Now that 2020 is over (can I get a WOOT!), we can start to look back and see what changes/trends will ‘stick’ and which ones may not. One thing we know for sure (especially in Niagara), HOME is kind of a big deal now. Having the right space, the right KINDS of spaces, and enough space for everyone is more important than it ever was before. Our Homes have become multi-functional.
So many people have transitioned to working from home, either part-time or full-time, fully away from office environments, I think it’s safe to say that many water cooler conversations will be missed for a while to come. This has its benefits and its drawbacks: while we may find ourselves with more time to get tasks done without the commute, we don’t have the same ability to create camaraderie with our co-workers through apps like Zoom. While we may be able to ‘zone in’ and concentrate more without interruptions – we may have had those interruptions replaced by other ‘demanding bosses’, our loved ones! While nothing can quite replicate the din of an office full of people, it’s vital to create a work space where you can really maintain that level of performance and motivation you need in your job when on your own. That means more than a ‘one corner of the living room’ shelf-desk, or setting your laptop up at the dining room table every morning. A dedicated space is key, and not every Home has a ‘built-in’ office, but some areas you may not have thought of as such before are primed for creating a creative work-from-home space.
Here are some of the best Work-from-Home Office conversion spots in a Home:
THE OFFICE SHED
2017 may have been the year of the ‘She Shed’, but 2020 was the year of the repurposed indoor-outdoor Office Shed. It’s a good thing that sheds had already been reimagined from their functional origins into a place to upgrade and spend some real time within, because with noisy family members taking over all areas of a house during a lockdown, sheds provided a welcome respite now with ADDED functionality. Pop a desk and chair in there, and during the warm months take your morning coffee out there to get ‘away’ and set up for the day. People have created some pretty impressive backyard offices, even insulating them and adding windows, and sheds can provide some pretty attractive office extras: natural light from being outside (of course you’ll want that window), shelter from the elements while still taking in fresh air, maybe a nice view of your garden or pool, and even improved acoustics for Zoom calls and recordings.
This may be a space that’s already been taken over with your newly purchase Home Gym equipment. But if not – and you’re able to fit those machines in the basement – the garage can provide a good, removed space to set up your work-from-home life. Of course, you’ll want to have hydro and heat in there – or at least be able to easily open and close the garage door as needed in the warmer months. As a utility space separate from the rest of your home, your garage can provide a good sound barrier for confidential phone meetings, and to keep the noise of the indoors out of your work zone. Add floor mats to create a cushion for your steps, use shelving racks for your binders and supplies, and move your heavy file cabinets in there without damaging interior walls by trying to move those bulky items in. Oh, and you can impress your co-workers virtually by having that ‘industrial chic’ look as your ‘background’!
THE ‘SPARE’ ROOM
Likely one of the first-considered spaces in your home, unless you have a full Guest Suite in that room with bed & decor that you’re just not willing to give up on yet. While it’s important to hold onto the things that we love to do when we’re not forced to stay away from people (we WILL have guests again!) – if you have been transitioned into a full-time at-home worker, that function has to shift upward on the priority list. If the only area at your Home available is this ‘spare’ room, and it’s currently housed by an empty bedset, it’s time to consider moving that set into storage so that you can fully utilize the space that a whole bedroom offers for your daily work life. Set up an equally nice desk set, with décor to match, and take advantage of the broad bedroom windows that you may not otherwise have had at your old workplace. Enjoy the new Work-from-Home life fully for what it gives you, and once we get back to the time when having regular stay-over guests is back – if they’re not willing to crash on your pullout couch, give me a call to find a slightly bigger, nicer Home that offers BOTH!
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