Whether you are in the market for a new home and looking for something with a floor plan with lots of room separation and a home office or you are simply desiring to make your current space more functional, below are some space planning considerations to keep in mind. If you are still in the middle of a PCS, then you might consider a home office as a necessary item on your wish list.
In Defense of the Traditional Home Office
Does your home have a dedicated and designated office space? If not, is there an extra, unused bedroom or dining room that can be closed off for privacy, peace and quiet, and focused workflow? If not, there are many ways to work around this in an existing home.
Small closets, a corner in a bedroom, an airconditioned attic space, an oversized pantry, or even the laundry room may offer a place to set up a desk, a computer, or other office equipment you may need. Get creative with your solutions. And if you don’t have an indoor space, as long as the wi-fi is strong, make yourself a temporary workspace on your porch or patio.
Multiple Workspace Areas
Maybe you and your spouse are both spending more hours working remotely from home these days or perhaps your children will be spending part of their school year doing distanced digital learning. What do you do if you need multiple areas for computer work and a quiet environment without turning your living room into a row of cubicles?
Consider setting up a master schedule for the entire family: one where specific needs and priorities are taken into account. Does Mom work early hours at the main computer before everyone else is up and Dad takes the afternoon? Could the main work area be set up with temporary tables or chairs in the bonus room or around the dining table? When considering a schedule, be sure to place it in a highly visible area and communicate the expectations to everyone to avoid frustration and overbooking the spaces needed for professional and academic work.
Speaking of frustration, nothing squelches productivity faster than having to hunt down earbuds, HDMI cables, or cords for uncharged tablets or laptops. While you are in the process of creating a home office, take time to set up a docking station so that all of your family’s devices are ready for work when they are. During a time when you have more folks in the house working, consider upping your internet speed, investing in power strips and surge protectors, and downloading apps to help you stay focused and time block like Trello, Be Focused, and Google Calendar.
In all of the hullabaloo of reorienting things like jobs and school inside the home, don’t forget to maintain some “off” hours for rest and relaxation. Set quiet hours for kids to rest or work independently while parents make phone calls or jump on Zoom meetings. Make sure there is a set “quitting time” each day as well. Everyone will need tangible ways to shift gears away from productivity to pleasure. Meals around the table, watching a family show, or taking a family bike ride will provide a welcome reprieve. We are all asking a lot of our houses right now. Be sure to remember first and foremost that your home is an oasis!
Have a Home to Sell?
Don’t forget that staging a space in your home before professional photographs are taken can have a big payoff down the road. Even if you haven’t personally used a home office, take an afternoon and set up a small table or desk with a computer, a lamp, a chair, and some other decor items to let the picture show your potential buyers that your home is “office” friendly.