home office

7 Key Factors To Consider When Planning Your Home Office

As more of us have the opportunity to work from home, the need for designing an efficient and supportive workspace in the home is necessary for success. A well-designed plan can offer you a comfortable, productive, and rewarding place to work. Here are some key elements to consider when planning for a home office.

Location

Do you require a quiet and secluded room to do your best work? Perhaps a spare bedroom, away from the main living areas, will suit you. Do you need to keep an eye on kids while working? If so, you can set up your office in a large room, with separate areas dedicated to your office and your children’s space. Whatever your needs, be sure to select the best area of the home to support your work and family activities.

Keep it Clean

If you have clients come to your home office, consider having the office near the front of your home, or consider setting up a separate entrance to your office from outside. If your office is in the back of the house, clients may have to walk past scenes from your real life… and real life can be messy at times. Picture your office through the client’s eyes. As the clients walk in, what do they see? Are there children’s toys on the floor? Are the living areas cluttered or messy? Are dirty dishes stacked in the kitchen? Whatever your client sees will create an impression, either positive or negative. Successful home offices are clean, client-friendly, and convey the impression of a professional place of business.

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Organization and Layout

Think through what your daily needs will be and make sure you create space for each task. Do you need bookcases for reference materials or storage for office supplies? Will you need additional seating and surfaces for client or vendor meetings? There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find something you need, especially during a meeting with clients or an important phone call. Invest time into getting everything organized. Retail stores like The Container Store offer a lot of wonderful solutions. If you need help, a professional organizer can assist you in getting everything set up.

LIGHTING

Daylight is the best light for working.If you can put your office in an area with lots of natural light, that is best. If your room has no windows, or you do a lot of your work in the evening, you will need to plan for adequate artificial lighting. A combination of general overhead lighting and dedicated task lighting is needed. Consider placing the overhead lighting on a dimmer and finding an adjustable lamp for your desk so that you can control the quantity of light. Beware of glare as it can be fatiguing to the eye. Computer screens in front of a strong light source, like a window, or lighting directly above the computer can cause glare on your screen. Anti-glare filters can be used to reduce glare and reflections, making computer screens easier to see.

EQUIPMENT AND FURNITURE

Invest in quality equipment. A wireless hub will give you the flexibility to work in different locations of the home and print remotely. Consider creating a relationship with a local company that can provide quick response to any problems that may arise with your technology and equipment. Also, invest in an ergonomic chair, since it is important for our chair to your chair to encourage movement to keep your oxygen and blood flowing. The more adjustable features, the better. You will be able to create the best fit for you if you can adjust the height, armrest, back, and headrest on the chair. Additionally, pick the correct desk for the type of work that you do. Do you need a lot of storage for items around you? Do you need a lot of surface to spread out and write on? If you only do computer work, you may need to find a desk that is designed just for that. There are many configurations available in office furniture. An L-shaped configuration can offer a space for a printer, scanner, or copier.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Does your work require any special considerations in setting up a home office? Do you need to videoconference on a regular basis? You need to consider the backdrop and lighting so that you are seen in a professional, complimentary setting. Do you teleconference? If you office in a large room that echoes, you may need to add some rugs or draperies to improve the sound quality. Don’t hesitate to bring in professionals to help you address any special needs you have in your home office.

TAXES

Once you have set up your home office, be sure to check with your CPA or a tax professional before claiming a deduction on it! There are some checklists available that can help determine if you are able to take advantage of this tax deduction.

Some initial research and efforts in thinking through your home office needs will provide a space where you can feel good and be inspired to produce your best work.

Maureen Stevens
maureen@maureenstevens.com

Maureen is an interior designer, decorator and stylist in Austin. From curating vignettes to designing spaces, she thrives in spotting unique finds, collecting curiosities and creating homes and spaces that may be a tad classic, definitely sophisticated, but playful, dramatic, unpretentious and full of character all at the same time. Her pastry of choice is always a French Macaron (in any flavor or hue), she won’t take coffee unless it has lots of milk (Cafe Au Lait or nothing!) and she absolutely adores courtyards.