In the wake of the pandemic, more and more people are working from home. Early on, companies and employees alike were forced to adapt to work-from-home models. Now, 2 years in, people have realized they enjoy working from home and neverdesire to go back to being chained to a desk. Companies that previously required employees to report to an office realized that employees could be more productive working from home and that could become a long-term work structure that they embrace as well as an incentive to attract good and quality job candidates.
In the interior design industry, I’ve seen a steady rise in the demand for highly productive and attractive home offices. As I’ve been creating such spaces for my clients, I’ve learned some great solutions that I hope are helpful if you’re working from home yourself.
1. Overall Style: Your home office is your chance to express yourself. Don’t be afraid to go with a style that’s different from the rest of your home. I think it’s good to create the illusion for yourself that, when entering your office, you’ve left your home and are now in a different environment. We want our homes to be comforting and relaxing but we need our work spaces to be conducive to productivity. This client lives in a classic farmhouse but wanted her home office to feel bright, feminine and glamorous.
2. Furniture Placement & Flexible Seating: I highly recommend floating your desk in the room, if large enough. It has a completely different feel than having your desk up against a wall or shoved in a corner. Also, aim to orient your desk where you have a good line of sight to a window or door. Staying connected to the outdoors is important when we’re spending loads of our time indoors. Make sure you’re also choosing a desk location where you won’t have natural light reflecting on your computer screen. Lastly, remember you’re no longer chained to your desk! So, don’t chain yourself to your desk at home either. Try to incorporate some additional seating options for yourself. In this office we gave our client a lounge chair for times when she needs to read through long presentations. Incorporate a standing desk, a stationary bike with a laptop tray or some cozy seating.
3. The ZOOM background: If you’re like me, pre-pandemic I’d never been on a zoom meeting, never had a virtual doctor’s visit, or a parent-teacher conference that didn’t include crouching in font of the teacher in a tiny chair in my child’s classroom. Today, virtual is becoming commonplace, and because of that, one of the first things my clients are asking for is an interesting backdrop for all of their virtual meetings. For this client, I wallpapered an accent wall and layered it with bright lamps and a bright abstract painting. For interesting backgrounds, I recommend wallpaper- peel and stick is a great option and renter friendly; a well-styled bookcase, architectural salvage such as antique doors, windows and paneling, and large scale art.
4. Bar carts: We’ve found that bar carts are incredibly versatile for home offices. You can keep an lectric kettle or single cup coffee maker there for tea or coffee breaks. Ultra tiny refrigerators are widely available and can be used to keep some cold drinks on hand to help keep you hydrated, and also very convenient if your office is not close in proximity to your kitchen. I’m also seeing a huge trend of virtual happy hours so it can also be nice to keep adult beverages on hand for such occasions.
5. Organization: Set yourself up for success! Let’s be honest, nobody wants to go sit in a room all day that is full of papers, wires running everywhere and cluttered. If you have a closet in your office, consider setting it up with practical items you need such as a printer, shredder, office supplies and other organizational items. Yesterday I visited a prospective client’s home and there were tons of papers all over their office. I noticed that the only filing solution was an accordion file box on the ground. Think practically. What do you need to set yourself up for success? Do you need a file drawer built into your desk to actually file papers away? Think practically!
I hope you’re now motivated to create an inspiring office space for yourself!