An increasing number of companies are offering telecommuting opportunities to their employees–make sure your home office is set up to keep you productive.
You have to admit, your commute isn’t so bad. You step out of your bedroom, grab some coffee, and make your way down the hall. Everyone else in the DC area is fighting Beltway traffic and cursing while crisscrossing weirdly-angled streets, while you’re deciding if slippers or sandals are more appropriate today. But then you get to your office, and your zen evaporates. It is a mess—papers aren’t organized, cords are tripping you up. There’s still a bowl of chips from when you took a lunch break to watch some Scandal yesterday, and it looks like your son’s sheet music never made its way back to school with him. It takes you a while to get yourself, and your office, ready for work. Working from home is great in so many ways, but having a poorly-organized home office inhibits productivity.
Telecommuting, or working from home, isn’t just a growing trend anymore: It is a reality of our economy, and will continue to be so. Whether you are working for yourself in the gig economy, working remotely a few days a week, or are permanently stationed at home, you need a space that is clutter-free, distraction-light, well-organized, and set up to create maximum productivity. A custom-organized home office is the best way to make the end of your commute as easy as the rest of it.
The Rise of Telecommuting
Once communication technology made it possible to work from anywhere, businesses soon realized that it was a great way to save money. After all, they could cut down on overhead by moving to a smaller office. Some companies have abandoned a traditional workspace altogether, and rely on shared offices and remote employees. It’s also offered as a benefit, and a way to retain an employee whose living situation may have changed (or obtain one if the commute wasn’t going to work out). A full 37% of workers telecommute regularly, if not full-time, and some of the most recent stats indicate over 3 million people are permanent telecommuters.
Not only that, but telecommuters are finally getting respect. The idea that you are going to be slacking off all day has gone by the wayside. Workers are in constant Skype meetings, Slack chats, email strings, on cloud-based documents, and are just as busy as anyone else. Over 50% of workers now feel that those working from home (or, maybe Starbucks when you really need to get out) are just as, if not more productive than their office-based counterparts.
At the very least, you have every intention of being as productive as possible, but it can be hard, if not flat-out impossible, to be productive in a cluttered and crowded environment. A room that isn’t as organized as you’d like can lead to stress, distraction, and an inability to concentrate. Organization is the key to a successful workday, whether you are in an office or at home. You might not have much control over the way corporate headquarters is set up, but you can have total control over the design of your home office.
Making Your Home Office a Productive Workstation
So what goes into this perfect work-from-home environment? There are a few elements in a custom-designed home office that make productivity a reality.
A quiet space in the house. Not every house is going to have the square footage to set aside one room entirely for you to work in, but even if your office is doing double duty, you still need a dedicated and quiet space, carved out solely for you to work. Quiet doesn’t mean soundproof—but it means no blaring TVs, minimal traffic, and hopefully a window that doesn’t look out into a park, tempting you to ditch work and go on the swings.
Shelving and storage compartments. These can be used for office supplies, if you need them, important papers, documents, printers, scanners, and more. A well-organized office is one in which everything is in its place, where you can be maximally efficient. Storage and shelving are also hugely important if your office is a multi-purpose room—keeping work separate from the other items you are storing (model airplanes or old maps or crochet needles) keeps you focused.
Cord management systems. If Buster Keaton were alive today, he’d probably do a bit where someone in a home office gets tangled up in all their cords and tries to free themselves, bringing computers, printers, tablets, phones, lamps, and everything else crashing down on them. Our lives are dictated by cords, which is why a custom-designed system with cut-through grommets specifically designed for your setup, taking into account exactly where the outlets are, saves you from clutter, frustration, and possibly an old-timey comedic disaster.
Natural light management. Maybe your window shouldn’t look out into a park, but having natural light can make you feel more energized, more awake, and is good for you. However, don’t forget that glare can ruin your whole day. A custom-designed office will consider window placement as a factor, setting the desk in a spot that minimizes the time glare is peering into your computer screen. If you have nice natural light, you don’t want to have to draw heavy curtains for hours every day because the sun refuses to stand still.
Accent lighting. Natural lighting is great, but you can’t count on it for everything. Well-placed lighting inside the desk or shelves gives a soft glow and a nice ambiance when it is dark or when you need a little more light. You don’t want something harsh and fluorescent. Having accent lights make an office comfortable and soothing.
Why a Custom-Designed Home Office Works for Your Work
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for a home office, and not every office can fit every piece of furniture in a reasonable way. I’ve seen people try to shove the world’s greatest desk in the world’s smallest room (which doesn’t really work). I’ve also seen people try to cobble together a home office out of furniture odds and ends, and end up with more clutter than before. The space you work in needs to be efficient, and needs to be designed specifically for you. At Closet America, we do just that. We work with you to determine exactly what you need, and our exact measurements and 3D-rendered models ensure the setup perfectly fits your space.
When designing, we also ask who will be using this space. Is the office going to be a place where the kids do their homework at night? If so, we’ll make sure to include reachable shelves for them. A place where you retreat to in the evening and have a glass of wine and read? Good soft light makes it as peaceful as a library. Will it be a place where you sometimes have meetings or coworkers come by to collaborate? We can make a space that accommodates several people comfortably. Whatever your office needs, we’ll make sure to meet them.
Your space will be maximized for efficiency. That’s what Closet America does. We believe that everyone should have a workspace that makes them happy, makes them feel comfortable, and makes them as stress- and clutter-free as possible. Now, we don’t work from home, ourselves, but we do the next best thing: work on your home, to make your home office as good as any workspace can be. Even if your slippers scream casual Friday, your office is all business.
Closet America is the D.C. area’s leading creator of custom-made home offices, designer closets, garages, pantries, mudrooms, and laundry storage spaces. Our experienced team of designers and engineers help create unique solutions that are customized with your needs in mind. With Closest America, you can have everything in its place, perfectly. Connect with us today to learn more!