If you conduct any work from home, your home office needs a design that facilitates concentration and productivity. Clutter and poor design can leave you feeling distracted and increase the level of stress you experience on a daily basis.
To design a home office for remote work or the paperwork that comes with daily life, consider two main elements: the furniture you place in the room and how you set up your space. Home office design is about creating a space that works for you. Consider these tips to get the most out of your home office design every day:
1. Pay attention to lighting. Humans work best in atmospheres that have access to natural light. Light affects mood, concentration, and our ability to focus on a task at hand. Situate your home office in a room that receives natural light and supplement that light with some natural, non-fluorescent, lamps or overhead lighting to keep the space warm and inviting. Your space should include enough light to keep you from becoming drowsy, but avoid harsh sources of light that can cause headaches over time.
2. Minimize distractions. While natural light is important, a window that overlooks the street may distract some people from their work. Consider adding gauzy curtains to windows or windowed doors that let light in but separate the space from potential distractions.
Every individual is different. As you discover elements of distraction, reduce them with a design tweak. For example, if your home phone constantly rings but you use a separate line for work, consider lowering the ring volume during certain activities.
3. Understand your workflow. A home office should cater to the way you use the space. If you keep paper files, set up the office in a way that supports easy filing. Some people use a home office for desk work as well as hands-on projects. Choose desks, tables, and cabinets that enable you to move from one task to another seamlessly.
4. Develop a system for organization. For many, organization is the bane of home office use. Instead of accepting that you can work in organized chaos, install organization solutions that make staying neat easier. Consider:
– Using baskets on open shelving to easily store bulky supplies
– Using file organizers to keep paperwork out of the way before
you file or scan it into the computer
– Boxing up items that you don’t regularly use in the office
5. Invest in a few quality pieces of furniture. At home or the office, your working space should feature ergonomic solutions that protect your physical health. Invest in a standing desk to protect your health or choose a chair and desk combination that enables you to sit comfortably as you work. Depending on the amount of time you spend in a home office, the right desk setup may make a significant difference in how you use the space.
6. Choose paint colors carefully. In a home office, you can choose paint colors that speak to you. Take time to discover shades that invigorate and help you concentrate. For some people, the answer may be neutral, calming colors. For others, bright and bold tones create inspiration. Paint sample patches before deciding on a color based on a small swatch.
7. Find solutions that work with your technology. Cords can create chaos in an otherwise organized environment. Use cord covers to disguise cord groupings, and ensure that all furniture is located near an easily accessible power source. If you work with several mobile devices, consider investing in a cordless charger that will take up less space on your desk. Keep all your devices charged and nearby for use.
8. Take advantage of vertical space. If your office is short on horizontal space, take your organization and design up a notch. Use floating shelves, cabinetry, bookcases, and shelving units to maximize your space. Think outside the box when it comes to vertical solutions. Reinforced floating shelves can double as an extra workspace if needed, and some solutions are often deep enough to comfortably house a printer, scanner, or other device.
9. Inspire yourself to do more. Home offices need to remain inviting to encourage use. Incorporate a few fun design elements that help you get into the groove. For some home office users, this means hanging a prized piece of art on the wall. For others, it may mean adding fresh flowers on the desk in the mornings. Remember to use negative space in your office, too. Frame important design aspects with empty space to draw the eye and create focus in the room. Balance is key. Too much negative space can make a room feel stark, while too little can create a feeling of clutter and claustrophobia.
Designing a home office space is an important part of creating an inviting working environment. Simply working at a table in the “junk room” isn’t a healthy way to approach working from home, paying bills, or processing the family’s paperwork. Take some time to create a space that works for your needs and supports your physical health.
If having white noise in the background helps you focus, use it to your advantage. If you need a minimalist space to stay on track, turn your home office into a clutter-free zone. Do what works for you to create balance and maintain productivity in your home office, and don’t forget to have a little fun when you pick out your furniture and décor.