With technology today, more and more people work from home at least some of the time, and many people office from their home exclusively. There are many upsides to working from home: a better work-life balance, no commute, and the opportunity to design an office you love and a space you will be productive in. If you work at home primarily or even if you simply need an in-home office for catching up outside the office, when building a custom home, you have the ability to create an environment that you will thrive in. When working with a custom home builder like Colby Construction, they can help guide you to create the perfect working environment. The following are some suggestions to help in the design process.
CREATING A HOME OFFICE IN YOUR CUSTOM HOME
CREATE A PINTEREST BOARD, BUT BE REALISTIC
Pinterest is great for browsing for inspiration, but keep in mind that offices in design magazines and on Pinterest may not really have a set up to be practical for a 50-hour work week. While a set of beautiful, upholstered chairs look amazing, it won’t support your back, neck and have the proper ergonomics for you. Delicate, vintage desks don’t accommodate your project files, nor give you the space necessary for desktop computers, files and papers. Considering the color of your walls must also be thought through, and while the image on Pinterest with bright colors might look appealing, you could get distracted or even agitated looking at a whole wall of fire engine red paint right above your computer.
Too much environmental stimulation can be distracting. It’s a better idea to use pops of color in an area rug or with accessories like throw pillows, and framed art can add a splash of color as well. A good home office needs to be functional first and beautiful second.
MORE ABOUT ERGONOMICS
It’s a hot topic, as people who work at a desk and on a computer all day try to counter the inevitable wear and tear that slowly happens to your body performing these tasks. You should be sitting in a naturally comfortable position, feet flat on the floor, shoulders relaxed and at your side. The top of your computer screen should be at eye level or a little below. As you scan down the screen, your eye lids will naturally close a bit and moisten, which reduces eye fatigue. Position your keyboard so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Or, consider a standing workstation. There are a variety of desks that you can alter between sitting and standing throughout the day.
LET THE LIGHT SHINE IN
It’s natural to tend to want to put a desk against or facing a wall, as it fits the mold with corporate America and the cubicles we are so accustomed to. In reality, if you move your desk close to the windows, or place it parallel to the panes, it will help your frame of mind. This ideal set-up will give you the happiness benefits of natural light and an opportunity to turn away from your computer every few minutes to take in the scenery.
Even with great natural light, you still need additional lighting for darker hours and overcast days. Most overhead house lighting is inadequate for work. Add in a desk lamp for direct lighting and some side tables with lamps for soft, warm ambiance lighting.
STORAGE AND FILING SYSTEMS
It can be hard to find a filing cabinet that is an attractive piece of furniture and functional as well, but you do need a place to put papers you use frequently. You want to stay organized and not have papers lying all around your space. Other ways to stay organized is to consider wall storage, like magazine type racks, or library-style display shelves. Get creative on how to be organized and still look stylish. Built in bookcases are a wonderful option to plan during the building process.
HAVE A COZY CORNER
While your desk is for active work, a great home office has a nice comfy chair for curling up to read, rest or take a break at. Including an ottoman for your feet and a table for your coffee and a great lamp is a perfect addition. Add a luxurious throw and a pillow and you’ll want to take thinking breaks. A comfort zone is a must in the ideal custom home office.
Bring the outdoors in with some plants and greenery. Plants make people happier and bring life into your workspace. Succulents are a perfect pop of color and require very little care, so get a few to place throughout your office.
GIVE IT A PERSONAL TOUCH
Continually rotate and change out photo frames of your family, pets, favorite vacation places or scenery. Include mementos, your child’s artwork, cards, treasures from a trip. These items can inspire you and relax you during stressful work moments. Rotate and replace them often so that you are continually stimulated by the things that bring you joy.
HIDE THE UNATTRACTIVE
Of course, with all the technology today comes some eye sores: cords, power strips, printers and more. Built in furniture that is thought out during the planning and building stage can create ways to have these items and plugins hidden away.
Keep the items and essentials you need close to you. It can be very distracting during a workday if you continually have to leave your office and venture out into the rest of your home. From office supplies –pens, scissors, stapler, and stamps – to a stocked small fridge or coffee maker if you like to enjoy a few beverages during the day. Remember, you do need breaks, so leave your space for lunch and short breaks at other times during the day. Even if you’ve created a fabulous, custom home office, you still need to step away from it!