In this unique time of social distancing, working from home has become part of the new norm. We find ourselves in Zoom meetings, typing away on our home keyboards, and making office calls while making breakfast for the kids. It is the way of the world now and very possibly a new way to do business for the future. We find ourselves unprepared for disruptions, unable to stay focused, and drifting off to do household choirs instead of that next spreadsheet that our boss needs. These are real problems that the American workforce is now facing. Building a home office can help you tackle these distraction issues and help you stay organized in ways you never thought possible. We put together some great home office tips that are functional, stylish, and game-changers for your future as a stay-at-home employee or boss.
1) Consider the space. Do you have an extra bedroom? Or do you have unutilized space that can convert into a home office? A good-sized home office space should be a minimum of at least 100 sq ft or a small bedroom size. For those who do not have any spare space, consider adding an addition to your home or converting a garage into an office space. Speak to your accountant about possible tax write off.
Wherever space is, make sure that you are considering traffic flow and your ability to withstand distractions. Do not put yourself into a closet with smushed seating. This will be your area to work for many hours each week. Your home office should take priority over the rarely used guest room or a toy area for the kids.
2) Consider Lighting. You will want good lighting in your home office. A small table lamp will not be enough light for long hours of work. Does the area have any natural lighting from a window? If not, can you have a window installed? Do you have good quality ceiling lights? Planning for the light in your home office is essential to help avoid headaches and eye strain. If your room does not have the lighting you need, consider contacting a professional to improve the situation.
3) Connectivity– Unless you are working strictly from paper, a home office will need to have the ability to connect to the Wi-Fi internet and possibly fax machine and or phone. Be sure that the space you have decided on has a good connection and several outlets. Your internet service provider can help you to install the proper equipment and set up your devices. We searched the web for recommended equipment and found that PC Magazine’s article, https://www.pcmag.com/news/working-from-home-101-must-have-devices-for-your-home-office-setup“, is full of great options for your home office.
4) Focus on room layout. Now that you know where your office will be and have determined your lighting and connectivity needs, it is time to plan the room layout. You will want to have space for shelving to hold any manuals or books that you need to reference, a place for a desk, and a comfortable chair, as well as where you want to place office equipment such as a printer, fax machine, phone, etc. It is a good idea to design this on paper first to avoid holes in the walls and back strain from moving the furniture too much.
5) Furnishings- Time to move into the home office with some solid, sensible furnishings. Choose a chair that is both comfortable and supportive to help avoid back and neck strain. Find a desk that works not only at the height you will need but will provide storage for pens, papers, files, and other staples. Computer, mouse pad, speakers, shelves, and a few personal items such as a plant or photos will complete the space.
Remember, this will be the hub where you will be working for many hours to come. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that the corner of the kitchen under a cabinet will be the best place for you to do your work unless you work great among the chaos, dirty dishes, and chocolate chip cookies left out. You deserve to make your home office the best possible working area.
When considering adding an outbuilding to your property such as a garage, pool house, stable, garden shed, She-shed, storage shed, or home office, it is imperative to plan out the design to create visual harmony between your existing home and the outbuilding. Failing to do so will cause the outbuilding to look misplaced and shatter the flow and feel of the property. High Quality Contracting Inc of Franklin, Wisconsin, are experts in designing and building outbuildings that enhance the look and feel that you want for your home. Our design and construction team has put together some tips to help you achieve success in your outbuilding project.
The planning stage of your project is the time to address all of these considerations.
First off, choose a place in your property to give you the best possible outcome for your outbuilding. A She-shed or home office will need to be located in a more private area than a garage. Take into account the size of the building, while you are determining the location.
Identify some of your home’s exterior details, such as the type of roof it has, colors, and the materials used in the building. Use the characteristics that your existing home structure has and implement these same details in your outbuilding. If your house has a copper or slate roof and your garage has a composite roof, the buildings will not match, and the flow will be off.
Next, while planning, you will want to familiarize yourself with any architectural review board or HOA requirements that are standard for your neighborhood. Going back to the architect a second or third time to change construction plans because you did not include this information, the first time can become costly. If you are in a historical zone, outbuildings are carefully monitored, and you may not be able to obtain a permit. Even if a license is given and the design is too modern for the area, a zoning board may fine you or force you to remove the outbuilding after it is already complete.
Heating and Cooling are also major considerations that you need to decide upon while planning your outbuilding. Air conditioning and heat may seem like a luxury for a garage or a She-shed, but, there are a lot of advantages to installing these systems now rather than later. The cost may be less in the long run and the units more efficient if you install while building. The buildings will not have the humidity issues that they have when no AC or Heat is installed. It also gives the building more use in cold or hot weather. Tools also tend not to rust as easily in a non-humid environment.
Deciding on what type of flooring to install is also important for any outbuilding project. Will you be doing a lot of mechanical work in your garage? Then a heated concrete floor is a good idea. Will you want a cozy space to relax and read? Then perhaps a nice hardwood or carpet flooring would be a better option. If you are thinking of doing gardening in the space, perhaps a nice strong tile with a good drainage system installed would be the best option. The functionality of the building’s requirements needs to be considered at all stages. It is not always the best choice to lay down a solid slab of concrete.
Windows and doors are other items that need planning. Will the garage work best with a garage that can open on both sides giving it drive through abilities? Would a standard garage door work or do you need something that allows for a higher door opening so that vehicles that carry ladders or sporting equipment can access easily. Does your home office or She-shed need windows to look out onto the property? If you are building a garden shed, would multiple skylights help improve your plant’s growth? Do you need any of these doors to open automatically or do windows need to be double-hung?
Before construction starts, please verify that the new building looks like it belongs to the property. Perhaps the materials you will need to complete the project may take a little longer to get in, or you may have to wait to get the right tiles or features. However, in the long run, careful planning with a reputable contractor will save you a lot of heartache and problems in the future. An adequately built outbuilding should feel like it belongs and is not an afterthought. It will increase your property value and give you pleasure for years to come.