One of the best parts of the new trend toward remote work and virtual office spaces is that you can work from home. While it’s tempting to curl up on your sofa all cozy in your bathrobe, that’s not very conducive to productivity. It’s also a little off-putting if you have clients or employees dropping by.
You need a home office that’s functional, aesthetically pleasing, and budget-friendly without being cheap.
Considerations for Creating Your Ideal Office Space
Your home office makeover should begin with a thorough evaluation of your space and space requirements. You’ve gotta have a plan. Before you begin, ask yourself these questions. The answers will determine how you configure your space.
* What type of work will you do there?
* Will clients, employees, or collaborators be visiting your office?
* What are your storage needs? If you’re trying to carve out a little productivity niche in a smaller home, consider some space-saving ideas to optimize your available area.
* What type of materials will be stored or used? For example, will you need ventilation?
* Is conference or video calling part of your job?
* Will it be necessary to muffle noise from equipment or machinery?
* What time of day will most of your work be accomplished?
* Do you have a spare room, attic, basement, or garage that you can convert or will you have to make do with existing space?
* Do you have enough outlets and capacity in your home for additional electronics or will you have to upgrade?
Depending on the type of work you do, interior lighting is also a consideration. A therapist will want lighting that’s soothing for patients, while an artist or photographer may need additional or specialty lighting.
How does your decorating or renovation budget look?
Fortunately, many components of home office conversion and use are tax deductible, but you should check with your accountant to see how this plays into your particular situation.
Read on to see some innovative designs and ideas for creating an office space you’ll never want to leave.
Just the Basics
If you’re a writer or engaged in eCommerce, you may be able to get away with a simple desk and productivity hub that includes a phone line, computer, and maybe a three-in-one printer/copier/fax machine. For this type of home office, comfort and privacy are the biggest concerns.
Make sure that your desk has ample room for all of your equipment and any paperwork, and get a chair that’s ergonomically designed. If you’re working within a limited space, you can use a section of your living room as an office and segment it with shelving or a room divider.
Creativity helps in any endeavor. But when your job is being creative, you need an atmosphere that’s conducive. Think light and airy with few distractions, prints that inspire you, and a balanced color scheme. Decorate with personal objects that have meaning.
In addition to a desk, you may need space for a large work table, task lighting, and additional storage for materials. If you want to stick to basics, all you really need is a flat surface, room for a laptop and monitor, a desk lamp, and a comfortable chair.
Not all of us home workers work alone. If you have the team and the space, the sky’s the limit for your design and layout. Your biggest consideration here is having enough room for collaboration and efficiency.
Depending on your family dynamic, home layout, and space availability, you can make an entire floor or room of your home into a great office space, with plenty of room for partners, creative teams, and clients. Attics or basements are ideal for conversion into a collaboration mecca.
Green and Clean
Home offices for use by therapists and consultants must take into account the atmosphere and the comfort of themselves and their clients. Office designs that are soothing, uncluttered, and clean are ideal for working one-on-one with others.
In this case, meeting space is more important than creating a work surface or room for electronics. The desk can be placed against the wall in one section, with a living room type setting in the middle of the space.
Consider adding plants to promote an aura of health and well-being, calming colors, such as pastels or beige with colored accents, and a comfortable waiting area with a sofa or cushy chairs.
Small Spaces That Work
You may be launching a startup from home in a limited space with a small budget. You can create a niche to work from in almost any room with a little imagination. Additional storage or shelf space is as easy as installing some overhead cabinets that can be purchased at the local big box store.
The Work Horse
When your home office is also a workshop, your needs are a little more demanding. You’ll need a desk and home computer setup, but you’ll also need space for work benches, equipment, and storage for materials. The amount of space required depends on if you’re working on small electronics or vehicles.
The bigger and more involved the repairs. the more you’ll want to separate your office space from your work area. This may require converting a garage or building a separate structure on your property.
Protecting Your Home Office Investment
No matter what type of industry you’re in or service you provide, technology is going to be involved in some way. At the very least, you probably have a website and some sort of telecommunications network to power everything.
You can make sure that your home office network is secure by taking these common security best practices to heart.
Make sure to segment your network to provide you with a separate line for business and personal use. Remember that not all ISPs will allow you to split your lines without incurring larger monthly bills. Make sure to do your research before making any contractual purchases. Sites like Internet Advisor help pick ISPs based on requirements. If you have any IoT devices, place them on a separate network as well. This includes everything from your home security setup to Alexa.
These days, most internet services will allow you to configure multiple lines on your router, which will protect you in case one of your lines is compromised and keep the breach from infecting your business network and devices. Having a separate guest line is a nice perk if you have clients who meet you at your home office.
You can further protect your network by installing a VPN on your router and each device that’s connected to your network. This will give you more privacy and prevent cyber attacks when used in conjunction with antivirus software. Make sure that your firmware is kept up to date and proper rules are in place to prevent an attack.
There’s no place like home. However when it’s also your work space, you should learn how to keep things simple and separate. No matter the type of work you do or the amount of available space, there’s a home office design that will help you make the most of it.
Our goal is to provide you with ideas. What you do with them is limited by nothing more than your imagination.