The spring of 2020 has put great emphasis on developing an efficient work flow from a home office. Historically, working from home has been to run your own business, occasionally telecommute to your employer’s office or handle family-oriented bill paying. Why is a professional-style office in your Madison WI area home so important now? You’re spending your “normal” work day sequestering at home. You’re told to “stay in place,” yet expected to “get your work done.” Here are some ideas for designing your work space and working with a professional remodeling team.
An office reflecting the design and décor of your home is a place you’ll be comfortable working in; a place you’re want to spend time in.
Home Office – Planning For Long-term Success
While blending your new office into the overall house plan is a wise move, top interior designers caution to avoid getting caught up in the style vs. efficiency debate. You have to balance productive working conditions with good looks. Find examples of office layouts in the many available sources – magazines, websites, etc. That is easy, it’s a hot topic. As you review your plans, consider:
- Location is critical – You’re likely to spend a lot of time in your new office so don’t underestimate the amount of space you need. Sticking a narrow desk in a closet off a seldom-used guest bedroom isn’t an ideal long-term solution. Consider your family’s daily activities, especially in light of the stay-at-home directives. You’ll need space with privacy, low sound levels and few distractions.
- Build around workflow – there are basic building blocks for any professional-quality office: a right-sized desk, appropriate storage (book cases, file cabinets depending upon your personal business needs), furnishings for hardware (a spot for computer printer, etc.) and efficient lighting. Whatever your daily challenges include, plan your new office around keeping them moving. That’s not to say you have to create a boring, uninviting cubicle – especially if your formal office décor has been a cubicle. Here’s a chance to create that “corner office” you’ve always wanted.
- A room with a view – if at all possible, find a space in your home with a prominent window. Natural light makes an ideal work environment and a view of the neighborhood provides a welcome release. When you give yourself a break from computer screen time or paperwork, a nice window is far better than a blank wall. If you don’t have a room with a window, or cannot add one, include art work, family photos or a wall map to break up the monotony.
Remodel For An Office At Home
When you add a permanent office to your home it’s your personal space. So, there is no need for “institutional beige” walls. Decorate with favorite colors. Bright colors are said to create energy. Colors like soft greens and light blues are said to be calming. Let your personality shine here.
The remodeling process for a permanent office at home often includes:
- Installing custom cabinetry
- Laminated countertop work area
- Custom, built-in desk or computer station
- Built-in book cases/shelving
- Upgrading electrical outlets to accommodate computers, monitors and other office equipment
- Installing cable/internet access
- Adding bulletin boards, white boards, large-screen TV for video conferences
- Typical remodeling tasks like installing drywall, painting and possibly new carpet – commercial-grade that stands up to chairs on wheels, etc.
A key to creating an efficient work space is organizing around your routine. While the room you have at home could be larger than you’re used to when working in an office cubicle, it isn’t likely to be “spacious.” Here are some ideas to consider:
- Use wall space wisely – hang shelves to store papers, books and folders and clear desk space
- Corral paper – there are stackers and filers. Some people need baskets or trays to keep papers under control while other want drawer space for folders. Small file cabinets are ideal “legs” for working countertops, printer stands, etc. Get creative with wooden, metal or plastic storage cubes.
- Orchestrate technology – today’s office cannot compete without computers, printers and related devices – Smart phones, tablets, etc. There are even a few FAX machines still in play. Making sure your equipment is within easy reach is important. Keeping cords and connections secure is easier with wireless access, but still a concern. Modems and routers are critical too. The rest of the family is likely to want access to the World Wide Web, too.
Make Your Home Office A Personal Space
One of the first steps to create a viable office in your home is to assess your Internet access capacity. Do you have the speed and power to allow all family members to use devices when they want to?
Many office workers are used to being in their space for six or seven hours five days a week. When you’re planning to create a new work space at home, bring in all the nice touches you don’t get in a corporate setting. Get personal.
Timing May Never Be Better For A Home Office
Psychologists suggest you create something in your new space that’s inspiring. Something that’s all yours. In an office building you’re often restricted to what you can and cannot have in your work space. Now, it’s your home, you can do what you want. Include framed art, special photos or a collection of memorabilia. There’s a well-known movie where a major player “thinks more clearly while walking around the room holding a baseball bat.” You can have the putting cup or dart board you’ve always wanted. Why not?
Whatever gets your creative process started and clears your head when you need it makes sense. No one advocates daydreaming, but a break for “just thinking” is essential now and then.
Just putting a desk in a space room or corner of the basement isn’t a solid solution to a work-from-home scenario. At least not for a long-term engagement. And, many people and companies are realizing a remote work force is as productive as one encased in cubicles. If your career lends itself to working from home, you have the discipline and space to make it happen, consider the stay at home order as a way to test the waters.
If you realize working remotely is an appealing option and your company expands its work from home policy permanently, give us a call at 608-825-4500, or email us. Let’s discuss all the options available for an office in your home. Sims Exteriors & Remodeling can review your needs and evaluate your space. With years of experience, we’re ready to create a productive, professionally-planned home office for your Madison WI home.