Despite Yahoo’s recent decision to rescind employee rights to telecommuting, more and more of us are working from home, at least part of the time. If you spend a significant amount of work time in your apartment, banging out assignments at the dining room table might not quite suffice. Keep your materials and tasks in order with a home office. The dedicated work space will help keep your paperwork organized, and create a separate mental space so that you don’t end up associating your bed with a place in which you cram 4 hours worth of work into half an hour of stress. Here’s how to approach designing your home office:
Figure out primary functions
Ask yourself what you need most from your home office. A place for your computer, and little else? Space for lots of extra files, and someplace to spread them? Or perhaps a drafting board or other artistic accouterments? Also determine how many people will be using the space—just you, or you and your partner? Will your kids use the office for homework? All these are critical components to designing an office that will truly serve you.
Where does it go?
Based both on your home layout and what kind of space you need, determine where your office would best fit. Think outside the box: You can make an office nearly anywhere; you needn’t have loads of extra space. A closet might suffice, as long as you take care in its transformation. A spare room can easily serve as both office and bedroom. If you keep your things organized, you can even use the corner of your living room. Knowing where your office will go is important not just so you can put it together, but also to keep in mind when choosing furniture—will it need to have double duty as part of a bigger room?
Choose furniture wisely
Make sure your desk and other workspace fit into the space you’ve allotted—and meet your work needs. You might have to shop around a fair amount, but remember that you can find and rehab lots of great stuff on Craigslist, Freecycle, and in thrift stores. This doesn’t have to be an uber-expensive endeavor. The one thing you don’t want to skimp on: your office chair. Sure, you can get it second hand, but don’t sacrifice yourself on the altar of carpal tunnel just for the sake of saving a few bucks now.
When you do get your office put together, immediately put everything in its proper place. If it doesn’t have a proper place, make one. This will help you buy whatever extra storage and organizational items you didn’t think of to begin with. But if you start out with a messy, disordered office, you might never get it together.
Include a few things you love
However you can, make your office a place you like to be. That could include ensuring you get enough natural light, or always having fresh flowers. It might mean that you have a very solid, soundproof door that protects you from the rest of the house. Or you might decorate it with some heirlooms or other beloved items that really make the space feel yours. Do this, and you’ll be happier in your workspace.
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