How to Design a Home Office to Maximize Productivity
Office Ideas to Inspire a Productive and Pleasant Environment
Technologies such as more powerful laptop computers and cloud computing have allowed many companies to offer employees the convenience of working from home at least on occasion. This doesn't mean they want you to return a few work related phone calls while doing your laundry. Employees with a work-from-home benefit are expected to perform with the same level of productivity as though they were in the office. One key to maximizing your productivity involves optimizing the physical space where you will perform the work.
Many homeowners seek guidance on how to design a home office that will help improve performance.
To ensure that you remain productive while working at home, you need to pay attention to your work environment and set up a distraction free area to function as a home office. Your home office setup can be a large, separate room, or simply a small, designated quiet corner. The key is that you want a pleasant and comfortable space that is separate from your everyday living space. It should be flexible enough to accommodate changing needs and provide a lot of storage so that you can keep needed office equipment and other materials at your fingertips.
Key Tenets When Designing a Home Office:
1. Separate your work space from your living area:
Eliminating distractions is one of the most critical elements to maximizing performance. If you live in a buzy household with other family members, you should try to find a separate room with a door to house your office. For many homeowners, this space will be a spare bedroom. Bedrooms can make ideal home offices. The entire sleeping section of the home is often vacant during the daytime hours, offering quiet and distraction free solitude. If you need to keep a bed for the occasional guest, consider purchasing a Murphy Bed for this room. Murphy beds fold up into a wall cabinet when not in use, allowing full use of the floor space for other pursuits. The lack of a visible bed helps to maintain a professional feel to the space, which can be important to your ability to focus and concentrate.
If you can't dedicate an entire room to your home office, try to dedicate a closet or cabinet and a quiet corner. The reality is that many people simply don't have the space to allocate an entire room to single duty as a home office. A cabinet or closet for storage of office equipment and supplies, in conjunction with a comfortable desk in a dedicated corner of a room that is quiet and somewhat private during the day, can serve as an effective home office. This type of set up works especially well if there is no one else home during the day.
2. Make it comfortable:
Invest in a high quality adjustable chair and a desk or table that offers at least 48 inches of leg room. It can be tempting to pull out that old, unused, stiff chair from the basement and call it your new office chair, or just grab a dining room chair, but it will no one is productive when their back hurts or they are otherwise cramped and uncomfortable. Ergonomics are just as important to effective concentration as eliminating distractions.
3. Face your desk towards a window:
Rules on desk placement are different for the home office than they are in a corporate environment. At work, your desk is probably either facing the door to your office, or a coner of your cubicle. If you are lucky enough to have a window, it is probably behind your desk so that you sit with your back to it, or perpendicular to the desk, so that it aligns with your shoulder. At home, place your desk so that you can look out the window. There are numerous psychological benefits to seeing trees outside your window, from better health, faster recovery from illness, to greater productivity while working from home. Additionally, the window will offer a place to rest your eyes, as well as brightening your mood.
4. Include plenty of storage:
Your ability to stay organized is directly related to having sufficient storage, Office equipment, office supplies, reference materials and personal memorabilia should all have a place to go in your new home office. If you have to keep getting up to retrieve materials needed to complete your work, it will take much longer than if everything is at your fingertips.
5. Make it flexible:
The best home offices are flexible enough to adapt to changing situations and needs. If you don't have space for a dedicated office space in your home, consider a multifunctional piece of furniture that can do double duty, providing the office space during the hours that you need it, but transforming into a different space later on.
The combination of environmental concerns, new technologies, cost savings, and added convenience for workers is bringing an increase in the number of people who work from home. Key to maintaining productivity is a home work space that harbors an environment conducive to getting work done. The best home office designs offer separation from the main living area, comfortable and ergonomic furniture, a window and or good lighting, plenty of storage and flexibility in use. If you stick to these guidelines, you should have a home office that is both pleasant as well as productive.