On The Clock
There are a number of key design components involved in crafting the ultimate home office to reduce stress, enhance productivity and establish clear boundaries between your work and home life. Queensland Home Design + Living explores the must-have features for a new build or renovation, as well as tips for existing homeowners finding themselves in need of an impromptu work and study zone.
A PRACTICAL APPROACH
Before constructing your home office, you should first consider who will be primarily working in the room – adults, children or teenagers – as this will dictate your design. Once this is established, assess the type of work or study that will be carried out in the office, the frequency of this work, and the expected amount of foot traffic. “Identify the required use of the space [and the] number of users,” Osman echoes. This is crucial for your designer to conceive a result that will benefit you and your family, “[Our goal is to] create a space that allows our clients to be productive in a way that suits their needs,” Osman says.
THE RIGHT LOCALE
The positioning of your office should directly correlate with how it will be used. If you conduct the majority of your work from home, either on a temporary or permanent basis, isolation is crucial to maintain productivity. In this instance, Osman suggests establishing your office away from communal areas – such as the kitchen or living areas – for greater privacy and minimal background noise. For homeowners conducting video conferencing or face-to-face business with customers, clients or employees, it is important to uphold a professional tone. “[Build] near the front of the home to utilise external access for visitors,” Osman recommends. However, if your job requires little client interaction, feel free to prioritise location based on a better view, sun exposure and fresh air.
While a fully functional home office is necessary for some, for those with reduced working hours or younger children, a study nook is the perfect alternative. “[Study nooks] serve a purpose when catering to young children or a more casual working space,” Osman adds, “Depending on your needs, sometimes it’s better to have a study nook closer to the hub of the home so small children can be supervised.” Study nooks are best situated near high-traffic areas for accessibility and convenience.
As many family members gravitate towards the kitchen, a study nook can be perfectly nestled near or adjacent this space. Osman suggests “incorporating similar materials and cabinetry” to create visual harmony.
With an unprecedented number of Australians shifting to temporary remote work and study, many do not have the luxury of an in-built study nook, spare bedroom or home office to conduct business. “Set up a space by trying to create a division from other activities,” Osman advises readers. Avoid working in living areas or bedrooms to maintain the distinction between your leisure time and working hours. Ensure your improvised workspace has ample natural light, minimal clutter, and invest in a comfortable office chair.
OPTIMISE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Considered layout and thoughtful office design will optimise your working environment; reducing distractions and enhancing productivity. The chief components to increase the functionality of your office include access to natural light, economic storage solutions and practical use of floor space. “[Your] desk [should] be well-lit with access to external windows for fresh air,” Osman says. Incorporate full-length windows into your build to capitalise on natural light for a well-illuminated workspace, while operational windows such as awning, louvre, single, or double-hung windows are best for ventilation. Your colour palette should benefit from natural light, so Osman suggests a blend of light, earthy colours and natural materials for your interiors.
One of the more integral details of your office layout is the placement of your desk. For smaller-sized offices, your desk should rest against the wall to maximise floor space, while in a larger office, a desk is better situated in
the middle of the room. Some homeowners find windows or entryways distracting, so position your desk accordingly. “Find [a] layout the user is comfortable with,” Osman explains. “[It] has to be practical and maximise space.”
Superior storage solutions can be utilised to decrease unwanted clutter and guarantee a neat, tidy office space. Consider your storage options in the early stages of your design; Osman recommends a combination of, “built-in cabinetry, desk drawers, filing cupboards, and a mix of [exposed] and [concealed] shelving.” With adequate storage, your home office will have the appeal and functions of a standard office for a smooth transition to remote work.
“Integrate as much multimedia equipment and fixed cabinetry to maximise use, while creating a space that is functional but maintains the aesthetics of the overall home design,” Osman says.
Shifting to remote work is an adjustment, but a holistic office design with practical features will help facilitate efficiency and prevent your work from intruding on your home life.