Home has always been where the heart is, but over the last two years, it’s also the place everyone is. In May, Gallup reported that 7 in 10 U.S. white-collar workers were still working remotely following the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19. According to the report, in some occupations, the number of remote workers exceeds 80%.
With remote work seemingly here to stay, many professionals are looking to upgrade their home office space from a temporary fix to a more permanent solution – after all, there’s only so much those virtual meeting backgrounds can hide.
The Deseret News Home Show has tips for anyone who wants to create a better home workspace. If you’re looking to create a space that facilitates productivity and bolsters creativity, you’ll want to keep a few key points in mind.
Choose the right spot
As they say in real estate, location is everything. That certainly rings true when you’re working in a home you may be sharing with other adults, small children and animals. With excess space something few homeowners can complain about, you might have a hard time finding a nook to call your own.
If you don’t have the obvious solutions—a dedicated den or home office or a spare bedroom—it’s time to think outside the box. The key is to find a spot that’s free from your brand of distractions.
If you’re a chronic snacker, a kitchen nook or dining-room-window seat probably isn’t for you. If daytime television is your kryptonite, steer clear of the living or TV room. And while bedrooms feel private and quiet, you’ll want to avoid working in yours if you suffer from insomnia, as you might begin to associate the space with work and productivity.
Basements, unused closets and open lofts might all be viable options for a permanent home office solution.
Give it permanence
According to the New York Times, any area of the home can work as office space as long as you take it seriously and give it the attention it deserves. First, consider how you can make the area feel more private. Sectioning it off with a large screen or curtain might do the trick, or you can use bookshelves or other furniture to designate the space.
Make your office a place you can relax by painting the walls a soothing color, hanging art of photographs on the walls, and equipping your desk with everything you need to work efficiently—like dual monitors, printers and other frequently used office equipment.
Know when to say when
Even the most creative minds might not be able to find a home office solution in their current home. If you can’t seem to find a space where you can think clearly, be productive and avoid distractions, it might be time to expand. While building onto your home might feel intimidating, there are simpler solutions than you might think.
For example, you might want to consider building a structure detached from your home that could have an alternate use if and when you go back to the office. For example, a detached home office with a bathroom and kitchenette could easily work as a guest house later on. On a smaller scale, a simple structure could later become a home gym, storage shed or children’s playhouse.
Of course, adding on to your existing structure is also an option, but you’ll still want to consider how to make the new space multifunctional. For example, adding on a guest bedroom is a great way to create the office you need now while benefiting from additional space later. Finish a basement by adding flooring and lighting and you’ll have a space for work now that can become a game or television room later.
With remote work still very much the norm, creating a productive home office isn’t just an investment in real estate—it’s an investment in yourself.