It’s proven that having the ability to manipulate your work environment will make you more productive.
The distinction between home and work is a line that is being blurred evermore. Technology has enabled us to “plug in” virtually anywhere. This has yielded far more flexibility in how and where we conduct business, giving rise to the recent popularity of home offices. The convenience and benefits are undeniable, with the saved cost and effort of commuting ranking at the top of the list.
There can certainly be some cons to this arrangement, though. Without the constraints of a typical office environment, like the surveillance of your boss or co-workers, your productivity is attributable to you and only you. In addition to the lack of oversight, the necessities of everyday life at home can become distractions: the full dishwasher that needs emptying, the dog who’s begging for play time, and the peculiar dust collecting below your less-used furniture can all become detrimental to your workflow.
This means it’s important to establish a space that’s functional and efficient, facilitating your ability to focus in a way that’s actually enjoyable. If the space you retreat to when it’s time to churn out your work is inviting and comfortable, you’ll be all the more inclined to spend time there, especially when you have to! Here are some considerations for designing a workstation, home office, or study nook that works for you.
In determining the best fit for your work space, it’s critical to identify where it is relative to the rest of the house. Is it more conducive for you to work in isolation or immersed in other surrounding activities? Obviously, a remote room tucked into the basement will foster a different type of working environment from a nook carved out of the kitchen. Both can be the right place for the right person, however!
The scale of your work space is a factor of several basic questions: What equipment do you use? How many people do you share the space with? Do you need to be stationary or mobile? Your work space should also cater to your habits — can you scroll through dozens of pages on a single screen or do you need to spread out each sheet to stay organized? Sometimes, work just requires that your phone is charged and your briefcase is within reach. While its high-traffic location adjacent to a mudroom doesn’t allow for sitting, this drop zone is a minimal solution for achieving the basics of plugging in, filing and storage.
It’s proven that having the ability to manipulate your work environment will make you more productive. The greater degree to which you can tailor the space to meet your personal needs, the better. Even subtle changes in light, noise and orientation can impact your ability to focus comfortably.
Think about what are your must-haves for your personal workstation? Do you have a home office that’s boosted your career?
Originally appearing in the January/February issue of New Homes Guide, this story was written by Evan Stoddard, an architect with W.C. Ralston Architects in VA.