Remote Work

Where To Put Home Office

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 7 minute read

There are pros and cons to doing business from home. On the plus side, you’re free to grab whatever you want from the fridge and wear your house slippers to work. And the negative aspect is? You find that you and your whole family have to share the same office.

As the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the United States in March and April of 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 31% of working Americans switched to remote or home-based positions. 

It’s likely that you aren’t the only member of your household vying for personal space during the day, what with everyone having to get up early for work and school. A home office can be set up in a spare bedroom if you’re lucky. If not, you’ll have to improvise a solution using the resources at your disposal.

Ideas for Home Office Space

Ideally, you would have a spot in your house that was bathed in natural light and had no interruptions. A home office can help you maintain sanity when working from home, whether or not you want to do it in the comfort of your living room.

Despite the fact that 33% of respondents reported working more hours from home than they would in the office, 54% reported experiencing more distractions, and 49% attributed this to a lack of boundaries between home and work life, according to a survey conducted in 2020 by employment services company JDP.

The ideal location, location, and location of a home office can make all the difference in your ability to concentrate and enjoy your work. 

Before you start scouring your home for a quiet spot to get some work done, consider the following:

  • Do you have a door or any other way of separating the office from the living quarters?
  • Must I have some alone time?
  • Is there adequate illumination? Natural light is ideal, but synthetic illumination will do.
  • Have I thought about whether or not I have enough power outlets for my gadgets?
  • Are there other people living in this house who I might have to share the room with?
  • Do I need to buy new office furniture to make better use of the space, or can I just rearrange the stuff that’s already there?

It is hoped that the answers to these queries would prompt you to examine other rooms in your house more closely. Do you need further assistance? Think about relocating your business to one of these underutilized spaces.

1. In a Spare Room

A spare bedroom, if you’re lucky enough to have one, can serve well as a home office. Having a spare bedroom for visitors is good, but a clean and safe office may be more important.

Make use of that unused space by turning it into a home office and reap the financial and tax benefits of doing so. It is possible to deduct a portion of the value of your home as an office space if it serves as your exclusive place of business. 

You can deduct up to $300 in office space from your taxes if it meets your employer’s requirements and is used exclusively for work. There is no denying the usefulness of converting a spare bedroom into a home office. 

You may clearly separate your home and work lives by installing a door between the two, which you can shut when you need some quiet time or when you’re finished working for the day. 

However, not every spare room is intended to be used as an extra sleeping space. It could be any spare room that serves a useful purpose and isn’t in constant use.

Consider a laundry room with a door that you can shut when you’re done for the day or a walk-in closet that provides the seclusion you require. 

A table, chair, and computer can be set up anywhere, even in an unused corner of the attic or the basement. It’s not fancy, but it’s perfect if you just need a little bit of room to spread out.

2. In an Official Living Room

Some of the rooms in your house may be more formal than others since they are reserved for special occasions. Love your formal dining room as much as you want, but only use it for holidays and other special events if you need regular access to an office. 

The same holds true for your company-ready living area. You shouldn’t feel like you have to permanently convert your formal room into a home office. 

If you ever need to return to your in-person employment or host guests for a special event, you can easily switch out your dining table and sofa. You can think of it as borrowing the space temporarily. 

You can always return the areas to their more formal uses at a later date, so feel free to use detachable hooks to make the most of your wall storage space and existing shelving, and lay down a rug to protect your floor from your work chair.

3. In a Public Place

A recent study by Nulab found that 72 percent of telecommuters don’t have a private area to work from home. If you live in a tiny place or have to share your living quarters with other family members, finding a quiet place to work can be challenging. 

Even if you end up working out of a shared room in your house, you still need to dedicate space for your home office. A workable space can be carved out almost anywhere with the correct equipment and organization. 

In order to make the most of a shared office, consider the following:

  • We need to declutter. Don’t clutter up your office with unnecessary items. If you do your job at the kitchen table, you need to be able to easily switch it over to family time and back. Moving the filing cabinets, printers, and other heavy office equipment to another area is recommended.
  • Silence the noise. In a shared home office, it’s easy to let your mind wander. Distractions such as people coming in and out, televisions, music, deliveries, and the like can make it difficult to concentrate. Invest in some noise-canceling headphones if you can’t find a way to make your home as distraction-free as possible.
  • Make time for your loved ones. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to set your own hours, consider following the rhythms of your own family to determine when you’ll be most productive. Zoom meetings are best scheduled for times when there will be few interruptions, such as early in the morning or late at night, before or after the arrival or departure of a significant other, or the departure of children from the home.
  • Limit your working hours to a predetermined number of hours every day. You should designate office hours so that everyone in the household understands when the office space is off-limits. If you run your business from the comfort of your own home, setting work hours can help your children understand when it is OK to play loud music or do schoolwork at your desk. That way, everyone knows when and how the communal space is to be used.

4. In the bedroom

The National Sleep Foundation recommends avoiding the use of electronic devices like computers and smartphones in the bedroom, especially at night. Circadian rhythms are disturbed by the light emitted from gadgets, so a glowing laptop screen isn’t exactly conducive to winding down before bed. 

However, if you make an honest attempt to keep business and personal life separate, having an office in your bedroom is very doable.

It’s best to save your bed for sleeping and not work. Get a desk or table for your home office instead. As much as possible, you should position your bed so that you cannot view your desk while you are working. 

You can create more privacy by positioning your workstation at an angle to the wall or by setting up a folding screen between you and the rest of the office. Set and stick to firm work and sleep schedules, and put down the screen a good few hours before bed.

5. In Empty Coves

The space requirements of your home office can be far less than you might think. Instead of using a room or sharing a place, try to think outside the box and locate some underutilized corners that can work better for you. Even a tiny room can be transformed into a functional office at home with some creative reorganization. 

Take a look at some of these innovative ways to make the most out of a limited amount of:

  • Underneath Wide Staircase Landings or Open Stairs. Choose built-in shelves to make the most of the space you can wring out of skewed walls.
  • This is where you run the show in the kitchen. In some kitchens, a separate area is designated as a command center, generally, a lower counter where the phone, mail, and keys can be placed. After a thorough cleaning, it can serve as a productive work location that places you in the middle of the action.
  • Within the Cover of a Couch. Hidden underneath the sofa is usually some unused space. With just a few feet, you can set up a low-profile desk and cozy chair.
  • Inside Your Front Door. Having a wide foyer or entryway in your house might serve as a functional and stylish workplace. While visitors may disturb you while you’re working in the foyer, you’ll still be able to avoid the din of the house.

Bottom Line

It would be great to have a quiet, separate office in your house, but that isn’t always feasible. However, attempting to work while perched on your knees or in bed with your laptop isn’t a viable option in the long run. 

To be productive while working from home, one must be resourceful, making do with what is available and laying out a layout that is conducive to their own needs. It’s worth it to put in the effort to create a conducive home office, even if it means rearranging your family’s daily routine.

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