When looking to buy, rent or makeover your space, having a workspace allows for flexibility for work from home which has become more abundant over the last two years. The flexibility of work from home allows for freedom to make your own schedule, avoid traffic and potentially keep a job when the military moves your family. So what should you consider when adding a home workspace to your "need" or "to do list?"
In Defense of the Traditional Home Office
Does your home have a dedicated and designated office space? If not, is there an extra, unused bedroom or a room that can be closed off for privacy allowing for a more focused workflow? If not, there are many ways to work around this in an existing home.
Small closets, a corner in a bedroom, an air-conditioned attic space, an oversized pantry or even the laundry room may offer a place to set up a desk, a computer or other office equipment you may need. Get creative with your solutions. A desk can be as simple as a piece of wood over a piece of furniture, or over two hobby horses. If you don't have an indoor space, as long as the wi-fi is strong and the weather is cooperative, make yourself a temporary workspace on your porch or patio. You might find the sunshine a refreshing change of pace from the usual dark, windowless office of the past.
Multiple Workspace Areas
Maybe you and your spouse are both spending more hours working remotely from home these days or perhaps your children will be spending part of their school year doing distanced digital learning. What do you do if you need multiple areas for computer work and a quiet environment without turning your living room into a row of cubicles?
Consider setting up a master schedule for the entire family: one that outlines specific needs and priorities. Does Mom work early hours at the main computer before everyone else is up and Dad takes over in the afternoon? Could the main work area be set up with temporary tables or chairs in the bonus room or around the dining table? Once the schedule is made, make sure it is in a highly visible space like the fridge or back of a door. Posting the schedule allows for open communication and understanding of the needs of the family, hopefully limiting frustrations.
Speaking of frustration, nothing squelches productivity faster than having to hunt down headphones or earbuds, cables or cords for uncharged tablets or laptops. While you are in the process of creating a home office, make sure to set up a docking station so that all of your family's devices are ready for work when they are. During a time when you have more folks in the house working, consider upping your internet speed. Don't forget to invest in power strips and surge protectors to ensure that everyone's device is able to be charged and protected. Download applications like Trello, Be Focused and Google Calendar to help you stay focused and time block.
Once you have your tech space all set up, and have the calendar and schedule planned out, don't forget to have some downtime. It is easy to get sucked into the workspace to do "just a little" work. The time for "work" and "at home" blends together so don't forget to maintain some "off" hours for rest and relaxation. Set quiet hours for kids to rest or work independently while parents make phone calls or jump on Zoom meetings. Set a "quitting time" each day. Sure there may be the off times where you may have extra calls, but maintaining a schedule will maintain your sanity and boundaries. Everyone will need tangible ways to shift gears away from productivity to pleasure. Meals around the table, watching a family show or taking a family bike ride will provide a welcome reprieve. Be sure to remember first and foremost that your home is an oasis!
Have a Home to Sell?
If you are preparing a home to sell, consider setting up a bonus space with an "office" like atmosphere. Even if you aren't using it as a home office, this will show potential buyers all the options for the space and may even bring in more views because of it. Take an afternoon and set up a small table or desk with a computer, a lamp, a chair and some other decor items.
Do you have an at-home office workspace? What does it look like?
This article originally appeared on the Millie Journal.
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