This is an unprecedented time. With the global crisis of Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are following social distancing and trying our best to stay inside our homes. The gyms, bars and restaurants are closed and businesses are arranging their best for their staff to work from home. This brings our focus on designing an efficient home office that promotes maximum productivity. Let us look at some important things to keep in mind to make a home office comfortable, functional and productive.
The main reason we have an office space to begin with is to put aside all the household distractions and focus on our work. So, begin by dedicating a space for the purpose of working. Depending on the size of your house, you can convert a room into a home office or use a portion/entire wall of a room as office space. The main idea is to separate yourself from other areas. Try your best to make a distinction of work and non-work related things to use in the home office. This helps you relax when you are in the non-work related areas of your home.
The work devices also dictates how much of a space you will need to use as work-space. Depending on the industry, your work equipment may vary. Like laptop, desktop with multiple screens, books, files and so on. Weigh in your options to understand what is really necessary as a part of your work routine instead of using the space for something that you don’t use on a daily basis. Invest in efficient, multi-tasking, fast equipment so that you can reduce the clutter.
A fair amount of space must be planned for storage. Considering storage as an afterthought or using inadequate storage components leads to accumulation of materials and in turn cluttering of the space. If you do not have a built in shelves on the wall, consider a free standing bookcase and/or a desk with adequate storage facilities.
Also, keep your work area organised to use the space efficiently. You can use many of simple decor ideas like trays, pencil cups,card holders and so on to make the work flow easier. With many creative, colorful solutions available from stores like Ikea, Target and Amazon, organizing can be made fun!
Most home office jobs involves long period of sitting. With that, comes in the matter of your comfort, health and safety – ergonomics. Starting with the chair, consider the ergonomics by keeping in mind elements like lumbar support, armrests and seat height that are right for your body. Each components of a chair must be adjustable.
Next comes the desk. One of the most recommended lifestyle change is to reduce the time you spend sitting. The new popular phrase related to this is – “sitting is the new smoking,” Do consider standing desk for your home office especially if your work involves long duration of sitting. Or you can use height adjustable converters to use on any existing desks.
Other devices that you can plan for better ergonomics are – footrest while sitting, movable monitor arm, anti-fatigue mat, and keyboards with padded wrists.
With all the technological advances, we are spending more and more time in front of screens. Glaring bright screens are straining to our eyes and may lead to harmful side effects. Lighting plays an important role in overall light distribution and thus your health.
Natural light is the best source of lighting as it is the most balanced source of white light available. Use as much as natural light available in the working space. Using the light source from the side of a screen is most recommended. Use a supplemental desk light in addition to the daylight for more comfort. If no daylight is available, use light sources with neutral cool color temperature which is neither too warm or cool. Avoid light sources directly above, behind or in front of computer screens. This link gives you a few ideas on how to create better home office lighting.
With all the work devices comes the burden of handling those never-ending wires! Just these wires can takes up all the visual space and make it look messy. There are many cable kits, ties and other solutions available to manage those unruly wires. For example:
- Cable channels – to use it under the desk and make a path for the wires.
- Cable Sleeves – to hide thicker wires and provide a clean look.
- Cable ties, adhesive clips, and various kinds of wire holders so that they don’t get tangled up.
- Smartphone holders or headphone holders to have an organized desk.
It is now a common knowledge that the color of a room can affect your mood and energy levels. Though the trend in maximalism and rich colors is increasing, using heavy pattern or rich colors in office space might not be a great idea as it affects your productivity. Here is a great article which talks about different effects of colors on mood and also which color might work best depending on the industry you work in.
In general, neutral colors and light colors gives a minimal and clean appearance. You can personalize it by using accent wall of one of your favorite colors/wallpapers. You can use bright, popping colors like yellow if you are in a creative field. Using wood and/or brown color brings in warmth and induces masculinity. Colors with grey-tone gives a contemporary look.
Just because it is a work space, it does not necessarily need to be a boring utilitarian space. Keeping in mind all the above design recommendations, you can make the space reflect your personality by adding in your own decor and design features. Here are some ideas to make it your own:
- A nook – Many times we overlook small spaces, for example, corner spaces, small width walls, space under the stairs, unused counter space near the kitchen. These spaces can be used to express one of your many unique ideas. Especially, if you are lacking space to dedicate as a home office.
- Wall Decor – What better way to personalize than using your office wall to showcase what you cherish? Wall decor can be personal; which may be wall art, gallery wall, collection of life’s moments & people or even using bold inspiration quote to give you motivation when you walk-in. This article gives you few ideas on how to decorate an office wall.
- Fireplace – Having a fireplace in the home office not only draws the focal point, but also it brings in an vibes of comfort making the space your own sanctuary. If you have option for books storage, the area can act as both a home office and a library. Here is a gallery of few gorgeous home offices with fireplace.
- Wallpaper – While using wall colors can bring in a mellow uplifting energy, using wallpapers can transform the space and separate the area from the rest of the house. Wallpapers can reflect the character of the room and also help you focus – by making the work space distinct from other areas.
- Pops of Color – If you are not be comfortable using colors on wall, you can introduce colors in decor accessories and furniture and still keep it interesting.
In these hard times, I hope you and your loved ones are safe. Stay indoors, stay healthy and if you are not working from home, find something to keep your mind occupied yet calm. You can use this time to relax, meditate, find new hobbies or indulge in something you love to do. Always stay positive. With lots of love,