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How To: Create The Ultimate Home Office | Style & Function

By | LORI WILSON | roomforinspo.com

Remote work, or working outside of a traditional setting, has given businesses and individuals all over the world some outstanding results over the past few years. With impressive improvements in productivity from those working at home, along with reducing both stress & cost for workers & employers alike. This means that ensuring you create the ultimate office space in your home, that not only looks good but also fits all of your practical needs, is essential. 

There are many reasons why you might want or need to work from home, and each of these reasons comes with very different requirements. Whether you are looking for an occasional use or an every day use office for example. The one thing that is the same throughout, is that you will certainly need a space that fits your own practical & style needs.

Why working from home can be beneficial

Attitudes towards working from home have definitely improved over the years. With technology becoming more and more advanced, industries that primarily use web-based systems now have practically no need for their employees to work in the same building any more. Throughout years of study there have been many proven reasons as to why working from home or remotely can be beneficial for all parties involved.  

“Telecommuting, one of many forms of work-life flexibility, should no longer be viewed as a nice-to-have, optional perk mostly used by working moms. These common stereotypes don’t match reality—allowing employees to work remotely is a core business strategy today…We need to de-parent, de-gender and de-age the perception of a flexible worker”  – Cali Williams Yost, CEO and Founder of Flex

Cost

There are many costs to consider for an employee or business owner working from home. Immediate set up costs of your home office, as well as on-going or running costs are both equally as important.

Set up costs

Depending on the level of home office setup you require, the costs will vary. But not to worry, if you are on a tight budget there are so many options out there for more affordable home office setups. We would just recommend spending a bit more if you plan to be using your new office on a daily basis. Remember that often with comfort comes cost. 

Ongoing costs

Of course, like running any business, or maintaining any part of your home, there will always be ongoing costs that you will need to consider. According to TECLA it has been said that remote workers save around $7000 a year on average and who wouldn’t like the sound of that?

You can save on

  • Fuel/Travel Cost & Time
  • No need for Unpaid/Sick leave
  • Child Care
  • Clothing
  • Meals

Taking Control

The American Psychological Association did a study showing that employees who have control over their own work can reduce their own stress levels significantly. This leads to a better attitude to ‘outside of work’ activities & has proven to result in healthier bodies and happier minds. As well as having control over the work itself, taking the opportunity to organize your own work schedule also allows for a more organized life, ensuring more time for activities such as exercise and leisure. 

“The option to work from home when needed, or to try a different lifestyle without having to change jobs, is a win for everyone.”  – Scott Berken, Author of “The Year Without Pants”

Age Is Nothing But A Number

Young workers like Generation Z & Millenials are commonly seeking a flexible work schedule and therefore turning to remote work. However, the need to work from home is not something exclusive to this age group. According to Flexjobs, the average telecommuter is 46 years of age or older & with 56% of workers in the U.S holding jobs that are compatible with telecommuting. Those are some impressive numbers.

Even with unemployment rates improving, there are still problems for the over 50’s with a large percentage finding themselves unemployed at some point in their mature working career. The concept of being able to work from home actually allows people of all ages to stay active in their job whilst learning about the new technology necessary for remote work. 

What makes a great office space

If you are starting from scratch, it’s really important to consider a few factors before you start building your home office. If you have a dedicated room for your office, you are already off to a great start. Many people working from home will face the challenge of fitting their home office around an already allocated space such as a living room, hall or bedroom. Depending on your personal situation, consider incorporating some of the following.

Natural light

We all know that natural light is good for us, but how does it affect us when it comes to our work place? It may not appeal to you to have the sun beating down whilst you are trying to get on with work, however, just having a little natural sunlight in the area you are working in can actually make you more productive during your day. Natural sunlight enables the body to keep it’s internal clock in rhythm, making it easier to sleep at night. This in turn results in higher productivity and also can help to prevent illnesses such as colds & flu.

If you do have a choice of spaces with natural light available to you, try to ensure that your window has a view. Eye strain is a common problem for people working from home, this is generally because most are using a computer or electronic device. Having some nice scenery to look out on really does make all the difference when it comes to taking a quick rest. 

If you do not have any natural light in the space you have available, it is really important that you do not just rely on the ceiling lights in your home. Studies have shown that most household lighting is too dim to create a functional working environment. Consider adding desk lamps to brighten the space, just be careful how you position them as you do not want to cause glare on your computer screen.

No distractions

Successfully working from home takes focus, time management & self motivation. This means that it is incredibly important not to have distractions. It has been proven that procrastination comes largely from people mistakenly assuming that they need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project. Here are a few pointers to consider when putting together a space that is guaranteed to get you in the right frame of mind. No excuses!

Free of clutter

This may be an obvious one, but we all know that once we have been working in a space for a while clutter, bits of paper & personal items start to build up. It is incredibly important to keep your office space clear from clutter. Not only does this keep your mind from getting distracted but it also makes life so much easier when it comes to finding that rogue stapler. If you do have something for your break time entertainment, such as a book, ensure that this is kept out of sight while you are working to prevent your mind from wandering. 

Minimal design

Keeping things minimal when it comes to your home office is the best way to go for many reasons. Minimal design does what it says on the tin, it’s about having a clear space and a clear mind. Most furniture within this design trend will have sleek lines & simple shapes. As above, minimal style goes hand in hand with a space that is free of clutter. Embracing this style within your home office will ensure that you stick to your Tchotchkefree lifestyle. 

Tips – How to avoid procrastination when working from home
  • Set your goals and stick to them
  • Write down or tell someone about said goals
  • Create a schedule
  • Take regular breaks
  • Create Boundaries in your household

Functionality

It is important not only to consider design for the looks, but most importantly the functionality needed for your space. We all have different needs when it comes to our home office, these often are dependant on the business we are conducting & the space we have to work with in our homes. 

Flexibility

If you have followed our above guidelines, your space will already be free of clutter with a sleek & minimal design. A great tip when it comes to designing your office space at home, is to ensure that your furniture can be moved around easily. Being able to move your desk against another wall, or even just have multiple surfaces to set up your laptop can work wonders for productivity. As well as these benefits, being able to rearrange your home office can come in handy if you are working with a small space and occasionally need to accommodate a client or visitor. 

Furniture

One of the most important features of your home office is going to be the desk. Finding the right desk for not only your space, but for your needs can be a bit daunting. With remote workers ranging from graphic designers to accountants, there can be many different technological & desk space requirements. A really cool desk idea which has become increasingly popular in traditional & non traditional working environments over the last few years, is the stand-up desk. Many modern versions of these desks are adjustable meaning you can work either standing or sitting dependent on your preference that day. This again plays into the idea of flexibility within your workspace. 

Equally important is your chair. Remember, you are going to be sitting in this thing every day (unless you opt for the stand-up desk option of course) so it is essential that it is not only comfortable, but healthy for your posture and functional within your space. You may end up spending a little more on your desk chair than you were anticipating, but we think it’s one of those items that is really worth a splurge. 

Decor

Believe it or not, decor plays a big part in the functionality of your home office. Also in the levels of productivity within the office. Whatever your style is, if you incorporate some of the tips listed below, you will certainly be on your way to creating the ultimate home office. 

Color

Color Psychology in the workplace has been implemented extensively all over the globe for many years. However, after extensive academic studies & research, although the fact that color can affect moods and behaviour, exactly how it does it’s thing is still under debate. How color affects mood varies from person to person. For instance, some may find that the color blue causes a feeling of calm and serenity, whilst some others find it evokes sadness. It also depends on the shade of said color. In this case, a darker shade of blue is more likely to cause the feeling of sadness than a lighter shade. 

Here is a list of the most popular colors used in office environments and the reasons why they could work in your space:

  • Red – Stimulates brain activity for productivity. Most commonly used as an accent color as overuse can cause a person to get really worked up. 
  • Green/Blue – Similar to each other, green and blue can both create feelings of calm and relaxation. Green is a great color to use if your natural light is limited, it will help to give your eyes a rest. Some studies have shown that people are generally more productive in light blue rooms.
  • Yellow – Known to simulate sun light, the color yellow can make people feel happy. It is best used as an accent though as over exposure to the color can cause eye strain. 
Accessories

The hard and fast rule is to keep accessories to a minimum, remembering to embrace the minimal lifestyle. However there are a few exceptions when it comes to office decor. Most importantly it is essential to have a clock in your office. Time keeping is a huge struggle that many people have when they start to work from home. Having a clock that is easily visible when working will help you stick to your schedule & increase your productivity. In addition to this a clock will ensure that you stick to your established work office hours. 

 

Plants are a great accessory to any home office. The most obvious benefit to having a plant in your office is their ability to improve the air quality. However, plants also have lots of other benefits. According to the 2010 study by the New University of Technology, Sydney, there was a significant reduction in tension, anxiety, fatigue, depression, anger & hostility in workers within office environments that had plants. The researchers concluded “This study shows that just one plant per workspace can provide a very large lift to staff spirits, and so promote wellbeing and performance.”

Originally published at roomforinspo.com

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