3 Steps To Start Planning A Home Office


3 Steps To Start Planning A Home Office

When thinking about a home office renovation there are plenty of variables to consider.  This article should help get you going in the right direction to get the most out of your renovation, and make home your own.  This article is pertinent for those who use their home office for their full time profession, or just when they need some quiet time to get something done.

Step 1:  Realize

The first big step in starting a home office renovation project is realizing that your current home office isn’t working for you.  For the sake of this article, I am defining a home office as it’s own space, a room with a door that can be closed.  This room is dedicated, for the most part, to being a home office.  This article may also be beneficial to those weekend warriors that spread out on the dining table, but the non-permanent nature of that work space doesn’t easily translate into helpful design solutions.

Signs that your home office is no longer working for you, but instead working against you, come in all shapes and sizes.  Most signs of this fact revolve around whether or not you are having to leave this space more often to take a break from your work, or collect your thoughts rather than being able to do these activities all within the space.  Another sign that your home office isn’t working for you any longer is if you find yourself working in another space in your home for a “change of pace”.  If you recently turned a hobby into a full time occupation, and require your office to take on the role of being your daily work space, this can also have an enormous impact on whether the space is adequately designed for your needs.

I am in no way an advocate for a “swiss army” space that is able to adapt to every possible requirement you may have, but a well designed home office should provide space for the user to work efficiently, help remove themselves from distractions found elsewhere in their home, and provide sufficient comfort to be utilized for 1 hour or 10.

If you are realizing that your current home office is not doing the job it used to, then it is time to review your needs, and how a home office can be designed to fit those needs.

Step 2: Review

The second step in a home office renovation is to review your existing space, what is has, what is lacks, what you like best, and what you would like improved.  During your review you will find that an ideal work space is complex, but certainly necessary for a well designed home office.

Some examples of items to consider in your review include:

  • Location – If your current home office is not in a dedicated space, or doesn’t have a window, try to find a spot in your home that you could set aside, and wall off for this purpose.  In the end your home office needs some privacy if you want to work effectively.
  • Ergonomics – Make sure you have a good chair.  I am a huge proponent of Herman Miller furniture, although pricey, they are the best of the best.  If you spend a lot of time sitting, and working, it is worth the investment.
  • Comfort – Along with ergonomics, I feel it is necessary to have a separate seating arrangement for more relaxed moments during your working hours, and although I would love to recommend an Eames Lounge Chair, any seating you find comfortable is appropriate.  I would recommend that you do not utilize your desk chair as your comfortable chair, because the scale, and dimensions of a comfortable chair are rarely optimized for work, and vice versa.
  • View – Having a view to the outside, preferably a nice view is essential to a healthy home office.  If this is absolutely not an option, then having windows out to the rest of the house may be an alternative.  I cannot stress enough how important an exterior view with daylight is, so if you can have one make it a top priority.
  • Organization – Having shelving, or drawers is a great asset to any home office.  Being organized allows you to focus on the task at hand, rather than seeing multiple items that all want your attention at the same time.  An ideal office would have a mixture of built-in, and movable storage organized to keep your home office an effective space.
  • Technology – Not all home offices require technology, but most benefit from them.  This may be as simple as making sure you have sufficient power for your computer, or as extreme as setting up server racks, and adding cooling capacity to your HVAC.  Regardless of the extent of your home office needs, evaluating and understanding that technology will most likely play an important role in a renovation is crucial.

With your review complete of your current home office, and some ideas of what your new office should include, you are ready to reach out to a design professional.

Step 3: Reach Out

I would love to say that reaching out to architects, and other design professionals is the easiest step in planning a home office renovation, but I know it can be daunting.  However, if you have run through the previous two steps, and are able to describe to your architect what it is you are looking for in a home office space, how much you can spend on your renovation, and how much down time you can afford to have without your home office,  any architect should be happy to help.

Sticky Note Conclusion

A home office renovation can be an impactful project whether you do work at home for 1 hour a week or 60.  Getting it right isn’t easy, but following these 3 steps, Realize, Review, and Reach Out, will make sure that your home renovation project goes smoothly.  In the end you, and your architect share the goal of creating a great work space.

If you need help designing your next home office renovation, please reach out, and tell us what you have in mind.

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