One of the greatest blessings in the age of technology is the comfort it has afforded us in terms of remote working. In the present design of work teams, people are increasingly communicating using technology media and software. Therefore, the shift to remote work is palpable. In tandem with this trend, more and more people are now inclined to create offices within their homes.
Creating a dedicated space in the house to function as your office can be extremely tricky. There is a fragile balance to be established between comfort and productivity. To add to the conundrum, you might yourself with not a lot of space at your disposal. So how can one squeeze in a loaded workspace in a nook while simultaneously leaving space for sprucing it up with work essentials? How can you ensure minimal distractions and interruptions while keeping up with the logistical requirements of your work in a cramped space? Here are some tips:
First of all, let’s begin by redesigning the space so that it no longer looks ‘cramped’. How? Find an underused part of your house and make the most of the space at your disposal. Swear by the principle of minimalism - whether it is your furniture, your stationery, other office tools or even technology equipment. Use minimalism as a tool when you structure and decorate your home office. Steer away from the bedroom to avoid the monstrous temptation of a nap. Use a whiteboard or sticky notes to keep focused on the to-do list or the task list at hand. Keep the color palette on the walls and furniture to a maximum of two colors. Stick to the essentials at all times. Minimalism will help you make decisions faster too and prevent you from getting bogged down by frills and clutter. For instance, if you place a chunky desk, it can crowd a small space. Look for options that are airy, see-through and leggy, so that you don’t keep bumping into furniture pieces or tripping off the furniture legs or hitting your toes against edges.
In keeping with the idea of minimalism, design the actual workstation as a ‘sit-stand workstation’. This way your furniture can complement your aesthetic of minimalism. There are multiple options you can consider. One, you can use the standing workstation that will accommodate no more than a laptop, a notebook-planner and a coffee mug at a time. When you want to sit down, you can simply put up a bar stool. The idea with a small space is to not get too comfortable or cozy, or else you will end up spending most of your time in a hole. Not to mention, it might hurt your productivity severely if you get too comfortable. The furniture should be functional in its ergonomics.
Alternatively, you can use a low-profile desk that consists of just a table-top and a drawer. Again, the minimal design of the workspace can be complemented by a shelf structure above it on the wall. The shelving will make room for books, act as stationery storage, serve the purpose of a filing cabinet and support a printer. Finally, you can also experiment with wall-mounted furniture. A floating desk and wall-mounted storage unit can transform any odd corner of your home into an office.
Keep in mind the logistics of your work. What are the technology, tools, stationery and equipment you need on a daily basis? If you undertake extensive research projects that need markers and lists, a whiteboard or a pin-board is non-negotiable. The wall could be better used for that. If your work requires a lot of storage in terms of say, designs and samples, having a shelf mounted on the wall will be a much better use of the space.
Other logistical considerations include internet connection and mobile networks for communications, room echo and wiring for recording or conference calls, among other job-specific requirements.
Just because it is a home office doesn’t mean it should be any less airy or well-lit. It is imperative that the home office should have a window, not just for proper ventilation, but also because natural light can do wonders to the look of the room. Being a small nook, natural light will also create an airy space so that you can breathe easily without any signs of claustrophobia. When designing your home office, ensure that natural light has an outlet to enter the room, for instance, through a slider or a casement window or a French door window.
Where you are going to sit — your chair is the most underrated part of the work experience. You should install only ergonomically designed office chairs and dual-function sitting/standing desks. It is ideal to go back to the principle of minimalism here too: Because the desk chair is leggy, it, too, carries little visual weight. Small spaces are best utilized with furniture that is as minimal as possible.
Make sure you are well-connected. It would defeat the purpose of setting up a home office if you are off the grid in the nook. Most of your work will be communicated and delivered on the internet, so ensure that the wires and connections can be set up in the room without hurting the overall aesthetics. Always try to minimize cords and wires whenever possible. One way is by installing modems or routers and wiring just outside the room so you can get steady internet access without crowding the room space.
It can be challenging to optimize a small room in your home as your office and to accommodate all your professional tools within a restricted space, but prioritization and minimalism are key. With these guiding principles, you can build an incredible home office in the smallest of spaces.
Author Bio: Tess Cain works at office.eco by day and is a fitness fanatic by night. She also has a deep passion for helping people in any and every way she can, from giving her time to the local homeless shelter to writing articles online on topics she has a deep passion for, you can be sure that if there is a cause or someone in need then you'll likely find Tess there.