Updated: Apr 7, 2020
The design of your workspace matters. A dark, cramped or uncomfortable workspace will affect your mood and your work. At a moment when so many people have found themselves adjusting to telecommuting due to COVID-19 and related social distancing recommendations, we wanted to share a few tips for last-minute and DIY home office design.
1. Get out of the office. . . if it isn't working out.
If your home does not already have a dedicated office space, or if the space you have doesn't make you feel comfortable and ready to take on that next project, then give yourself permission to get creative! Repurpose rooms and furniture as you need. For example, a dining room table can become a spacious and comfortable desk and many dining rooms have better lighting and larger windows than smaller rooms.
Of course, if you are telecommuting while sharing your home with another telecommuter, or with children, it can become more difficult to move out of the den or home office room into the kitchen, dining or living room. Still, when life requires you to change your routine, it helps to remember to stay flexible. You are adapting to this new situation so why not adapt your home, as much as possible, to fit your needs? Click here to see a table by Calligaris that's a great example of designing for flexibility. It smoothly transforms from coffee table to dining room table and back.
2. Find just the right amount of comfort.
First examine your chair, desk and room layout with comfort in mind. If you sit down to work, is your chair comfortable enough? Do you like to pace or walk around while you think or talk on the phone? If you do,
make sure you have room for walking about and remove any furniture that might get in your way. Do you have a standing desk at the office? Sometimes a kitchen countertop or island will be the better space for typing if you prefer to stand. Maybe it is time to find that new piece of home office furniture that you have put off buying? This adjustable desk by Pottery Barn can accommodate standing without sacrificing style. Remember, be creative and make sure that the room will be working for you while you work in it!
3. Surround yourself with things you like.
Pictures, plants, flowers from the garden, candles, mementos, a comfy rug, or that one special chair. . . Place around the room a few items that you enjoy and remove anything that you find irritating, ugly or distracting.
4. Get rid of clutter.
Clutter hides in plain sight and can be a quiet but significant source of irritation and distraction while you try to work. An orderly workspace is both more efficient and more comfortable than one that is full of clutter. Additionally, if you will have video conferences to attend, you want to be sure that the clutter is cleared away and out of sight. If you are too busy to clear out all of the clutter at once, then resolve to clear away at least one or two piles a day. It will be gone in no time!
5. Good light is essential.
No one feels energetic and ready to take on the world each day when the room is dark or feels cramped. Lighting is an easy way to make a room feel larger and more open. Natural light is always the best light so open up those blinds if your windows are covered up. Then make sure to replace any burnout bulbs in your overhead lighting. Consider adding a lamp or two, since overhead lights can create unnecessary shadows.
6. Think forward with your space!
Even if you expect to return to a commute and to a more conventional schedule, use this time of change to plan for the future. Would having a more perfect home office allow you to better tackle the work you take home or speed through your household paperwork? Or could it enhance creativity for untouched projects that you've always wanted to tackle? This is a perfect opportunity to examine the functionality and comfort of your home, so don't let that go to waste! MLB Designs is also doing more telework these days, including more and more TeleDesign. With a simple video chat consultations, we can assist in a quick re-styling of your current office space or begin the process of a 100% remote update.
Stay well and safe,
The Team at MLB Designs