Although what I mainly focus on with my clients is about how their home offices can work for them in a more efficient and productive way at the end of the day the space we create must look good, feel good and be the kind of environment that they want to sit down and work in. Particularly when you work from home. There are so many excuses to leave the “office” and pop a load of laundry in the washer… and “oh the mail has arrived, I must take a quick peak at my magazine that’s just arrived”.
My brother Eugene hosted Christmas this year for the family and extended family. All the children bounced, ran, rolled and laughed around the house in a constant hum. And it was really only the dogs who broke up conversations with their power struggles. The subject of home offices came up in conversation – mainly because yours truly was there and everyone wanted advice on their own home office. It got me to thinking about the design of the office as opposed to the functioning of it.
The home office goes in the space or room that is available. Sometimes, that is a corner of the kitchen, bedroom or living room, sometimes (if you are lucky) it’s got it’s own walls, and sometimes it’s split between different rooms.
I did some browsing on the web to see what’s out there on this subject. Most of the information I found assumed you had a room with walls and a door. Check out the following link from MakeUseOf.com: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/home-office-design-ideas-and-tips-that-every-web-worker-needs-to-know/ There are some useful tips and web resources in this article.
However, what if you don’t have one room for your office? How do you even begin to design your home office when it has to be split up? It comes down to defining the actions involved in your work and the environments best required for them to be accomplished and the time of day involved.
Computer and desk: Only put the computer and desk in the living room if you think you definitely will have consistant and scheduled time to be alone there. If you can’t control the environment then you won’t be able to control your work output. Think about when you work – daytime or evenings. Where you put your desk and computer is VERY important as this is usually the back bone of your work processing.
Paper/File Management: And if it is to be in your living room or bedroom then you will want your “office” to be invisable when it is no longer required as an office. I have found that having a drawer for “Action” (any bills you have pay or items you have to take action on) and a drawer for “Filing” (needs to be put in the filing cabinet) means that papers are kept from becoming piles or getting lost. Being in a drawer also means that they are hidden from sight and are quickly accessible.
Filing: Whatever your filing system – binder or filing cabinet – you will need to assign somewhere for it. The most important thing here is that you can get at it. If you are hiding your filing cabinet in the back of a storage locker then you will never do your filing. When papers get out of control your stress levels go way up. There are many attractive filing solutions out there that don’t look like ugly filing cabinets and can live in any room in any home without offending. A working filing system means that you can find any piece of paper in five seconds but if it takes 15 minutes to get to the cabinet you are kind of setting yourself up for failure. My filing cabinet is in my kitchen and no one would know.
Good luck and drop me a line if you have any specific questions on the design of your office.