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How to Create the Ideal, Functional Home Office

Over recent months our lives have changed dramatically. In order to follow social distancing guidance, millions of people started working from home. Many faced the challenge of adapting their private home space into an office. The pandemic has prompted many households to invest significant amounts of money into a new home office.

When creating an office, your options depend on the circumstances of your existing house. If you don’t have a spare room that can be easily re-arranged into an office space, then an extension or renovation of a garden room or shed may be an option. This helps you separate your private space from the working area, which not only is beneficial for your work-life balance; but it can also promote increased productivity at work. It sounds good, but how to achieve it?

Location is key

Home offices come in many different shapes and sizes. It can be in a separate room, a quiet corner or even in your kitchen. The key to selecting the right place for your home office, is to think about where and when you do your work. If you are a busy mom, a kitchen desk area may be the ideal place for your central command post. However, if you’re a professional, you’ll want to select a space that’s away from the daily flow and distractions of your household.

Allow enough space

Make sure you allow enough space to work comfortably. Ask yourself if you will be able to move easily from side to side, stand up and sit back from your desk. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s easy to underestimate how much space you need. To avoid this, use the same rule of thumb professional designers use to lay out a workstation – allow at least 150cm in width and 210cm in depth.

Selecting a desk and chair

Choosing the right desk and chair for your home office is essential. Select a desk that is wide enough for your computer and anything else necessary to do your work. This could be an in-tray, reference materials, or space to take notes. Ideally, your desk should 120cm wide minimum.

However, if all you ever need is a laptop you can get away with less. Most people find 150cm wide or larger to be the most comfortable. While an adjustable-height desk is ideal it’s not always practical in a home office setting. Choose a desk that is not too high – 70-75cm high is an acceptable range. Invest in a good quality chair that is comfortable and adjustable if possible. Your neck and back will thank you.

Storage and Shelving

Storage is often overlooked when designing a home office and can really affect your productivity. Make sure to include enough shelving, filing cabinets or cupboards for your storage needs. Consider your workflow – what comes in, where will it stay while being worked on, and where does it go when complete? Place your inbox on or next to your desk. Keep your current work within arm’s reach. Locate your filing system nearby. Don’t forget reference materials – if you use manuals, catalogues or reference books, locate a shelf near your desk to keep them close at hand.

A Place to Meet

Will you have clients or customers visit during the day? If you have room to have a small meeting area, that is ideal. If not, plan for some additional seating in your home office design to allow for sit-down meetings. This can be as simple as 1-2 comfortable chairs, which are easy to pull up to your desk.

Natural Light and View

Good lighting is critical for any home office space. Choose a location with some natural light and a view if possible. Position your desk to face the windows or in a location where your computer screen will not be affected. Translucent window shades or blinds can help reduce any glare without darkening your room. You can enhance natural light by including a mirror and by keeping most of your walls a light colour.

An overhead ceiling light will provide good general lighting. A pair of open-top floor lamps placed in the corners of your room will do the same. Include a desk light to provide shadow-free task lighting and extra light in the evenings. Add some full spectrum daylight bulbs in your light fixtures an extra boost.

No view? Position your desk to face the door instead or place a pleasing piece of artwork or an inspirational pin board above your desk. It will give your eyes a rest and something to focus on when you look up from your work.

Tame Your Technology

Nothing makes a home office look or feel more cluttered than wires hanging from your desk and running everywhere. Take control of your technology with these simple tips:

  • Add a wireless router – you’ll reduce your wires by half
  • Invest in both a wireless printer and a wireless mouse
  • Add a grommet in your desktop to lead any wires from your desk down below
  • Attach any visible wires to the underside of your desk or down along a desk leg
  • Gather loose wires along the floor together with a simple cord tamer.

Accessorize and Personalize

Don’t sacrifice on style! The great part about working from home is that YOU can decide how you want your home office to look and feel. Match your home office with the design and style of your home. Think about what inspires you. It could be a favourite piece of artwork, a collection of objects, or an invigorating paint colour. Include these personal touches when you plan your home office design. It will brighten up your day and make you feel… at home.

Make a Floor Plan

Now you know the essentials, get started on your home office design with a floor plan. A floor plan is an excellent tool to organize your thoughts and to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. You can create a floor plan easily online. There is plenty of easy-to-use online home design software that you can use to plan your home office design.



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