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(Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2)
This series is a step by step visualization of the home office design process. The pandemic has made working from home a high priority for a vast many people. Therefore the home office has become one of our main interior design considerations lately. You may work from home full time, part time, or not at all. But you’ll benefit from having a dedicated area that provides focus and utility, while offering an atmosphere that inspires you to spend time in it. Consider it a worthwhile investment of your time to imagine your ideal home office.
I’ve written about habits in this blog before (here, here, and here). There is a good reason for that. So much of what I do as a designer is get to know my clients and understand their habits, both the ones they want to keep and the ones they want to change.
There is a concept I apply in my life known as the “only touch it once” rule. Examples of this are placing dishes in the sink, and then later moving them to the dishwasher, or throwing laundry on the floor, and then later moving it to a hamper — two steps instead of one. If you find yourself at the end of the day with a lot to tidy up, you may be creating work for yourself by needlessly doing tasks in phases. But it may also be that your space is not working for you. Make things easy by giving everything you need a proper home in easy reach of where it is used. Plan your design for your habits.
You can probably see that you will want to do inventory and shed some of your redundant items. If you have five staplers and several containers of pens, you can give away, donate, or recycle to reduce volume. In fact, if you have any two tools that are doing the exact same job, get rid of one. It doesn’t make sense to use up space storing two tools that do the same thing.
Let the most important items take center stage (what you need AND what you love). And consider this: your most important items will be crowded from your field of view by all the redundancies in your environment. Leave only what matters, so that you can design for your best use.
Practical considerations will inform the basic structure of your design. You’ll need your primary tools of course — computer, shelving, work station, reference library, task lighting, white board, drafting or design areas, and so on. But this list shouldn’t just be a series of items. What will really help is to identify problems in need of solutions. What are your recurring issues? Does your office chair become uncomfortable after a while? Do you have what you need when you need it? Are those things in arm’s reach? Does every item have a home? Are there currently things that don’t have to be there?
And of course, you should think about the look of this space. What colors, shapes, light, scents and so on comprise your most perfect work environment? Colored light can stimulate higher brain function, for example, so consider automated lighting or colored LED to bolster your productivity.
Whatever helps you be in the best place physically, mentally and emotionally can and should be considered a top priority. Do an image search for examples of your ideas to help you refine your preferences. Save the best ones to use when you diagram your space. You want to encourage your best self to show up for work each day. You want your environment to inspire and support you. Work is such a big part of life, so let it be pleasurable. You deserve it.
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