This year, home offices have become more important than ever before. Good design will create a space you want to be in and can make it versatile for changing needs over time.  Now that we are over the end of the year stretch of holiday celebrations, you will want to close out noise to work more efficiently to finish your workday and step into your evening.

Select the Location

How much space is needed for work zones and accessible storage? Will you meet clients or do peer collaboration and want privacy and direct access so they don’t need to go through the home? How close or far removed from the daily flow of the household activities?  Some clients like to repurpose an unused bedroom or formal dining room. Perhaps you can reconfigure the laundry to stackable washer and dryer in a closet and use that space. Some have enclosed a part of the patio or have done an addition. Others with older homes with a 2-car garage that is too small for 2 cars, have captured part of one for an office.

Plan the Layout

Ideally your computer station would be next to a window for natural light to not be shining on the screen, and to offer a visual break that one can look at a distance to relax the eyes. Consider the space opposite the computer that would be seen in Zoom calls. Having a wall with attractive artwork will have you always ready to create a good impression. If space is needed on that wall for storage, get enclosed cabinetry, with some open shelves for depth and décor. Lighting for video calls is also important. Just as in a bathroom, you do not want only overhead lighting, you will want diffused lighting on the side. The next factor would be planning to be able to work standing periodically. There are adjustable standing desks that are placed on a desktop. If you have a laptop and a wireless keypad, you could have shelves installed that are the right height for you.

There is an art to organization so a desk can remain clutter free with needed materials easily accessed from drawers. A three-ring binder can hold forms frequently used and can be put away at the end of the day. The key is to have enough filing drawers easily accessible to meet your needs. Do not crowd your desk with a printer, plan it in a space that is out of when seated at your desk, like behind you in a corner. If you go back and forth from computer work to paperwork, you may want to consider an L shaped desk, or two parallel desks (one against the wall and one freestanding desk in the room). For in person meetings, a two-sided desk would be needed. If you have others that will be doing work, plan for a workstation of their own spot to minimize distraction.

Do you want a wall of counter sized cabinetry to meet filing storage needs that includes a computer station, and an open slimline desk for work? How much shelving do you need for books and décor? A place for everything and everything in its place lessens stress. Do you need a tea/coffee bar and mini refrigerator? Perhaps TV for presentations? Plan to design the room to fit into the rest of your home, so it is warm and inviting.

Finally, plan for your selections that the chair, location and height of the monitor, the keyboard and mouse ergonomically facilitate good posture for the back, legs, eyes, and wrist. Keep your wires tamed and wireless router at least 8 feet from where you sit. Add plants that purify the air. For those who are business owners, independent contractors, or network marketers who work from home, your office expenses may even be eligible for a tax write off.

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