In our last article, we stated, “Coronavirus [has] made us realize even more how important it is to create a safe home where one can live comfortably despite life’s struggles.” In that series introduction, we briefly outlined seven features of a “pandemic-proof home.” In other words, we introduced seven home features that Elements believes are important to create a comfortable space where you enjoy staying at home, making a variety of life’s struggles more bearable—whether that be a bad thunderstorm or a global pandemic. The first feature we mentioned to create a pandemic-proof home was the home office. So, let’s explore that—the home office—in more detail…
The Pandemic-Proof Home Office
As Covid-19 spread, more and more people began to work from home, in an effort to practice social distancing. Though working from home seems appealing, it comes with challenges. Home is where you should get away from work and its stresses. Home is supposed to be a place of rest, family time, and enjoyment. When the dining room table becomes your workspace, however, it is often difficult to set necessary boundaries which separate work life from home life. Because work from home seems to be the “wave of the future,” a full home office is an important feature when creating a pandemic-proof home.
A “full home office” does not necessarily mean an entire room must be dedicated to this one feature—the home office. Yes, some people choose to utilize a bedroom for their home office. Others build a larger home with a full-sized home office space. But these are not the only options for creating a fully functional home office.
When designing your floor plans, carefully consider how you will use each space in your home. You may want and/or need a work-out room, craft room, home office, and spare bedroom. An important question to ponder, however, is “Do you need dedicated spaces for each of these?”
For example, in our personal home, we need both a spare bedroom and a home office. We need a spare bedroom because our foreign exchange daughter normally visits once a year, as well as other out-of-state family. We need a home office because my wife works from home. Because our spare bedroom only gets used a handful of times per year, we decided to turn a portion of it into my wife’s home office. Creating this multifunctional space allowed us to get the bedroom and office we needed without adding square footage to our home.
A word of caution about multifunctional spaces…
We encourage you to think about the pros and cons of multifunctional spaces. Originally, we placed a desk in our snug. Since this room only gets used in the evening when we are watching TV and relaxing, we thought it was the perfect place to work during the day. But we were wrong. Combining a workspace with a relaxation space meant that it was difficult to “turn-off” the stresses of the job. Putting the home office upstairs means that when we are relaxing in the evening, work is out of sight.
For more information about how to design the perfect house plans, click here.
A Pocket Office
If combining your home office with another area of your home is not conducive with how you work, then a pocket office might be your answer. With proper space planning, a fully functioning office can be created by adding minimal square footage to floor plans. Even better, it is often possible to utilize otherwise wasted space to create a pocket office.
Now, don’t let the term “pocket office” sway you, believing this is a cramped, non-functional space. Elements has designed stylish and functional pocket offices, with ample workspace, storage, and light. For example, one of Elements Preferred Plans, the Prestbury, is only 2,500 square feet and has a dedicated desk area upstairs. (To view the Prestbury floor plans, click here.)
Separate Office Building on Your Land
Perhaps a multifunctional space and/or pocket office will not meet your personal needs for a home office. But you do not want to turn a bedroom into a home office nor do you want to modify the perfect floor plans you’ve fallen in love with. In this case, constructing a separate building for your home office might be the answer.
Elements not only builds custom homes in neighborhoods, but also on client’s land. Also, Elements is a design-build firm. Thus, it is possible for us to design a separate structure to house your personal office. Or perhaps an extra garage with an office space upstairs…
Ultimately, this option depends on the amount of land you own and your budget.
Necessary Elements for a Functional Home Office
Whether you choose to create a multifunctional space, design a pocket office, or build an entirely separate structure, all home offices need certain elements to be fully functional. That being said, we encourage you to design an office which includes the following features:
- Work/Desk Space
- Storage for Office Supplies/Paperwork
- High Speed Internet
- Space/Storage for a Wireless Printer
- Good Lighting, including some natural light
- Comfortable & Stylish
We also encourage you to create a workspace that you can leave messy if you want/need to. Thus, a door that can be closed is a good idea. Actually, that may be the most important piece of advice…
The Importance of Separating Work Life from Home Life
When designing a home office, most consider the fact that a quiet space is needed to work, free from the distractions of home life. Many, however, seem to forget that a comfortable space to do life, free from the distractions of work, is also a necessity. (Remember the mistake of putting the desk in the snug?) In other words, even when working from home, you need to go to work and “come home” from work—even if that simply means opening and closing a door.
Because home should be where we get away from the stress of our jobs. A place to rest, relax, and recharge, spending much needed quality time with loved ones. Keep that essential element in mind when designing your home office.