How to create a home office.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Here are a few ideas for where you can create a home office and the items you’ll need to stay productive while you work your way through coronavirus and social distancing.
Are you excited when you get to work from home or worried about what it’s going to do to your productivity? Some of us see it as the perfect opportunity to wear sweat pants. All. Day. Long. Others not so much.
Whichever camp you fall in, you might be wondering where you’re going to get your work done if you don’t have a dedicated office. Or, if you suddenly have the kids home for e-learning, you’re trying to figure out where to set up their new “classroom.” Below are a few ideas for where you can create a home office and the items you’ll need to stay productive while you work your way through coronavirus and social distancing.
When you don’t have extra room to dedicate to a home office, you might need to get a bit creative. Look for small hideaways that will give you the work space and the privacy you need to stay on top of business.
- Under the stairs: You never knew what to do with that awkward, empty space anyway. Now’s your chance to turn it into the nook of your dreams. If it feels claustrophobic to you, reserve that space for the kids’ homework zone.
- Under a window: This is ideal if your window sill is at just the right height. Add a plank or something similar to give yourself a larger surface to work on. This setup also has the bonus of extra natural lighting.
- In the kitchen: The 1990s loved these kitchen/office combos. Now might be a prime time to bring them back.
- In the closet: We gave this tip for creating a family command center, but it’s equally effective in this situation. If you or your kiddos struggle with distractions, this might be a nice tucked-away option to help stay focused.
- In a corner: Do you have a room with a random house plant jammed in the corner? Test it out as an office by adding a small table and chair. It’s not fancy and it might not be ideal for the long-term, but you never know until you try.
If you’re lucky enough to have more square footage, you have more flexibility. Try these ideas if you need to share workspace with a partner or the kids.
- Guest room: You don’t have to give up your guest room to have an office. These tips for creating the ultimate combination space will work for everyone.
- Long wall: Line up a couple tables or pull out the buffet you only use for your Super Bowl party. A long and sleek desk can look chic and is ideal if there’s more than one of you trying to get work done at home.
- Shed: Get out of the house without breaking quarantine by setting up a work station in the backyard. Maybe it’s a she-shed. Maybe it’s the garage. A little extra space and privacy might do everyone some good.
Especially if your new desk doesn’t have drawers or you’re missing the filing cabinet you have in the office, you might need to find some alternative storage solutions. Repurposing items from other areas in the house is a handy option when you can’t get out to buy organizers.
- Overhead shelving: Consider hanging floating shelves. If you’re looking for a bigger DIY project – off the clock, of course – hang crates or boxes for effective storage and some visual interest.
- Bar cart: Instead of beverages, you’ll have someplace to set your office supplies and files without taking up valuable space on your work surface. This is ideal if your new desk is more on the petite side.
- Supply caddy: Your home abounds with items you can upcycle to corral your pens, paperclips, earbuds and post-its. It can be as simple as a drinking glass or a bit more elaborate with a spice rack. We think you’ll be surprised how many things from the kitchen in particular will work in your new office.
Do your kids struggle with staying on task? Are you trying to establish a new routine with them home from school? Try including some of these items in their “classroom” to keep it fun and functional.
- Small desk: Their paperwork might be more about finger painting or practicing arithmetic, but they’ll need a worktop, too. If you want a pint-sized option just for them, you could try a wall-mounted desk. Place it in their bedroom and it could grow with them as a vanity or trophy shelf with time.
- Display area: Just because their teacher isn’t there to admire their work doesn’t mean it has to go ignored. Devise a clip or hanger system or clear off some fridge space to show off their effort.
- Organizers: Do they have work they need to turn in later? Keep track of their finished assignments with bins, file folders or any other number of hacks that will help corral their hard work and keep them from asking, “Mom, have you seen my …?!”
No matter what kind of space you have, consider these hacks for making it more comfortable and yourself more productive.
- Lighting: You don’t need to illuminate your entire “office.” Task lighting will make it easier to complete whatever project you’re working on at the moment. If you have a window in your new office space, take advantage of the natural light to ease the strain on your eyes and your nerves.
- Comfy chair: It doesn’t have to be a traditional desk chair. It could come from the dining room or be the stool from your vanity as long as it’s comfortable.
- Binder clip cord organizer: Laptops, phones and lamps all need to be plugged in or charged at some point. Keep the cords under control with this hack from Wired.
- Something pretty: If you’re stuck inside for extended periods of time, it’s nice to surround yourself with things that make you happy. Artwork, plants, family photos or vacation souvenirs can help lift your mood. Just don’t go overboard and make your space feel cluttered.
- Privacy screen: If your new office doesn’t have a door but you still need some peace and quiet, use a screen or move a tall bookcase near your desk to create some separation between you and the rest of the house.