Updated: Oct 22, 2020
2020 has been an unprecedented year unlike any other. In the age of COVID-19 and social distancing, more employees are working from home now than ever before. This transition to a fully at-home work environment can be stressful, especially when managing additional family members at home as well. Don’t even get me started about entertaining little ones while trying to work at home! I’m not sure about you, but my house seems a lot smaller nowadays with everyone home the majority of the time.
To help foster productivity and a sensible work-life balance, it is important to create a space in your home that you can your most productive self. Today on the blog, I’m going to share my tips for creating a functional and visually appealing office space in your home.
Identify your space (think outside the box!)
Not all of us have the space for a full-sized office in our homes but that doesn’t mean you can’t create an optimal workspace that suits you and your family’s needs. Before designing your new work from home space, it is important to understand your needs both on a long term and daily basis. Do you have lots of video calls during your day? Need additional storage space for files or equipment? What about space to create packages to mail from your home? These are all important factors to consider when designing your office décor and layout.
Overall, I recommend finding a space in your home that you can set aside for the sole purpose of your work from home space. This helps you to establish a routine and design that works best for your needs. Don’t have an extra room in your home? No problem! Utilize space-saving solutions like room partitions and strategically placed storage to help maximize even the smallest of spaces.
One of my favourite room dividers is the Bozeman 4 Panel Room Divider by Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse on Wayfair.ca. It is versatile enough to meet a variety of styles and décor and it is stable enough to divide a room without the constant worry it will be knocked over by kids or pets.
Invest in a quality workspace
When designing your workspace there are a number of factors that you should consider to help make any sized space as functional as possible. Take note of the connectivity options in your workspace - phone lines, good cell and WiFi signal, enough outlets for lights, computers and other accessories, the list goes on. Once you’ve identified these infrastructure details, it’s time to design your space.
When creating work from home spaces for my clients, I like to begin by drawing a scale model of the room so I can truly understand the space before investing in furniture and décor. This ensures I have the proper measurements handy before selecting pieces, saving my clients time and money. There is nothing worse than falling in love with an office set only to discover the furniture is way too large or too small for your space.
Once you have your measurements, it is time to pick your furniture and décor. When working from home, your office space is where you spend the majority of your day and it should be reflective of not only your style but also your working needs. I recommend balancing your personal design style with functional furniture that creates a healthy and effective work environment. Look for pieces that have thoughtful ergonomic design that will protect your body from the downfalls of sitting at a desk all day. That designer chair might be beautiful, but if it doesn't support your back or is extremely uncomfortable, it might not be the best option for your work from home space.
Another important factor to consider is the lighting in your work from home space. Not only does the lighting design in your space influence your mood and productivity, but it can also greatly impact eye strain and general fatigue while working. I recommend a combination of soft overhead lighting with a mix of lamps and direct office lighting like a desk lamp.
In addition to contributing to your overall productivity, a well-lit space can also help to level up your video call game. For many of us, video conference calls are now a part of our everyday routine, both in our personal and professional lives. Along with your video lighting, it is important to think about the background of your space and how this represents you, your business and your home. I love an artfully arranged shelf or simple wall with artwork to create a professional and sophisticated background for all your video calls.
Create a work-life balance
My final recommendation is about creating a space that fosters a healthy work-life balance. In these unprecedented times, the fine line between work and personal time is even thinner with many families juggling working from home while children learn from home through online schooling. When designing your work from home space, I recommend designating a space (no matter how small!) for your work. If you’re working from the kitchen table (or bed or the couch!) there are significant distractions ready to pull you away from your work. Not to mention the disruption of setting up and taking your office space down every day!
I love using versatile desks or non-traditional office furniture to help create multifunctional workspaces for the whole family, even in small work spaces. One of my favourite recent finds is this Jamal Reversible Credenza desk from Wayfair.
More of my favourite design pieces for creating a functional work from home space