As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the world, many people are being asked to work from home as a way to help flatten the curve of the disease’s spread. In less than a week, many companies have scrambled to create remote-work practices and help employees set up shop in their dining rooms and living rooms and bedrooms.
Since no one is certain when it will be safe to return to your workplace, this is an opportunity to make a challenging and stressful situation into something positive – creating an attractive, efficient and practical home office.
Tips to consider when creating a home office
Pick a dedicated area and set ground rules
Your office should be in a quiet area to reduce distractions and ensure privacy. A spare bedroom with a door you can close may be the perfect spot. Setting ground rules with your spouse, children or roommates is an important. Keep your personal life from spilling over into your business life (and vice versa) in order to maintain your focus and productivity. If you have to, hang a “Do Not Disturb” on the door!
Natural light and proper lighting are a must
Don’t overlook the unique benefit of natural light coming from a window, skylight or another portal. Sunlight can produce warm lighting that improves the work environment. On the other hand, you may need to account for direct sunlight that creates overwhelming glare during certain times of the day. In general, it’s best to have natural light in front of or next to work surfaces and computer screens to avoid glare and maximize your outside views. You can also position your workstation facing north or south so that the sunlight doesn’t throw a shadow at any point in the day.
Improper lighting can cause eye fatigue and drowsiness, which hinders productivity. The hue of light is also a factor to take into consideration. Warm color temperatures are calming, while cool color temperatures stimulate productivity. Choosing an LED task light that allows you to change color temperature settings gives you the flexibility to select a suitable light for the task at hand.
One unique way to maximize the space in your home office and show prospective buyers that the room makes for an enjoyable work environment is to consider incorporating a standing desk. There is a huge movement for people to continue to improve their health, and sitting all day behind a computer can lead to several health-related issues over time.
A great standing desk option to consider is the floating desk, which is installed into the wall, making it a huge space saver. A standing desk is approximately 40 inches in height, but you can adjust it accordingly so that the surface of the desk comes to the top of your elbows when standing with your arms at your side. If your home office space is already small, taking advantage of a floating desk that is installed to the wall will really help to create the illusion of a much larger space.
Another way to keep the clutter off of the floor and make your home office space feel larger is to make use of shelf risers and stackable shelves. These items are easily installed to the wall and are perfect for accompanying a standing desk as everything will be within an easy reach.
Most people who work from home spend more time in their home office than any other room in the house. Oddly enough, when it comes to decorating, it is the office that is often the last room to receive any attention.
One of the simplest and most effective changes you can make to your home office is a fresh coat of paint. Research shows that the color you select can play a role in your mood, productivity and job performance; and, that it is the intensity of a color that affects how you respond, not the color itself.
There are four primary colors which affect a different part of us: Red – the body, Blue – the mind, Yellow – the ego and self-confidence, and Green: the emotions and balance. When you combine more than one color, you get the effects of both of them.
How do you choose the best color for your office? First narrow down which main color or combination of colors that will work the best for you. Do you want to affect your body, mind, emotions or balance? Once you make that decision, pick a hue of that color. Although color is both scientific and personal, most of us will know the colors that make us feel most productive. In other words, go with your instincts.
Clear your home office of clutter
When your workspace is free of clutter, your mind can think clearly. The first step in clearing your office of clutter is to simply rid yourself of items that you do not need. Sorting your items into groups helps you find items when you need them because it’s easy to remember where they are. Use filing cabinets, decorative baskets, and other holders. These organizing items can be both decorative and functional.
Bottom Line: If you need further proof that having a dedicated workspace is important when you work from home, consider the financial benefits of having a home office. The IRS offers a tax deduction for those who use a portion of their home specifically for business purposes. Having a home office is quite a bit cheaper than leasing an office or co-working space on a monthly basis.
What Do Home Buyers Want? | realtor.com®
The Rise of the Home Office: How Remote Work Affects Home Buyers
Home Office Life: Making a Space to Work at Home, by Lisa Kanarek
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