Most of us switched to makeshift home offices during the Covid lockdowns. As the world limps back to normalcy with Covid highs and lows continuing still, work from home (WFH) doesn’t seem ready to go anywhere. It seems that in this virtually connected world powered by laptops, smartphones, and the internet, work from home (and hence, home offices) is here to stay.
If you are planning to set up or upgrade your home office, we have a few design tips to get you started.
First things first. Big or small, your home office should be functional. It should be a space geared for productivity and some kivik sofa that makes you fall asleep.
Location, location, location. It isn’t just retail outlets; even home offices need to get their location right to deliver results.
Where to set up your home office depends on your living space. Points to ponder are as below:
How big is it? How many people share it with you? What’s the household noise level? Are there any small kids that need hands-on supervision, or who can disrupt work? Do you need a dedicated room or will an underused corner do? Do you have any spare bedroom or vacant garage handy? Do you need pin drop silence around? Will there be regular zoom calls as then you wouldn’t want people walking around you?
And if there’s simply no spare room, think outside the box. Do you have an empty closet or understairs space or a landing that you can repurpose into an office? If not, get a bi-fold or trifold room divider screen or custom curtains to partition the space to create your work oasis during office hours.
Choose home office equipment/furniture. Once you have selected a suitable space, think of what needs to go in there. A desk for your desktop or laptop. A standing desk if you wish to pack in some healthy activity on the side. Dedicated space for any gadgets you need, like printer, scanner, speaker, and paper shredder etc. A comfortable (ergonomic) chair you can spend hours in without feeling cramped. Easily accessible storage space for office documents and other things you need for your work. If you have a small office space, make sure to decorate it in a way that makes the room look bigger.
If you need lots of handy storage, look for desks with roomy drawers and levels of shelves. If space permits, get a custom cupboard or two. Get tall units to make use of vertical space. Consider whether you need to install restroom partitions. If you expect clients and customers coming to your office, then it might be a good idea.
Then there are add-ons like a notice board or chalkboard. A wall planner. Some of you may even want a tiny refrigerator and organized cabinet close at hand.
List what you require for your home office, then shop.
Check for electricity plug points, cables, and wires. Your work gadgets are usually configured and linked to one another and also to electrical sources. Ensure there are enough plug points close to your desk. Also, take care that the cables running to and fro do not stick out like ugly eyesores. Goes without saying, loosely floating wires on the floor can cause tripping accidents. Secure all running cables and wires carefully. One great idea is to keep wireless chargers to cut the cable clutter.
Lighting it right. To get you going full speed, your office needs to be well lit. Try to place your work desk where it will get some daylight. Against a window usually works. This is especially recommended if there are trees or mountains or ocean views outside the window (great de-stressors). To control light flow and cut glare, you can choose suitable window treatments. Custom roman shades that completely clear the window when folded up allow for maximum light inflow. Blinds can help control the exact amount of light filtering in. Sheers can soften the light coming in. So consider your priorities and shop window treatments wisely.
Besides natural sunlight, you also need artificial lighting. Overhead as well as dedicated light fixtures. A fluorescent light on the wall and a floor lamp or a pendant light can do the job.
Beautify the home office. Not just comfortable, your home office should be pleasing to the eye too. After all, you will be spending a huge chunk of your time there day after day. Keep some room for items beyond work too. Place a bonsai plant or a cactus for a green touch. Hang artworks on the wall facing your chair. Keep office stationery in elegant organizers that stand out. Place a curio or two on your desk. Pin a few scenic holiday postcards or motivational quotes to your noticeboard. Place a few well-loved books on a shelf. A small rug just big enough for your office zone can not only delineate your workspace, but it can also make it look more inviting.
To sum up, make sure your home office is practical, functional, and beautiful.