by Dave Donovan
Remember the Tom Hanks movie, Joe and the Volcano? One of the scenes that stands out in that film is when Joe was walking through his office space – the greenish hue of the lighting, the dank, dark-looking atmosphere, the unhappy co-workers. That scene is a true testament of how the design of an office space can dramatically affect your life and your work. By taking the time to design your own home office space, you’ll be able to increase your productivity, be more comfortable at work and enjoy what you do so much more.
But, designing one’s home office space takes more than finding an empty room and throwing a desk, chair, computer and printer in there. For a truly comfortable and compatible office space, you need to address a number of different things, including:
- Lighting, natural and artificial
- Job responsibilities
One of the most important things you need to consider when designing your home office is the type of lighting in the space. Natural light works best. It’s easiest on the eyes and the Sun’s rays stimulate brain chemicals to naturally make you feel happier and healthier.
But, a large source of natural light is a luxury not many of us are blessed with it in our home offices, so, what can we do to increase the amount of light in our offices?
Consider installing recessed lighting in the room. Recessed lights require no actual floor or desk space and they can fill the room with plenty of light if they are spaced properly. Plus, because they are installed in the ceiling, they won’t glare off of the computer monitor. Install some compact fluorescent flood lights and you’ll not only get a ton of nice, bright light, but you’ll be doing the planet a favor while managing to keep your electric bill in check!
Your home office space is an extension of yourself. You want it to feel welcoming when you enter it, like it was made just for you, because after all, it was! Your office’s décor is where you have total say over every decision, from the color on the walls to which artwork gets hung to what type of carpet or tile you prefer on the floor. But, this is also where most people make the biggest mistakes. While purple may be your absolute favorite color, it usually doesn’t fit well in a work environment.
Because you will be spending the majority of your time in your home office, you need the color on the walls to be as soothing on the eyes as possible. Don’t knee-jerk your paint decision and really give it the thought it deserves. A nice neutral tone is often found to be the best choice for an office setting. If you’re afraid that neutral is too boring or bland, don’t worry, you can spruce it up with paintings, posters or other works of art.
How you set up your home office space will impact how efficient and productive you will ultimately be. Take the time to consider where everything should go – your desk, your printer, your fax machine, etc. Improper placement of these items and pieces of furniture can result in you spending more time traversing around your office than getting work done.
How you set up your office really depends on what type of work you do. If you use your fax machine multiple times a day, then ideally it should be close and easily accessible to you. On the other hand, if you only have a fax machine in case you need it at some point, then you can position it at the other end of the room, leaving usable space near you for more frequently used items.
The same goes for filing cabinets. If you have to get in them frequently, try to keep the ones most commonly used nearby. While you may think that having to walk across the room to get into a filing cabinet is no big deal, wait until you have to do it twenty times a day, as your phone is ringing, and your deadline is approaching, and an important fax is coming through and so on and so on.
Even the most basic home office space needs a few certain pieces of equipment in order to function in today’s world. At the very least, you should have:
- Internet connection (preferably broadband)
- Desk and chair
- Fax machine
One of the best buys you can make for your home office is an all-in-one printer. It can provide printing, faxing and scanning capabilities in one compact piece of equipment.
Does your job require frequent visits from clients or customers? If it does, then you need to incorporate a comfortable setting in which to conduct business. Incorporating a couple of armchairs in your home office space will give off the impression that you routinely welcome clients into your office. Almost immediately, your guest will start looking at you more seriously and listening more intently. On the other hand, if you work from home and have no need to conduct face-to-face meetings in your office, then you can forgo the chairs and opt for a small couch or something on which you can relax to clear your head in between phone calls.