HARD WORKING HOME OFFICES
Working remotely on a permanent basis has become a reality for many of us these days. Maybe it’s time to bid a fond farewell to that temporary office space and give yourself something more permanent and (hopefully) more productive.
Turning existing floor space in your home into a professional office or workspace – one where projects are undertaken, decisions are made and important discussions occur – can be challenging. Before you make any hasty decisions, consider these three key factors: space, placement and productivity.
If you’d like to turn some space in your home into a permanent office, you need to take an honest assessment of a) how much room you think you will need to do your job and b) how much room (IE square footage) you can realistically expect to give up.
If you’ve been working in a cramped corner of the living room or making do with a makeshift spot in a dark basement for the past nine months, then it’s definitely time to give some serious thought about how much room you would need to be able to be as productive as possible. How much space did you have at your place of work? Can you replicate that? Don’t forget to allow for space for equipment like printers and headsets – items that may have been situated in other rooms at work.
When it comes to deciding how much of your home’s square footage should be dedicated to a permanent set up, this is most likely a conversation you will want to have with your partner or possibly even your family – especially if there are plans to use a portion of the family room or a spare bedroom. They’ll need to understand that this will be the standard going forward and that the temporary setup will be disappearing.
Where is the best place to work in your home? This isn’t necessarily about where you’ve been currently working but more about where you think you should be working. Keep in mind that you do need to make sure you’ll have access to strong and reliable wifi. You also want to minimize distractions and interruptions as much as possible.
Do you need light or are you okay with an enclosed space? Is it your preference to be on the same level as your family or would you prefer to be elsewhere? If you have a spare room, is it far enough away from everything that, by simply closing the door, you would be able to concentrate? Think about what it would require to turn dedicated space into a functioning workstation – complete with desk, storage, shelving and – if needed – extra room for project work or meetings. If your partner also requires access to the office space, consider setting up a double workstation.
This is about the kind of work you’re doing – or expect to be doing – on a long-term basis. It’s critical that you have the right equipment and proper set up in place as these are all key factors in ensuring maximum efficiency and productivity while also taking into account your mental and physical health. You might not realize it, but function and esthetics go hand in hand. You want to be able to do your best work so how something looks can be just as important as how it works.
Is your workstation set up properly? If you haven’t done so yet, it’s recommended that you invest in a good ergonomic chair as lumbar (lower back) support is an absolute must. Or perhaps now is the time to take a second look at a standing desk so that you’re not sitting all day.
Make sure you have adequate desk space – enough for a laptop, monitor(s), headset and printer (if needed). Ask yourself what you need to be able to do your job well, day in and day out. Is it shelving for books? Storage for projects? Secure units to protect sensitive documents or files? Drawers for office supplies? Don’t forget the lighting, which is essential to productivity. And if you’re like most of us, with virtual meetings having become part of our standard working day, it’s a good idea to make sure that your background doesn’t appear cluttered, busy or too personal in nature.
Turning your temporary workspace into more permanent digs can be done, with the results being more pleasant, rewarding and ultimately productive for you. All you need to do is a some thinking, planning and preparation beforehand.