For most of us, this year our home office designs have seen some dramatic changes. Most of us were sent to work from home because of the pandemic – but how much work can you get done if you’ve just put a laptop at the kitchen table? You need a dedicated workspace if you’re going to get anything done.
Why Having A Proper Home Office Matters
Creating a dedicated workspace is about more than just having an aesthetic Zoom background – although that’s important too! Your home office design can really affect the way that you work and how good you feel throughout the working day. You need a separate space where you can switch off and focus fully on the task at hand. If you’re living with other people, whether that’s friends, a partner, or your whole family, it can get hectic when everyone is at home at the same time.
Depending on the kind of work you do, you might need a quiet zone to take important phone calls, a space where you can set up a second monitor to work on, or any number of specific requirements that you would usually get from going into an office. Of course, not everyone has the space or the budget to create a full-on home office within their home, but there are some tips and tricks that everyone can use to make the most of what’s available to them.
If anything’s become clear over the past year, it’s that remote working, even after the pandemic, is likely here to say. Many employers are seeing the cost-saving and flexibility benefits of encouraging their team members to work from home. If you’ve still been getting by with a basic workstation that’s not really suiting your needs, now is the time to do yourself and your job a favor and invest in a proper set-up.
Read on for home office design tips on how to create a practical and aesthetic workspace, chosen to suit any budget and any size home.
Home Office Design Tips
Whether you’re tight on a budget, tight on space, or need to soundproof an area away from the kids, there is always a smart solution out there to solve your home office problem.
Find The Right Zone
Of course, when you moved into your home, you probably weren’t thinking about leaving an extra room available should you ever need to work from home. Choosing the right space in your home to create a home office is a vital first step.
Avoid any rooms, like the kitchen or family room, that is likely to have people walking in and out of them. If you have a guest bedroom or a rarely-used den, that’s the perfect spot to set up your new home office design.
If there’s no dedicated room available, you can create space for yourself using furniture in clever ways. Psychologically, it’s important that your workspace feels separated from the rest of your living space in order for you to be productive.
Try using large pieces of furniture, like a sofa or a table, to section off part of a room. Tuck a desk into the corner, and you’ve got your own little working nook. You can even use a screen to add to this level of separation, as well as blocking off the rest of your home from view when you jump on a video call.
Space-Saving Tips For Your Home Office Design
Once your home becomes both your living and workspace, it might start to feel a little crowded. Making the most of any dead space around your home is a great way to have a lot going on, without it feeling too busy.
Unused, dead space is most often found in hallways, under the stairs, or even in lofts or garages. Be critical about how you’re storing your stuff now: Can you make the most of a hallway with some narrow shelves? Could your storage go higher with some ceiling-level shelving in the garage? Now is the time to maximize all the unused space around your home, to free up space for you to work.
For your workspace itself, if you’re low on space, go for a minimalistic design. Ladder desks are a great space saver, with enough room for a laptop at seating height and then shelves up above for notebooks, stationery, and other essentials.
If you need a larger desk, make the most of the space underneath it. Under-desk drawers are a great way to store papers, documents, and other work items out of sight, but still within close reach while you’re working.
The Perfect Zoom Background
The pandemic took video calls to a whole new level. Although everyone knows that we’re all at home, that doesn’t mean you want everyone to see what’s going on behind you all the time, especially if you’re working in a communal space.
If you can, set yourself up with a neutral background behind you like a plain wall or a bookcase. You want people to be focused on you and what you’re saying, not whatever is going on behind you. People are nosey by nature, so keep anything you don’t want people to see off camera!
If you can’t find the right angle, then you can also use a screen to block off the view. You can find room separators with fun patterns on them, or simply white or wooden ones for a more neutral look. That way, whatever is going on behind the screen is completely invisible to your Zoom colleagues.
Perfect Lighting For Your Home Office Design
Of course, the other important component to successful video calls is getting the perfect lighting. Try not to have your back to a window, or even be too close to a window. As the light changes throughout the day, your lighting will change with it. Being too backlit means no one will be able to see your face, only a black silhouette. If you’re facing the window, you might end up getting blinded by sunlight in the middle of the day.
The best way to make sure you have perfect lighting at all times is to pick a naturally-lit, but not too bright space, and then brighten it up with a lamp. That way, you can choose how much or how little light you need, depending on the situation. Not to mention, it makes it extra cozy!
Soundproof Your Space
If you’ve got young children running around your home, you’ll likely be needing some way to soundproof your workspace from the crashes and bangs of homeschooling. Sometimes, even a closed door doesn’t do the trick, probably because it’s either too thin or leaves too much space around the edges. Consider investing in a sturdy and custom-made door, to make sure it blocks out as much sound as possible.
When working in a separate room, you can also buy soundproofing pads to go on the walls for a good price. They might not look the prettiest, but if you place them strategically on any walls that border your kids’ bedrooms or the family room, then you’ll block out the majority of the noise.
Otherwise, sound-canceling headphones are also every parent’s favorite piece of home office kit. Not only can you block out the sounds around your home, but most headphones also have an in-built microphone, so anyone you’re on a call with is less likely to hear external noises as well.
Add A Little Joy
Most of these tips so far have been focused on practicalities, but if you’re going to work well, you also need to feel good in your workspace. Add something to your home office design that brings you joy, even if it’s a tiny cactus in a colorful pot, or a photo of your family pinned up on the wall.
Working from home brings its own joys and challenges, so it’s important to make your workspace feel like your own, rather than just a corner of your home where you have to work. If you’re creative, add a doodle pad to let your mind wander every now and then. If you love to listen to music, get yourself a good-quality speaker to listen to throughout the day.
Whatever will bring you joy throughout your working day, make sure to also include that in your plans. After all, all work and no play is no fun for anyone!
These tips should help you to create a practical and aesthetic workplace of your dreams in no time. After a trying year to say the least, it’s time you gave yourself a treat in the form of a dedicated workspace where you can really focus and get stuff done.
You’ll find that having a specific zone to work from doesn’t just help your mood while working, but you’ll be more able to enjoy your down time as well. If you work where you relax, your brain starts to confuse the two. Do yourself a favor and start making your home office design dreams a reality today.
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