Ins and Outs: Home Offices

With more people working from home, a functioning home office has become an essential part of the home and its design. For most people, the home office is now as important as any other room in the house. Sometimes, designing for a home office can be pretty tricky, especially in homes with limited space. Rapidly changing work-from-home lifestyles and current office trends can also make designing for a home office seem a bit daunting. Whether you are incorporating an office into the floor plan of a home addition, have the existing space to work with, or you're redesigning a tiny nook for a small quiet work space, knowing what’s trending can help you figure out how to make the most of your space. By designing a more functional home office, you can make working from home as efficient and productive as possible. This article highlights some of the trending INs and OUTs that can impact how you design your new office space.

Spouses Needing Two Separate Offices are In

Whether you are changing an existing room or having an architect plan this as part of a home addition, the need for separate spaces for some is a must, even prompting an entire home addition just for this space. Some homeowners are even going out of their way building extra spaces to get their work areas on different floors away from each other.  As spouses continue to be in need of their own dedicated workspace at home, the desire for 2 offices has increased dramatically. With many spouses having to work from home at the same time, just hearing your spouses conducting business in the background of a web conference is distracting and enough to compromise your professionalism. Depending on your profession, you may need privacy during video conferences that are constrained by HIPAA laws or just to maintain confidentiality with sensitive business information. Additionally, the second office is desirable because some spouses may have or require different equipment according to their work’s needs. Spouses may also need different size tables, chairs, and office furniture. Having your own office allows for a more personalized space and a better working environment suited to their individual comforts, ultimately increasing the productivity and professionalism of two people.

Minimalism is In

With such a fast-paced and competitive world, homeowners are looking for ways to keep their office space simple, or maybe they are forced to, with limited space. One way to do this is by planning for a more compact office space. In the busy city with limited space, this has been a necessity, but has proven to be an effective way of creating a productive home office space in rural homes as well. From necessity to trend, many people have caught on to other advantages such as the freedom and mobility of minimizing this space, but some just need a private spot to set their laptop free of clutter. 

 Ditching the paper and going digital can drastically reduce the need for office equipment and supplies, allowing for a more simpler design. This minimizes the space you will need for a home office. A minimalist office design declutters the area of large and unnecessary items, and this approach allows for better focus and creativity in a more compact space.

 Sometimes home life can be overwhelming and may interfere with work, so home owners opt to keep this space clutter free to delineate from the busyness of their home’s regular living area. A minimalist office design can create a calm getaway and productive working environment, and by maintaining simple and essential elements, this creates a space better geared for focusing and thinking.

A Room for Zoom is In

Some people are doing more video conferencing than others and this space might be the main focus of their office design. If this sounds like you, you'll need to stage a space that's suitable for this way of conducting business. The best Zoom rooms are in quiet areas of the house with good lighting. You want your background to look professional with maybe a few books, some awards, or certifications, but the backdrop should also show off your personality as well, looking simple and tidy at the same time. Natural light or ring lights can help to enhance the light in the room, while the positioning of your equipment and chair will help ensure that your face is at the right level and angle to the camera.

Corner Desks/Closet Desks are In

As working from home becomes more and more common, you may have to use your creativity to find that extra space in your home for a home office. Corner desks in particular, are becoming more popular as people are desperate to set up a space to work ̀֨from. This allows you to turn your back on the daily living of your home and get to work with less distraction.

Another way to reclaim space is by taking the doors off that double closet you're not using and sliding a desk into this space. You know, the old bypass door that's in your dining room because the room was previously a bedroom. You could also have your contractor install a custom desktop as an architectural feature to make the best use of any closet space. With a shallow desk you can push a chair into the space and close a curtain on your mini-office to hide the desk and chair when not in use. And, if you ever needed to return the area back to its original storage glory, simply remove the desk, re-install the doors, and voilà, it’s a closet again.

Versatile Desks are In

The idea of a home office for many people was previously a small desk in the corner with a laptop and a chair. When everyone was forced to work from home during the pandemic, many dining room tables turned into makeshift offices collecting everything needed to work from home. Offices are ditching the dining room table and opting for more adaptable desks that help with the organization of space, keeping all of the things you need for work organized and in one place.

When you're getting ready for work, the last thing you want to do is move from space to space to complete various tasks. Side storage or a printer shelf built into the desk can help keep your office space more efficient and comfortable. Anything less will leave you frustrated and reduce productivity in the process.

Standing desks have also become increasingly popular as the desire for a healthy lifestyle has exploded. If you're considering making the switch, look for a desk with good wire management to keep cords tidy, as well as keyboard storage and cabinets. An anti-glare desktop surface will help reduce eye strain, and lifting mechanisms for monitors and other items can be very useful. An ergonomic work chair with this desk is now also a must.

Clutter is Out

People are opting to get rid of office decor items like fake plants, clocks, and knickknacks. These items have been proven to be very distracting and reduce productivity. When designing for an effective space, clutter just gets in the way. Sure, items such as picture frames and ceramic tchotchkes may look nice at first, but after a while they become dust collectors or take up valuable space. These items look terrible in the background of a video conference and people are preferring a solid color backdrop. Shelves have become less popular for this reason.

Large Home Offices are Out

In today's world, simplicity is key. People are moving away from large cumbersome office equipment and opting for a more simplified and functional design. Whatever the reason, the big and bulky has been swapped for something more sleek and modern. There was a time when everyone wanted a large and ornate wood desk to show off their status. It was a symbol of power and success to have your leather chair positioned just so behind the large, heavy desk with a giant library and a bearskin rug. But now, people are moving away from that lifestyle and choosing the low-key route. Whatever the reason, transitional-style desks are becoming more popular than ever before.

File Cabinets are Out

Bulky cabinets and traditional furniture are becoming increasingly obsolete. With more and more of our documents being stored online, there is simply no need for large, unsightly file cabinets or draws taking up valuable space in our homes. Most file cabinets have become storage for old office supplies because they are too heavy to take away. These file cabinets can go and belong at the curb on bulk garbage night, along with everything they contain, like the DVI and VGA cords you’ve been saving and refuse to admit that you'll never use ever again. 

Hopefully these tips bring to light some of the ideas in home office trends so that you have a clearer image of how to come up with the best design for what you need.

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