Architecture Expert: Inspired To Work
Create a home office that works for you.
More and more people are working from home. Whether full time or part time, this requires a space where you can amp-up your productivity. Before embarking on creating your home office, there are several questions you need to ask yourself:
- What type of work will you be doing in the space?
- Will external clients be visiting?
- Will colleagues visit for collaborative work?
- What equipment must be accommodated? Computers, printers, etc.
- Will you need complete privacy?
- Will you be using the speakerphone or video conferencing?
- What type of phone and Internet connectivity is required?
- How much space do you have to work with?
- What type of lighting does the space offer and can it be improved?
- What type of storage is required?
- What type and how much work surface is required?
- What type of ergonomics should be considered for your chair, keyboard and work surface?
- Have you experienced repetitive strain injuries in the past?
- What is the maximum amount of money you want to spend?
RESEARCH RENDERS RESULTS
Once you gather this information, you can begin to make decisions about the type of home office that will suit your needs, and the requirements that you must accommodate. When dreaming of an overall design concept, think about what inspires you. Perhaps consider a favourite colour or phrase that you can incorporate into the design. How will your space reflect the type of work that you do? If you perform intense head-down work, how can you create a space that offers a respite throughout the day? Should your office offer a serene and restful environment or would you benefit from a space that energizes you?
Planning an office takes time to evaluate your work patterns before you make purchases or big decisions. Once you determine what is required and how you might design your space, there are many options for furniture and storage. From budget-conscious IKEA to big-box furniture depots to higher-end office furniture from companies like Knoll and Herman Miller, you should invest in the best furniture that you can afford. Offices tend to take a lot of use and abuse, so you want to make sure that storage cabinets are high quality and shelves are mounted securely. Your office chair is one of the most important pieces of furniture you can own. Spending five to eight hours in a chair every day has a lasting impact on your body. It is important that you choose a chair that is highly adjustable for your height, back and arms. A new trend on the market today is height adjustable work surfaces. As a response to newer studies that show sitting in an office chair for extended periods of time takes years off your life, suppliers have created electric motorized work surfaces that can be adjusted throughout the day. Marketed as ‘sit/stand’ desks, most of the major office furniture suppliers now offer these.
Also important for the health of your body, is the type of lighting provided in the space. Simply converting a bedroom into an office without evaluating the lighting is a mistake. You must make sure that your work surface is illuminated properly, whether by ceiling lights or lamps that you add. Ensuring that your computer screen is glare-free also helps reduce eye strain.
Most importantly, your office space should be something that you look forward to spending time in—rather than dreading. It should be a space that accommodates your personality and style while offering an encouraging place to work. While some people thrive in a space that is somewhat chaotic, some people want a place for everything and everything in its place.
Personally, I dream of an office with fully enclosed cabinets and clean surfaces, but I can honestly say that I am more inspired by a space that contains some of my favourite gifts from clients, collectables and kids’ notes. The most important element of my personal workspace is a window that looks onto a tree because nature makes me happy. As well, opening the window to hear the birds sing makes me happy every day. These are small considerations, but important to my overall productivity. What makes you happy? Whatever you decide, make each day your masterpiece.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SK DESIGN (TEXTURED WALL), JODY JOHNSON (VINTAGE STORAGE), CYNTHIA SODA, SODAPOP DESIGN (OVERALL OFFICE)