With working from home on the rise (and likely here to stay for many!), there’s one luxury that’s now considered more of a necessity: a home office.
Whether you’re working from home full-time, part-time, or just need a nook for paying your bills and doing your online shopping, a home office is a must. The push to work from home left many employees scrambling to create a home office or to revamp their existing space to make it more welcoming. We’ve compiled a list of simple ideas to take your home office – and your productivity – to the next level.
How to Make Your Home Office More Functional
- Choose your location wisely. First things first: where in your house your home office should go is an important decision. You’ll likely spend a lot of time in your office, so the last thing you want to do is squish yourself into a cramped guest bedroom or a dark, windowless basement.
You also want to keep in mind the traffic flow of the house. An office maximized for productivity does no good if you’re in a high traffic area of the home where distractions are common – i.e. why setting up shop at the kitchen table might not be such a great idea. Know yourself and your level of distractibility.
- Treat yourself – to a comfy chair, that is. While some desk chairs can get a little pricey, the investment seems a lot more worth it when you consider how many hours you’ll spend parked in that seat. Your back will thank you later.
- Double up on screens. And by that, we mean get yourself a monitor (or run back to the office to grab yours from your desk!). Two screens means less switching back and forth between different windows and applications, allowing you to be that much more efficient in your work.
Also consider elevating your screens with a monitor mount or a laptop stand. Keeping your computer at eye level helps with posture. Believe it or not, ergonomics is not just a fancy word made up to sell office chairs!
- A clear desk equals a clear mind. Take five minutes at the end of every work day to tidy up the day’s mess and organize your desk. This is especially important if you’re one of those people for whom a cluttered desk makes it hard to think clearly. Imagine walking into your office every morning with a cup of coffee in your hand and sitting down at an organized desk, ready to start the day? Ahhhh.
Bonus: It also saves you time during the day so you’re not shuffling through the mounds of paper on your desk trying to find that one file you know you put around here somewhere.
- Set boundaries. This one has less to do with your home office and more to do with your state of mind. You can’t expect your home office to be a productive space if you’re constantly blurring the lines between home and work (you have time to go wash dishes quickly between meetings, right?).
Whether you set physical boundaries by setting up your office in its own dedicated room or less tangible boundaries, keeping house work out of sight will help to keep it out of mind during work hours.
How to Make Your Home Office Cozy
Now that you have a functioning home office, it’s time to make it a space you’ll actually enjoy working in! The right decor can create a more productive environment, so really, personalization equals productivity in this case.
- Knickknacks can get those creative juices flowing. Chances are your desk at work is covered in personal knickknacks, so why not do the same to your desk at home? Minimalist offices may be “in” right now, but don’t discount the impact of a few personal items in your workspace. A photo here, a sentimental trinket there can not only make the space feel like your own, but provide motivation – a reminder of why you’re working so hard in the first place.
- Give yourself something to look at besides a screen. You’ve decorated your desk, and now it’s time to decorate your walls. Whether you paint a wall with a pop of color or hang some framed artwork or photos, you don’t have to settle for office beige at home.
- Soak in the sunshine. You may be trapped in a cubicle or windowless office at work, but at home you can give yourself an outside view. Natural light is the most ideal source of light and can help prevent eye strain, so position yourself near a window if possible (without creating a glare on your screen).
- Bring some life into your office. With a plant, that is! A desk or floor plant is a great way to add some visual variety to your office space. Like a window view, an office plant reminds you of the world outside of work and helps to keep you motivated. It also provides a breath of fresh air!
- When in doubt, search for inspiration. Instagram is a great place to look for ideas. Search hashtags like #homeoffice, #homeofficeideas, #homeofficedesign, and #homeofficeinspo. Of course, Pinterest never lacks magazine-worthy pictures of home offices. Looking through home listings is also a great way to get ideas for what other people are doing!
Leveraging Your Home Office as a Seller
Selling your home? Use your home office to your advantage! Here’s how you can market your home office as a selling point:
- First impressions matter. Many of the above tips can be applied when staging your home office for listing photos or showings. However, we usually recommend depersonalizing your home so buyers can envision themselves in the space, so consider removing those personal knickknacks.
- Emphasize the stuff that stays. Built-in cabinets? Open shelving? Filing cabinets? A wall or floor safe? Whether it’s in the online listing or during a walkthrough, don’t be afraid to call attention to the features of your home office that will be staying, which buyers often view as a ‘bonus.’
- Make something out of nothing. Don’t have a home office? Stage an extra bedroom as one! This can help buyers envision how to use the space, or at the very least will stand out more than an empty bedroom.
Our agents have plenty of other handy tips up their sleeves! Ready to list your home? Reach out and see how they can help maximize your home’s features – including your home office – to attract buyers.
Searching for a Home Office as a Buyer
The addition of ‘home office’ to many buyers’ wishlists is one of the many real estate trends we’ve seen emerge during the pandemic. Here’s what to keep in mind as you search for a new workspace in your new home:
- Search for spaces that can be converted. Many homes don’t come with a dedicated office space. Search for a home with an extra bedroom or den that can be converted to an office. Even a roomy closet will do (seriously, look up the hashtag #closetoffices on Instagram – it’s a real trend!)
- Consider what type of office you need. For example, if you’re in important Zoom meetings for most of your day, a separate space where you can shut the door for privacy and quiet is probably best. If background noise isn’t such a big deal, an open area like a nook in the living room or kitchen may work just fine.
- Note the location of the Wi-Fi. Working from home is virtually impossible without the Internet. Keep in mind factors like whether you’ll need direct access to the Internet via an ethernet cord or how far your desk will be from the Wi-Fi router.
Ready to start searching for your dream home (and home office space)? Get in touch! Our agents can help you find exactly what you’re looking for – home office and all.