As our company has shifted to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve learned a few lessons about setting up our own home offices that we’d love to share with you.
Location is important. You will spend many hours here! Select a location that increases your productivity, while not interfering with the spaces where you live the rest of your life. It’s important to have a home workspace that allows you to establish some boundaries between work and home.
Make it functional. Design your home office to maximize your space and productivity. You can organize work surfaces both horizontally and vertically by using bookcases, floating shelves and attractive containers. Declutter your space so that you aren’t visually distracted when you’re working. Think through what you really need to work productively and cut the rest. Whether you can dedicate an entire room or just a small niche, you can still make the most of the space you have.
Incorporate your personality. What makes you happy? Use style and color in your home office design and incorporate elements that make you smile when you enter your workspace. Smile-makers may include pictures of family, meaningful artwork, natural light elements, living plants and greenery or interesting collections.
Maximize the efficiency. If you’re working at home with another person, consider a partner desk to maximize the space. Think outside the box. Instead of using two traditional desks, a large dining table can be transformed into a partner desk with containers housing the items typically stuffed into drawers. Incorporate home office spaces into existing guest rooms or flex spaces. A home office doesn’t have to look like a formal desk in the middle of the room with a set of bookcases. It can be a table pulled up to a daybed in a sunroom. It can incorporate a guest bedroom dresser as a filing cabinet. There are many creative, modern ways to set up a nontraditional home office.
While the focus on home offices has waned over the past several years, we now expect to see an influx of builders incorporating them back into their designs and allowing them to take a more prominent role in the home. We also expect sellers to focus on demonstrating how guest rooms and other flexible spaces can be converted into pleasing, functional home office spaces. As buyers have come home to work during COVID-19, they are once again recognizing the importance of a good home working environment.
Interior designers Donna Mathis and Lisa Giles formed Haven Design Works in 2013 with an eye to creating a firm with the systems and organizational processes of a much larger company and the passionate attention to detail of a small boutique firm. Since the pandemic began, Donna sets up her home office in her kitchen on Monday morning and packs it up again on Friday night. Lisa’s young children take working from home very seriously by bringing all their toys and arts and crafts into the living room each morning, where they set up their home offices for the day.