The nonprofit research group called Conference Board found in 2014 that 52.3 percent of American workers are not satisfied at work. Only half of those enjoyed their work environment. Because of this trend, many employers now allow workers to work at home at least part of the time. Even if you just need a place to keep bills and important files organized, a comfortable home office environment is a must.
At a minimum, you’ll need a small writing desk with a drawer or two. This will allow you to keep items like pens, paper and stamps close at hand. If you will be working from home, then you’ll also want a desk that can accommodate your laptop or a PC.
- If you live in a small space, consider a corner desk that can be pushed into a kitchen or living room corner.
- Another option for a small space is a dorm-style bunk bed where the underneath is open and offers space for a desk.
- If you have a separate office area, choose a larger desk that will allow you to work more comfortably.
Chairs that Save Your Back
If you spend long hours sitting and typing or going over figures, then you understand the importance of a chair that supports your back and is comfortable. Always sit in a chair and try it out before purchasing. Some things to look for:
- A chair that adjusts to fit your height. You should be able to place your feet flat on the floor.
- A back that is high and will support your shoulders and neck as well as your lower back.
- Lots of padding. If you are sitting for long periods of time, a poorly padded chair can quickly become uncomfortable.
- If you also have small children at home, you’ll need a durable chair that will withstand children.
- Does the chair move around easily for you? If you need to roll across the floor quickly to grab a client file from the file cabinet, can you do that in this chair?
Lighting and Temperature
It is tempting to put a home office in a spare closet or to close off a porch area. However, the temperatures in these rooms may not be very comfortable.
- Consider adding a window to allow in some sunlight while still keep out the cold winds or replacing old windows with new ones that are more energy efficient and will keep the room comfortable.
- Talk to your HVAC technician about running additional heating and cooling ducts to get more heat and central air to the room.
- Add spray in insulation to the walls.
- Use a space heater with caution (never leave it unattended or use in open spaces away from furniture and curtains).
Finding Space for a Home Office
Finding space at home for an office can be challenging. You have to consider elements like if you need complete quite to make phone calls or where you can take over some space without using prime real estate your family needs to store soccer equipment and winter coats.
- Place it behind closed doors by using a small closet with folding doors. You may have to use a fairly narrow table, but you can also hang baskets and file holders on the wall above the table.
- Slot in an area in the dead space under a staircase.
- Prepare a basement room by finishing a rough basement. You could potentially even add a bathroom and a kitchenette, which would allow you to work and meet with clients in a separate space that has everything you need to get through a work day.
- Close off your garage or part of it and turn it into a deluxe office space.
- Purchase an inexpensive shed for the back yard, run electricity, hook into WIFI and create a special work retreat away from the busy bustle of the household.
One Space/Multiple Uses
Another option for many work at home professionals is to create multiple purposes for rooms.
- Sunset featured a slide with a his/hers work desk. The desk serves as both a dining table and work station. There are slots in the side of the table top, set up similar to an old fashioned school desk, that allow you to quickly store items for when you’re ready to get back to work.
- Use a guest room as an office escape. Hide your work area inside an armoire style desk.
- Purchase a small desk that folds up or is on wheels, so you can wheel it out when guests come to visit.
- Choose a comfortable living room chair and a portable desk that you can pull over the chair for work or tuck away against a wall when not in use.
Add Personal Touches
To really make your home office creative and personal, add a few touches that speak to your own personality.
- Suspend a pretty chandelier to add a touch of femininity to the room.
- Frame and hang posters of your favorite inspirational sayings.
- Does your company logo feature a lion? Add some lion figurines to your desk or place on shelves. Have you won any awards? Feature those prominently to remind you of your past successes.
There are many ways to create the perfect home office environment. The best home office is the one where you feel most comfortable and can be the most productive.