But then what will you do at dinner time? A hallway console can also double as a desk - just pull up a chair! The idea behind this article is to help you create a work area that doesn’t detract from your “life area.”
Not interested in sacrificing one of the tables from your living space? I’m right there with you. The Murphy Desk is a great solution when the space you have needs to do double duty. Here is a beautiful Murphy Desk that you can make yourself!
If you don’t have the time or patience to create your own, you can also purchase Murphy Desks or floating desks that only require a simple install.
Trust me on this: The one thing that will take your new home office from beautiful to beastly is clutter. You won’t be happy in your work sanctuary if it’s overrun by stray chargers, scattered paperwork, and rogue post-it notes.
So get creative! Do some research online to find affordable charging stations, file organizers, stacking drawers, etc. The important thing is that you have what you need readily available and well-organized - but, in my opinion, it should look great, too! Here’s a great source for some ways to organize electronics.
Make the most of it.
No matter where or how you set up your workspace, you’ll need to pinpoint what helps you feel as great as possible while working efficiently.
Set timers so that you’re balancing work and breaks. Being at home means that your schedule can become more flexible. On the other hand, it’s easy to get stuck in work mode. Don’t miss the opportunity to embrace the perks of working at home.
Use music or headphones to cancel out any latent noise. Neighbors, kids, roommates, the dishwasher - all of them can break your concentration. To get the most out of your workday, you may need to tune out your environment while working.
Replace commute time with something for yourself. Now that you aren’t driving to the office, you can use that 15-60 minutes to practice some self care that you couldn’t before. Yoga, reading, catching up on a show, family breakfast, walking the dog - whatever brings you a little bit of comfort is a great way to start your day feeling happy and focused.
Make time for socializing. Now that you’re working from home, you may miss having the social environment of coworkers and break room conversation. Call people and catch up, schedule virtual coffee meetings, or take a lunch break with your family or roommate.
Make to-do lists. Writing down what you expect of yourself is a great way to get things accomplished and stay organized. It’s also really satisfying to mark out completed items and it helps you visualize your productivity.
Hopefully this has helped you define not only your space, but your at-home work day.
Want some more detailed advice from me on your home work space?
Contact us today for a virtual design consultation!