According to technology giant Intuit, an estimated 40% of the American workforce will be working independently by the year 2020. At present, approximately 33% of existing U.S. workers operate either on a self-employed basis or as independent contractors, as people look to develop a successful career that affords them flexibility, freedom and greater earning potential. With this and flexible working directives also empowering individuals to work from home when representing a company, it is clear that there is a growing need for office space within the home.
With this in mind, what practical steps can you take to turn existing space into a home-office?
A spare room may hold the key, especially in compact new-build properties. Spare rooms are often used as overflow storage space for those items you never seem to have time to sort through, or become a hybrid room; part bedroom, part closet, part gym. Turning a spare room into a useful room is often a case of re purposing it. Utilize your space and turn your forgotten room into a smart home office.
Clear the Clutter - Working in a cluttered and disorganized space is terrible for productivity. Commit some time to clearing the space, selling unused items on eBay for some extra decorating budget, or making charitable donations of them. Get rid of anything you haven't used for over a year - it is clearly not contributing anything to your life. Clear the entire room so that you are starting with a clean slate.
Light and Calm - It is essential to design something that you will be comfortable working in. Natural light and calming colors are great for an office - keep walls light colored and opt for a blinds and drapes combination for your window dressing. It will be important to keep glare off your computer but you don't want to feel like you are working in a cave. You can use palette tools like Design Seeds to pick your ideal color combination, but it is best to keep to a couple of main colors and add accents as a â€˜busy' space can make concentration difficult.
Furniture - The most important piece of furniture is your desk. Desks are easy to come by, but cheaper models are often mass produced and badly made. Choose a desk that is high quality and build your room around it. Cambridge Oak has a wide range of home office desks, stretching from the elaborate to the minimalist. A piece like this will not need replacing in a couple of years and you can redesign around it if you fancy a change, without having to fork out for new furniture. Make sure you invest in an office chair that is comfortable and provides plenty of lumbar support. A seat that looks stylish but is a nightmare to sit on will mean that you simply don't use your newly re-purposed room. Go to a show-room and try out chairs before you buy - this is not something you want to buy online.
The Finishing Touches - Turn the space above your desk into a "think wall" - space for notices, ideas, motivational quotes etc. This one is a great example of a functional but stylish space. Invest in some attractive stationary items and other bespoke items. Give thought to how you are going to use your space - if you need to read for long periods it might be nice to add a comfy chair to your office. If the kitchen is a long walk and caffeine is your â€˜think fuel' you might like a coffee machine and a mini fridge. Personalize your space, not just to your aesthetic design preferences but also to meet your work habits and needs.