Imagine a home office where it's possible to block out phone calls, social distractions, random interruptions and the inevitable messy distractions of the outside world. The office has a nifty filing system, a clean, spacious desk and most importantly, the mental space that allows you to really focus on your tasks for the day.
Creating this kind of office amongst the clutter and chaos of a full life and home can often be quite a challenge. But with imaginative thinking and a clever approach to setting up, designing and laying out your workspace, an effective home office can be created in almost any room of the home.
Read on for 6 tips on how to create a home office.
Many people would love to have a pristine, empty room free of distraction in which to work. Perhaps the office decor has a generous desk like this one, a few bookshelves and a cosy rug. But while a separate room might be the ideal setup, it's not always possible in smaller homes so we need to consider some alternatives. Whatever the configuration of your home, a separate workspace can be created by defining a working zone within a larger room. This means creating a psychological threshold to be crossed on entering the space. This will help create a sense of focus that will optimise the effectiveness of your home office life.
A living room can be one of the most challenging areas to work with. Partners, children and televisions may easily intrude and create distractions. But a living room is also one of the most common areas for a home office. We often find room for a television or media cabinet, so it's a fairly simple task to add a folding desk to an existing wall cabinet or built in cupboard. This home office by Slade Architecture has brilliant closing doors and fold out chairs that really make it clear when the office is being used. Most importantly, the closed screens will also cut the office off from the rest of the living space when it's not in use. But even a simple fold out desk will offer a similar sense of boundary around the workspace.
Some people may enjoy living and dreaming about their work, but the reality is that switching off from the demands of work is imperative to getting a good night's sleep. Ideally, a sliding door like this one will create a separate zone, but a folding screen, partition or even a separate colour scheme will create a separate psychological zone. At the very minimum, it will help to avoid having the desk and bed facing each other. Adequate filing systems will also help clear the desk space of clutter and avoid triggering visual prompts of must do items.
The lovely benefit of a garden office is the opportunity to incorporate the peaceful serenity of a garden setting while taking a break from the main house. Being surrounded by oxygen enriching plants has been proven to help people focus and the calming sensory experiences of water features and attractive scents will help you approach your work with calmness. The downside is that these spaces are often inadequately water-proofed and garden furniture often has rough finishes. Despite all this, a garden office with the most rudimentary wooden desk like this can be hugely effective.
While it's tempting to see a dining table as an easy desk-space, it's often better to find a separate desk space or at least storage area. This will help differentiate from the other activities of daily life and eliminate the need to constantly move papers and books. It will make it easier to create a sense of continuity and organisation. That being said, the solo dweller with adequate focus and a strong routine may not have these issues. For a really discreet desk in your dining space, consider a pop out desk like this one that can also double as a side cabinet.
Flexible home office solutions might the trickiest endeavours, but they're often the most satisfying solutions to be found. After all, it's a lovely thing to discover that a little nook or forgotten corner of your home can be turned into a little retreat in which to work. Spaces to consider might be a tiny attic or loft area. Even if there isn't much headspace, those who are comfortable sitting on a cushion may be happy enough. Other solutions might include installing a small desk partway up a staircase as seen here in this clever design by Fraher Architects. But no matter how tiny the available space, nothing quite beats the incredible flexibility of an old-fashioned fold-out desk.
If you are interested in home office spaces, you would love this Ideabook Essential guide to a well organised office.