The number of Northern Virginia telecommuters is growing. A custom home office can help you stay productive and maintain a healthy work/life balance.
If you live in the DC metro area, you already know it’s home to some fantastic companies and government agencies—many of which offer the ability to work from home. Several of my friends who are federal employees have the option to telecommute once a week, and while the policy might not have been put in place just to avoid Virginia traffic on I-66 or I-495, it’s definitely a strong incentive
Roughly 20-25% of the US workforce now telecommutes to some degree. And you might expect this number to be higher in DC. But the percentage of remote workers in Northern Virginia is actually higher than in the District itself—especially in places like Loudoun County.
If you’re working from home, you can obviously settle in at the kitchen table if you have a laptop. But a dedicated home office can make it easier for you to stay organized and maintain a healthy work/life balance. And custom home office design, in particular, lets you create a workspace that actually fits your habits. If you’re considering making the investment, I’d suggest a design that includes these features:
Plenty of storage space. Paperwork you bring home has the potential to create tons of clutter if you don’t have appropriate storage for it. I’d recommend a mix of cabinets, shelving, and drawers:
Cabinets. These are best for books, binders, and extra office supplies, like reams of paper and boxes of pens and pencils. I’d suggest cabinets that are at least 11 to 12 inches deep, in case you want to add baskets to keep everything organized.
Shelves. Shelving isn’t as essential in a home office as in a closet, but I would recommend leaving space for at least one or two shelves. They’re a good spot for additional book storage, and they’re a better way to display awards and photos than a desk—your office will feel personalized, but you’ll still have full use of your actual workspace.
Drawers. Since you’re building a custom home office, you have the ability to create a drawer system that eliminates the need for a file cabinet. Make sure that you have enough deep drawers to accommodate any file folders, and also think about the folder size you use most frequently (letter or legal) so that we can build your drawers to fit those folders.
Plenty of lighting. I’m guessing you’ll spend most of your time reviewing material either on paper or on the computer. Either way, you need to be able to see what you’re doing. In addition to sufficient overhead lighting, you can try using LED lights to brighten up corners or accent items displayed on your shelves. I’d also suggest planning the layout of your office to accommodate any natural light that the room receives. If you have east-facing windows, for example, you might want your workspace to also face in this direction.
Plenty of elbow room. I’ve never understood offices that have just enough desk space for a computer—and nothing else. If you want to actually use your office, plan for enough room to be comfortable.
This is honestly one of the biggest perks of custom design. We can build your desk to match just about any dimensions you’d like, so I’d suggest that you think about your typical habits. What’s the radius of your paper pile at the end of the day? Do you like to move around a lot or stay in one spot? Use these tendencies as a starting place. You should also think about whether any of the following are likely to be on top of your desk:
- Accessories, like staplers, tape, rulers, scissors, paper clips, and pen cups
- Desktop file holders, paper trays, or waste bins
- A desktop computer, a laptop, or both
Some of these items sound small, but together they can use up quite a bit of desk space. Taking all factors into account lets you create a workstation (or maybe even multiple workstations) that you’ll actually feel comfortable using.
Even if you don’t work from home five days a week, having a custom home office makes those days that you do telecommute so much easier, allowing you to focus on what you’re doing without getting distracted by piles of laundry or dirty dishes. If you’re interested in exploring your options, get in touch with us for a free design consultation. We’d love to get to work on helping you get to work.
Lead image credit: Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik (CC BY 2.0)