Since the Internet has become commonplace in our homes, the home office has become more prominent. It is now easier than ever to avoid the cubicle and work from home. But just like real life offices, the layout and look can impact productivity. So here are a few quick tips to help you out when designing your office.
The chair is probably the most important aspect of the room. This is where you will be most of the day, and a folding metal chair from a card table not only looks like shit, but is uncomfortable to sit on. Now you can spend up to a few thousand dollars on an Eames office chair, but there are great looking chairs for less than 25% of that. I would suggest expecting to spend $150 for something you really like and are comfortable in. Working 8 hours a day is 1/3 of your life, find something comfortable.
The desk will always be a matter of personal style, but you may have other things you need to take into consideration as well. Do you need a locking drawer for sensitive paperwork? How much desk space will you need for miscellaneous notes? How many monitors will you need? These are all things to consider, but you also need to figure out how much of the room you want to be dominated by the desk. Try to stay between 10%-15% of floor space for your desk. I have an 8’x12′ spare bedroom I use as my office, and I kept the desk a simple 3’x4′. That is 12 sq ft of desk for 96 sq ft of room, roughly 13%.
Color is easy to decide on. There are plenty of articles on paint color and productivity out there, and you need to decide what you want to accomplish with a space. Many studies suggest using a light color, like off-whites, which I personally hate. These colors make the room feel lighter and bigger, which help avoid the claustrophobic feeling you get from spending hours in an office. Men would also like lighter colors, light sky blue or a mint green which give you a relaxing feel.
Storage may also be an issue for you, but you don’t need to spend much here. Investing in simply a few sheets of plywood and some black pipe may be enough for shelves, and if you want file cabinets there are tons of office wholesale stores out there. Do a few internet searches before committing to any one storage style.
Media: Sometimes you need a TV at work. If you work as a stock broker, you want CNBC on all day. If you are a sports writer, you probably want to have ESPN on while you write to keep an eye on new developments. Running cable to your home office will let you at least have TV in the background, just make sure it is in an area that doesn’t distract you. You may also be the type who works best with music, so spending a few hundred on a iPod dock is a good call.