I am currently in my home office, on my laptop wearing yoga pants and my “finest” sweatshirt which I grabbed at Marshall’s the other day with the goal of getting some “nicer” sweats. I updated my work-from-home wardrobe because I now work from home 40% of my work week. With work-life balance a major priority for much of the professional world, working from home has sky-rocketed in popularity. According to the New York Times, around 43% of employees are working from home for some portion of the week so it’s important to consider the home-work environment.
Since I design corporate spaces for a living, I thought I’d share some advice on setting up your home office.
Really think it through. Don’t let the office “just be”. Create an office that works for you. Whether you live in a tiny apartment or a 4,000-square foot house, take ownership of your office and call the shots. Consider the main requirements you need to function and do your job well. Ask yourself if there is something at your office that works well for you and try to translate it to the home. For example, I love my set up in the office – it’s small, but everything has a place and is right at my fingertips. When I created my home office, I laid it out as close to my regular office as possible using furniture that I already had.
“A place for everything, everything in its place.” – Benjamin Franklin
My head may blow off if I read another article about workplace wellness, so I’m sorry to even mention it. But, we can’t avoid it. You must consider health and well-being while designing your home office. Design a home office that encourages movement throughout the day. If a height adjustable desk is not an option, try to incorporate work surfaces at both seated and standing height. Also, access to natural light is key so choose a spot that has plenty of daylight. I would rather work at a tiny table in a room filled with light than in an office that is closed off and dark. When in doubt, add a plant. I recommend a succulent (supposedly difficult to kill, although I managed to do so).
Keep it simple.
Like any designer, I’m a big fan of purging excess stuff. Don’t keep files you don’t need. Don’t hang onto paper clips if you don’t use paper clips. Only keep at home what you really need and don’t overthink it. Keep your space minimal and you will be happier. For me personally, so much of what I need is in my laptop, so my physical space really can be small. If I need to unfold large drawings, I move out to my kitchen table and enjoy the change of scenery.
“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Find furniture that works for you, but mostly buy a good chair.
Please ignore the task chairs shown in most photos included in this article! Sure, they look cool, but you really need a chair that is ergonomically sound since you sit in it for eight hours or so a day. I’m a big fan of cutting costs. Save money on your desk – or pretty much anything else in your home office – but if you can, invest in a good chair. It will last you forever and your body will thank you for it. I know I’m biased, but the Haworth Very chair is beautiful enough for Crate and Barrel, yet functional enough to be used in thousands of corporations around the world.
Make it cool.
If you’re not cool, well then, you’re out of luck. Kidding! Go to Target or a store you love and find what speaks to you. This is your chance to have fun with designing your home work space since unlike at the office, you can really express your true design flair. Remember to keep it simple, but a few well-chosen accessories that articulate your style can really jazz up your space and make it your own. It’s important to surround yourself with what you love.
“Self-expression is the dominant necessity of human nature.” – Dale Carnegie
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About the Author:
Leah is a project designer at Environments at Work. Her creativity and technical skills allow Leah to handle complex projects and exceed her clients’ expectations. She is constantly striving to be better at everything she does, including modern calligraphy, mixing cocktails, and being a mom. Leah lives in the wonderful city of Quincy with her husband and two young toddlers, Maylee and Frank. She is an animal lover and her ideal day includes snuggling with her dog Bob (and a long trip to Target).