In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not difficult to imagine the appeal of working from home in a remote office. But certain issues arise from that dream, such as where in your home to locate the office, how to minimize distractions, and the ever so difficult task of staying motivated.
In this article, we’ll explore various options to maximize efficiency. You may be looking for a new job because your current employer frowns on working from home: Check job websites to see if home-working is mentioned before applying, it is not really a question you can ask if it is not mentioned.
Location, Location, Location
Your employer permits working from home, and you’ve obtained permission to do so. You are lucky because not every employer allows this; some tasks just cannot be done away from your colleagues. If you work in the construction industry you are unlikely to be allowed to work from home. The next step is to decide where to locate your home office. The obvious location would be in the basement, away from the rest of the house, right? Wrong. The best location would be one with windows that open, allowing some fresh outdoor air to come indoors.
Fifty shades of colors other than grey
Believe it or not, color plays a major role in productivity. According to Angela Wright, color expert, what type of work you’ll be doing should influence your palette choices. Blue is good for the mind, Red stimulates the body, Green promotes balance, and Yellow is good for emotional health. For example, if you do mind-work all day, Angela would probably recommend blue to keep you focused, with red accents to keep your energy level from dropping through the day. If you are a designer and you want to be creative, blue will not be the color for you. Yellow would be a better color since it stimulates your ego and spirits, making you more optimistic.
I can have exercise?
Just as important as the physical properties of the office itself, is how you comport yourself in it. The biggest killer of effectiveness is to allow your office to become more than an office. In a world where work is boring, and funny cat videos are only a few clicks away, it is exceptionally important to stay focused on work. Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. suggests the biggest distraction in a home office is a television. Avoiding your favorite programs may seem an arduous task, but is the easiest way to avoid distractions. Regular breaks to walk around and exercise are also vital.
The biggest drawback to working from home is one you wouldn’t expect: Lonliness. That’s right; as much as you may enjoy working from home, the social part of your brain still longs to be part of the team in the office, so the way around this is to get the best of both worlds into your office. A simple application called iDoneThis allows just that. IDoneThis tracks your progress and achievements, and sends that report to the office, so you can share with your team.
Balance is Key
Lastly, finding balance to your home/home office is essential. Letting other members of your household know your office is off limits is a good first step. You need to always remember that working from home is a bit of a misnomer. You’re not working from home, you’re working from your office, which just so happens to be inside your home. As long as you keep this in mind, you’re on the path to success. But there is a flip side to this as well; remember that you are at home. It is recommended that you allow yourself a short break every couple hours to relax, and keep your mind sharp.
Photo Sources: 1. Northworks Architects + Planners, 2. Cynthia Mason Interiors, 3. John Kraemer & Sons, 4. TerraCotta Properties, 5. Mark Newman Design, 6. Diane Bergeron Interiors, 7. Ownby Design, 8. Kathy Daukant Interior Design, 9. Jennifer Pacca Interiors, 10. Highmark Builders, 11. Armonia Decors, 12. Butter Lutz Interiors, 13. Artistic Designs for Living, 14. After Design, 15. Anthony Wilder Design/Build, 16. Butler Armsden Architects, 17. Engberg Design, 18. Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, 19. Kitchens & Baths, 20. Rossington Architecture, 21. Studio K B, 22. Leslie Goodwin Photography
This 92 square foot SIP panel, modular, backyard office has been designed by Sett Studio, located in the backyard of a beautiful home in Austin, Texas. The materials used in this outdoor home office are Shou-Sugi-Ban wood siding and Monotread wall sheathing. Burned-wood or charred-wood siding, Shou-Sugi-Ban is Japanese wood treatment used in various elements throughout Sett’s – interior and exterior. Not only does it deliver an attractive aesthetic, the burning also weatherizes the wood, prevents bugs and rot, and has enhanced fire-resistance.
Our signature interior surface, Monotread is a durable, seamless, sustainable material used on floors, walls and ceilings. Milled from OSB (Oriented Strand Board), Monotread is produced from fast-growing, underutilized, inexpensive wood species grown in carefully managed forests. The combination of wood chips allows a unique, monolithic presentation allowing various applications. Durable, seamless and sustainable, Monotread is produced from fast growing, underutilized trash trees. Sett Studio manufactures and sells mono tread in house starting at 14.99 a square foot.
The Sett Studio office is more like a pre-fab house, with a “water and ice shield roof membrane” and Drywall walls and Monotred flooring. You can add upgrades like air conditioning and heat, a built-in desk, stainless steel metal shingles and even planter boxes. You can even add a deck. The company is also working on a solar-powered version.
Boathouse Home Office has been refurbished and transformed by design studio Bean Buro into a live / work / play three bedroom apartment, located in Aberdeen, Hong Kong. The 1,200 square foot apartment is located inside a high-rise residential building. Designed in response to the growing trend of working-from-home culture, the apartment showcases large panoramic windows facing the sea boating sceneries in Aberdeen, as a balanced calm and dynamic home office for an expat couple with three cats.
The new concept demolished two existing partition walls to create a large bedroom and a larger lounge adjoining to an open studio space. The opened up spaces increases panoramic window views, thus allowing the external Aberdeen boating environment to be experienced inside.
The material palette is calm and refreshing, with a tranquil blue color chosen for the continuous blue wall to reflect the sea, while the timber finish for the floor and joinery brings warmth to the live & work space.
Drawing inspirations from traditional French boathouses in Brittany, the main architectural concept was a continuous ribbon-like blue wall that ‘floats’ and connects all the different areas of the apartment together. The blue wall starts from the lounge, with subtle computer generated display niches. It then forms the main circulation space with various shelves for displaying art. It creates an intuitive experience by linking up the lounge with the office and ending its blue color in the bedroom.
The main table, Bean Table, has two large pendant lights that form the centrepiece in the lounge. The bespoke CNC cut table shape is wiggly and playful, acting as a meeting table by day and dinning table by night.
Wrapping the entry space with full height hidden storage doors, it then falls to seat-height along the panoramic windows to create a an infinity-pool effect, and provides informal seating along the bay. Rising again as a half height timber wall, it partitions the office and the lounge while preserving open panoramic window views at eye level. On the other wall of the office is a full height bookshelf that acts as the main spatial element for storing and displaying personalized items.
The new timber surface was conceptualized as a ‘cats landscape’ that would rise and fall to provide different functions: it creates a beach threshold along the windows with an infinity-pool effect, an island dinning table to stage activities, a dynamic open studio, and a bed unit that faces the calm Aberdeen life.
The bed is an island unit that faces the panoramic windows, allowing the calm Aberdeen boating sceneries to be fully experienced. Full height mirrors are installed at the edges of each room’s end walls to create an infinity effect of the panoramic windows. The resulting experience is connected, intuitive and calm.
‘Boathouse’ Apartment was shortlisted as “Best 10 Living Space” for the APIDA 2013 (Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards). The project was also featured in the APIDA publication.
Photos: Courtesy of Bean Buro
Kuruma House project is a modern remodel by Olson Kundig Architects of an existing house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Bringing light into the 2,230 square foot, three bedroom, three bathroom home and creating a stronger connection to the outdoors were important aspects of the renovation. In addition to extensive skylights, the rear of the house was transformed with the addition of a 10’x10’ custom designed jalousie window, and large sliding and pivoting windows and doors.
The interior of the home was updated to provide a comfortable space to live and work. A simple, dark material palette provides a unified backdrop for elements that carry significant personal connection for the client. Many of the home’s furnishings were custom designed, including a rolling office “kuruma”—a modern interpretation of a traditional wheeled storage chest.
Kirchplatz Office + Residence is the renovation of an historic farmhouse by Oppenheim Architecture + Design, situated within the historic center core of the city of Muttenz/Basel, Switzerland. The original farmhouse was constructed in 1743. Today the converted farmhouse serves as an office for an architectural design company, provides community meeting space, and serves as a compelling link to a new, adjacent private residence.
The new design aimed to provide a fresh interpretation to the existing traditional features of the historic farmhouse building and it’s interior. This is achieved by creating new openings for natural daylight and by using a crisp white finish in the interiors, which juxtapose against the texture of the old wood and through the way in which the spaces open up, overlap, and merge together with one another.
The sustainability considerations included maintaining an energy-efficient building through the use of current MINERGIE (energy efficiency) construction standards, solar roof panels, a sustainable choice of materials such as reclaimed wood used for the facade, and the restoration of existing architectural elements where possible.
The project also included the design of a new single family house adjacent to the adaptively re-used historic farmhouse that was converted into the office. This elegant contemporary residential structure juxtaposes with the historic building. The new and old share commonalities of materials and colors, yet have distinctly different expressions with the interplay of modern and historic delighting the senses.
The 3-floor house is organized with the master bedroom and guest bedroom on the top floor; the kitchen, dining and living spaces on the ground level; and the children’s bedrooms below ground with a ramped outdoor backyard terrace leading up to the ground level.
Photos: Courtesy of Oppenheim Architecture
Creating the perfect home office environment to meet your needs and look stylish can be tricky. You want a space where you can feel professional and be productive, a “work only” dedicated area. This space does not necessarily have to be a separate room, but simply an area well divided and set up for work focus. The flexibility from working out of your home has many perks, especially being able to design your office just the way you like it! To not get distracted, a properly organized workspace can help any home office worker to maintain their focus and get the job done (despite the endless comforts of working from home distracting you). We have gathered together a collection of creative ideas to help inspire you to create your perfect home office environment.
Here are just a few of the essentials you will need to create the perfect home office space: storage, inspiration board (chalkboard, cork board), natural light, good lighting, calendar, a canister to hold pens and pencils, planner, visually stimulating artwork, computer, printer/scanner, desk and comfortable seating.
Designated Work Space
The most important factor for having a productive home office is to have a designated spot to work. Any place other than the kitchen table, the sofa, or the bed. Even if you live in a small apartment, prioritize space for a small table or desk that will be used solely for work. It will dramatically help separate your “home” from your “office,” and will be very beneficial when you finish for the day. People who work from home often have a difficult time separating work hours from their non-work hours because it’s so easy to keep at it late into the night. But maintaining a balance and shutting down the computer and email is important for overall well being. Physically being able to step away from the desk helps promote that balance. Similarly, it’s easier to get into work state of mind when you’re at your desk/in your office, and away from the living areas of your home.
Visually stimulating spaces breed creativity. At the same time, they can also end up distracting, depending on how busy you make things. Pick pieces with only a few colors in them (even if they are bright or bold) to help keep you focused instead of day dreaming! This is a great place to rotate art if you are short on space to display all of your finds.
Countless studies have been done by scientists and pyschologists that show natural light improves productivity and mood. If possible, position your home office as close to a window as possible–preferably one that gets more light. Exposure to natural sunlight also helps our bodies get on a better sleeping schedule, further aiding in concentration.
Add A Plant
Plants are a natural air filter and even if they are too small to do much good in that department, they still bring what other objects in your home office can’t. Life. If you don’t have enough light to sustain a potted plant, try just a few stems of fresh flowers or if all else fails, some fake plants can still create a happy and colorful environment… not to mention some good Feng Shui!
Most people use digital technology to schedule reminders, to do lists and appointments, which can sync through to all of your devices and pop up with reminders. It still helps to have a paper calendar as a secondary reminder for planning when you have your whole month staring you in the face throughout the day. The designer’s of this home office created a budget friendly calendar by tacking hot pink post-it notes onto a bulletin board, where every day has its own note card.
Overhead lighting and computer monitors just aren’t a great combination. Adding in a desk top lamp can do wonders to relieve eye strain and to create some additional warmth to a room that can typically feel cold and overly electronic. Some spaces work well with adjustable height task lamps, while others do great with more conventional styles. Try making the bottom of your lampshade just higher than the height of your monitor. It will go a long ways to producing the most light possible without overpowering your screen.
The quickest way to warm up a room and define a space is with an area rug. It creates comfort in the space and adds some pops of color, creating a more cozy work environment.
An Ergonomic Chair
You can have the best job in the world, but if your chair is uncomfortable, you spend your day slightly annoyed, frustrated and achy! Office chairs can range from high to low, but no matter what the price point, all that matters is that you can sit in it for more than an hour or two. Comfort is most important here, so make sure it is adjusted at a comfortable height! Try adding a pillow if you need additional back support.
To Do List or Planner
Start your day off by making a to do list outlining exactly what you need to accomplish before finishing work for the day. Set a realistic time frame in which all of that should be completed. Then enjoy the undeniable joy as you check each completed item off.
Pencil Cup & Basic Office Supplies
This seems obvious but how many times have you gotten on that important call and all of a sudden you’re scrambling to find a pen? Keep the basic office supplies organized and on-hand at all times: stapler, post-its, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, tape, paper clips, scissors, note pad, etc. Traditional offices have them and your home office should too.
Place for Inspiration
While this may not seem necessary, especially for those in less creative fields, having a source of inspiration in your work place is absolutely essential. Inspiration can be anything, family photos, a picture of the dream vacation you’re saving for, or even a quote that you love that motivates you to work. Whatever your inspiration is, make it visible in your workspace as a constant affirmation of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Another good tip is to pin post-it reminders of things you need to remember to do, or people you need to call back. No room for a calender, pin it on a cork board!
Whether you realize it or not, papers will pile up. Bills, files, mail, invoices, you name it. It’s important to keep work documents and supplies neat and organized, and separate from your personal paper accumulation. Shelves, storage boxes, and magazine files are a great way to make what could potentially be a mess look great.
Photo Sources: 1. Lori Gentile Interior Design, 2. Diane Bergeron Interiors, 3. Niche Design, 4. 3 Tok Design Group, 5. Jill Greaves Design, 6. Dana Lauren Designs, 7. Jennifer Pacca Interiors, 8. Michael Fullen Design Group, 9. Caitlin Wilson Design, 10. Brickmoon Design, 11. Margaret Donaldson Interiors, 12. Incorporated, 13. Polsky Perlstein Architects, 14. Going Home to Roost, 15. Pinterest, 16. Martha O’Hara Interiors, 17. Remodelista, 18. transFORM – The Art of Custom Storage, 19. MuseInteriors, 20. Anna Carin Design, 21. Melissa Mercier, 22. Modern Craft Construction, 23. Ed Ritger Photography, 24. IHeart Organizing, 25. The Everygirl, 26. Charlie Barnett Associates, 27. CWB Architects, 28. Armonia Decors, 29. Pinterest, 30. Axis Mundi, 31. Lovejoy Designs, 32. Carlyn And Company Interiors + Design, 33. Viscusi Elson Interior Design, 34. Shawna Feeley Interiors, 35. Maria Killam, 36. The Cross Design, 37. Pinterest, 38. Artthaus, 39. Wentworth Studio, 40. HartmanBaldwin Design|Build, 41. John Lum Architecture, 42. Leslie Goodwin Photography, 43. Sarah Jefferys Design, 44. Smith Firestone Associates, 45. The Inman Company, 46. On My Agenda, 47. Todd Arenson Construction
Part office/studio, part recreational getaway, this unique project designed by Rockefeller Partners Architects is situated at the base of a large pine tree in the backyard of a canyon residence in Los Angeles, California. The client is an artist and lover of nature so the Banyon Drive Treehouse, perched twelve feet off the ground, will serve as a creative respite from the demands of domestic responsibilities.
Though modest in size, the 170 square foot plan is efficient and allows for a studio space/living area and a toilet room. Deep-oiled wood siding, mahogany windows, and a Rheinzink roof were chosen for their natural qualities and rich palette.
Photos: Eric Staudenmaier
This luxurious loft spotted on Skeppsholmen is situated in Stockholm, Sweden, a split-level with three floors, wonderful ceiling height, balcony and trendy designed interiors. Offering 775 square feet (72 square meters) of living space the entrance halls leads into an elegant kitchen with dining area and an inviting balcony with stunning views over the rooftops and gardens below. The kitchen is decorated with dark countertops, white shutters, details in gold leaf and vinyl. Adjacent to the kitchen is a dining room with plenty of storage and seating for up to eight people. A spacious bedroom faces out towards the courtyard with wardrobes and smart storage that runs along the inner wall.
Next to the kitchen is a stylish staircase up to the roof of the apartment. The spacious living room features high ceilings, plenty of windows, storage and fireplace. The loft makes the perfect cozy and private office space. A luxurious bathroom is decorated with glass mosaic and stylish polished tiles, double shower, steam room and built-in tub providing an exclusive feel.
Colorado-based studio TruLinea Architects designed 302 N. Aspen St. in 2009, a historic renovation and remodel of a main house and carriage shed in the town of Telluride, Colorado. The firm moved and reclassified a historic front yard shed and turned it into a carriage shed. The 3,500 square foot main house went through a major remodel and with an addition to the historic residence, taking 14 months to complete. The home was purchased for over $2 million in 2007, built in 1992, it has a stone-and-wood exterior as well as a metal roof.
The floor plan was flipped and the living areas were placed ‘high up’ to take advantage of mountain and valley views. The owner works in the financial services industry, he and his sister inherited their parents’ are collection. The home includes works by Yves Corbassiere, Jean Cocteau and E.L. Kirchner, among others. There are five bedrooms and 4-1/2 bathrooms. The home also includes a lofted office, a mud room, a laundry room and a two-car garage.
The kitchen features concrete countertops, dark walnut cabinets and a farmhouse sink.
The bedrooms and children’s play areas are on the lower level.
The master bedroom, shown above, has Italian limestone floors.
There are two gas fireplaces. The zebra rug shown here is real.
With a central location in Ostermalm, Sweden, this fantastic loft, spotted on Skeppsholmen, features plenty of windows and 14 skylights. The apartment boasts 1,646 square feet (153 square meters) of living space and was completely renovated in 2010 with meticulous and beautiful details. The contemporary loft features high ceilings and open space solutions with combined kitchen, dining and lounge areas. The very generous living area is flooded with natural light and is crowned by a spacious terrace. The unique living room fireplace is the room’s focal point. The fully equipped kitchen features an island breakfast bar and black granite countertops make for a very nice gathering spot. There are two spacious bedrooms both have en-suite bathrooms and wonderful storage solutions. From the entrance, stairs leads up to a large loft space with glass rails offering a generous home office space.
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