By Tina Martin
Whether you work full-time from home or just need a space to tie up loose ends, a place where you can focus is a must. If you’re thinking about creating a designated office space — whether remodeling, converting or buying — here are a few design ideas to keep in mind.
Separate to avoid distractions.
Your environment can make a big impact on how well you work. You need the best atmosphere for productivity, motivation, inspiration and organization. Think in terms of bright light, colors that keep you energized and enough space for functionality as well as for refreshment. Many people choose a space near a window, as it can help you stay alert and relaxed, but this isn’t always an option.
One of the easiest ways to make a home office is to renovate an existing room. Consider whether you have a dining room you never use or a bedroom that can be refreshed. The master bedroom is typically the largest bedroom, so you have plenty of space to store inventory or set up extra furniture to meet with clients.
Avoid multiple purposes.
If your home office is also functioning as a laundry room, entertainment room or storage unit, you won’t be able to truly focus with other people going in and out. The space needs to be all about you, your work and what inspires you.
If you need more room, consider moving items into storage. For those with the long-term goal and financial means to purchase a home, this is your chance to research the housing market in areas that will let you have a dedicated home office. To give you a starting point, Redfin notes homes in New York City sold for an average price of $585K last month (hopefully better luck if you live outside of NYC!)
Buying a home, especially in an urban environment, may seem out of the realm of possibility. But there are ways you can offset costs, such as taking advantage of tax breaks and researching business loans for home-based businesses and entrepreneurs. Make sure that part of your research includes speaking with a financial advisor to create a realistic budget. This will keep you from touring homes that are beyond your budget, while also planning to scale up and out as your business grows. As SmartAsset points out, the session will cost between $100 and $300 per hour, but it’s money well-spent so you start off on solid ground.
Ensure access to all the tech you need.
Many people have the best of intentions when they convert a garage or attic into a home office. When it’s all said and done, they sit down and turn on their laptops – only to realize that they are too far from their WiFi router. In some cases they didn’t think through climate control and are forced to sit in too hot or too cold temperatures depending on the season. It’s also not uncommon to realize all too late that your home office is in a dead zone for your smartphone.
When you decide to renovate a garage, attic or shed into a home office, be sure your tech needs are a top priority. Address WiFi issues by testing your laptop in the space and purchasing a booster or additional services if needed. If there will be heating or cooling concerns, you may need to hire a contractor to install insulation or an HVAC technician to add on to your heating and cooling system.
Whether you are remodeling an existing room or creating an entirely new space, you have a lot of options to weigh when designing your home-based business office. Rely on your sound judgement when it comes to prioritizing and budgeting. Your business sense can guide your choices and set you up for success.