The current situation is making many professionals and companies reassess the need for office space, and its financial and health-related aspects amid the crisis. Joan Brothers, owner of Manhattan Boutique Real Estate, says she is hearing people from all different businesses from architectural to banking to insurance say that they and their staff are more productive working from home. She is also seeing people enjoy not commuting and being able to use that time to spend more time with family (and eventually friends).
Standard offices are good; they allow people to brainstorm together, communicate ideas, and share files easily. However, we’re being witness to the fact that our business priorities can quickly change under the circumstances, and our workspaces need to adjust. Is it possible to create a perfect home office on short notice? We say yes!
To design a perfect home office, establish what you need
As all non-essential workers were ordered to work from home, they needed to figure out where exactly to work from and how. Not every residence, especially in NY, has enough space to accommodate a home office. Moreover, not everyone lives alone and can afford the necessary peace. But these obstacles are not insurmountable. To design a perfect home office, first, you need to determine what makes your perfect office.
Making yourself productive is the ultimate priority when you consider your office space. According to Joan Brothers of MBRE “We find all of our clients have been able to segway into remote working and some really enjoy it. It has pushed us all to adapt to new technologies for the better”. If you have enough working experience, you already know which conditions make you deliver your best. Follow that internal guide and locate the spot in your residence that suits you best. Maybe you don’t mind your family’s foot traffic or other non-work-related sounds; if that is the case, your options became much more varied.
Ideally, you would have a separate room and remain out of sight while you’re busy. If that is not the option, you would need to find a place that will allow you to focus on your work and provide (both you and your family) a necessary degree of privacy during your meetings. Whether you find that office space under the stairs, in your guest room, in the attic, mezzanine level in your open floor apartment, or any other unused space out of everybody’s way, the next step is to make it a productive environment.
Making the best of your home office
Statistically, job-related reasons are the most common cause for relocation in the U.S. If you are one of those who considered relocating for work before the pandemic, you are among those who need to wait until you can move to another state stress-free. Working from home has become the new normal. It is affecting the lives and plans of professionals across the globe, not just the States. The priority to all work-at-home professionals is to separate work and private duties at the very beginning and allot a precise amount of time to each. The next key step is to make their home office as comfortable and as healthy as possible, considering available space and furniture.
- Desk. Normally, your professional needs will determine the size of the office desk. Most work-at-home professionals do not require much desktop space; programmers, writers, designers, or customer support agents, for example. However, consultants, professors, and tutors require space for additional work materials. Ideally, your desk should have room for your laptop or personal computer, its accessories, a task lamp, and some maneuvering space for important papers. To avoid clutter on the limited desk surface, use drawers, or shelves next to and above your desk, all quickly accessible.
- Chair. An ergonomic chair helps you sit in a balanced, healthy position. But what if you don’t have such a chair at home or can’t acquire one for the time being? Note that the proper chair, the one you will spend a good part of your day working from, needs to provide support to your lower back and to fit your body type and size. Ideally, its height should be adjustable, so your feet can rest on the floor.
- Lighting. Proper lighting is important for both health and professional reasons. If you can, allow as much natural light to your home office space. A perfect spot for your home office would be close to a window with adjustable blinds. Note that adequate lighting in your workspace positively affects mood and productivity. If your job requires working late hours or you do not have access to natural light, task lighting is a great asset. Experiment with the adjustable desk or floor lamps at your disposal to create a pleasant working atmosphere without glare, but with sufficient light directed at your work. Also, don’t forget to bring fresh air into your working space as often as possible.
- Storage. Should you need to clear some space for your home office, consider renting short-term storage with a moving company such as com. As soon as the pandemic is contained and your home office has served its purpose, you can get your seasonal or rarely used items back home. This is also the easiest and most efficient way to prevent clutter.
- Accessories. Unless you can dedicate an unused room to your home office space, you would need to improvise. Fitting all the necessary work-related devices into your limited home office can prove to be a challenge. However, wireless devices will save the day. Just make sure your home Wi-Fi can support all these devices. If privacy is a concern, consider acquiring a room divider or a folding screen. These foldable panels are easy to assemble and are both practical and decorative. They can continue to serve their purpose even after you disassemble your home office.
While most people might not consider interior design important when it comes to the home office, it is what often makes the difference. A perfect home office space doesn’t have to be big, but it must be free of clutter. It should have ample light, and yet not be too bright. Home office furniture should fit the purpose, not the decor. But even though the practical side comes first, we should not forget why home offices make professionals happier. The option of personalizing your workspace and adding colors and accessories can help with reducing stress and boosting your productivity.