Do you dream of eliminating the daily commute? Perhaps you just want a quiet space to finish up your projects on a Sunday morning? Regardless of why you may want a home office, any working professional looking to get things done outside the traditional 9-5 office environment deserves a space that will help you increase productivity and focus because as we know it isn’t always easier to work in your own home. In that spirit, we thought we would offer our advice on what to ask yourself when planning your perfect home office.
The most important question to start with is; what are you going to be using your home office for?
Or more specifically:
- Is it just a touch-down space or are you going to be spending full workdays here?
- Does your work include both computer and paper-based tasks?
- Will you have conference/web calls with colleagues or clients from this space?
Along those lines, considerations to take into account could be:
→ Seating: The more time you plan on spending in your home office the more important your chair is; that means while it can be tempting to just pull over your kitchen chair, don’t! As we have outlined in previous blogs on office seating (like this one) it’s in your best interest to invest in a quality task chair, especially if you are spending several hours working in your home office at a time.
→ Work surface: If you are engaging in more paper related work you may want more flat surface area, however, if your work is computer/call orientated the surface of your workspace may not be as important and you can save a little space and money by getting a simpler desk. Another thing to consider is if your work surface should be height adjustable. If you plan on using your home office in sessions of several hours or more at a time, you will likely find a noticeable difference if at least one part of your setup can alternate between sitting and standing heights.
→ Lighting: Home lighting is often softer and less direct than the lighting in an office environment; effective task lighting is crucial if you plan on doing any quantity of paper-based work.
→ Technology: The technology of a home office is often left until last, which is a huge missed opportunity to create a productive and space efficient work area. Will you have a desktop computer or will you be working on a laptop? If a laptop is your choice, you may want to consider a standalone monitor rather than just your laptop screen; we recommend using a monitor and monitor arm if you plan on sitting at your workstation for an extended period of time. Have you considered cable management? Cable management is also going to be important in keeping your space organized (which you can read more about here) and if you are working from a laptop using a plug and play laptop dock with built-in cable management can be a lifesaver, allowing you to reduce the number of cords and wires that need to be plugged in every time you sit down to work from half a dozen or more to often just one. Will you need to be able to print and scan? If you’re going to be working with paper documents you will likely want to be able to print and scan without needing to leave the (home) office and may want to consider a small desktop multifunction printer.
→ Ergonomics: We have already touched on many ergonomic aspects of a great workstation, such as your choice of chair, work surface adjustability and lighting. Keyboard trays are another feature to consider, even when using a laptop. Not only are keyboard trays cheap, but they immediately offer a noticeable improvement in comfort.
→ Aesthetics/Atmosphere: There are many distractions and other things to do at home and if you don’t like your home office, you won’t use it. Personalize the space in ways you may not be able to at your actual office, this way not only will you be able to efficiently get work done from home, you’ll actually feel like you’re at home. Choose a room with plenty of natural light for your home office to create a more inviting atmosphere. Put up posters and pictures on the walls. Fill the room with plants or blast your favourite music.
There is no “one size fits all” solution, after all, it’s your house and your work. This is part of the reason why home offices can be so beneficial for people as they can be fully tailored to your personal needs, wants and workstyles, although it may take some trial and error before you determine what setup works best for you. Keep in mind the considerations we listed in this post as a framework to help improve your overall productivity and comfortability while making use of your home office space but don’t be afraid to try something unusual or unique. We have several ‘go to’ office layouts that we often recommend and use as idea starters but ultimately your home office is just that… yours. Make your space, your space, and unleash your most productive self!
Ps. If you have any tips for a great home office, or want to shape pictures of your awesome workspace send them our way!