It wasn’t so long ago that homeowners thought about how to make their home better suited to working only “occasionally” from home. Little did we know that in 2020 everything would change, and most of us would be doing most of our work there, trying to manage everything without leaving the house.
While things are starting to look up, a survey by the Greater Washington Partnership found that it might be summer 2021 before most workers for private employers in the Washington, D.C. area can return to the normalcy of their offices. Maybe you’ve even decided that not having to commute is actually pretty nice and you’re ready for a real dedicated home office.
If you’ve decided that 2021 is the year to remodel your work-from-home space to be a more efficient place to get things done, here are 4 ideas to inspire you and keep you on track.
1. Finish It Up
A finished basement is almost always the lowest cost living space you can add to your home. It’s space you already have and finishing it to meet your needs can give you room to both work and play. It’s an especially good solution for a private home office away from the family activity in the rest of the house.
Finishing your basement requires a professional look at some specific construction details, such as making sure there are no moisture issues and how to add plumbing and adequate lighting. With the right planning, it can become the perfect place to get your work done.
2. An Addition Can Subtract Stress
If you have a lot that is large enough, a home addition is an excellent solution for a home office. Designed as a suite with a separate entrance and a full or half bath, an addition creates a space that can later function as an ideal in-law suite or extra family/entertainment room. Luxury features such as built-in cabinetry, fireplace or a vaulted ceiling can give the office an impressive ambiance today.
3. Lighten Up
Working remotely almost definitely means using some kind of video conferencing. One of the best things about an office at home is no overhead fluorescent lights! The one thing that everyone has realized in 2020 is that lighting and what’s behind you are very important. Even when you’re not on a video call, the right lighting will brighten your mood and help you stay focused. Put your desk near a window for natural light, then supplement with a desk lamp, pendant lighting and task lamps that add illumination right where you need it. Make sure that it’s all arranged to avoid putting annoying glare on your monitor.
Screen application view of diverse businesspeople talk brainstorm on video call on computer gadget, multiracial colleagues have webcam conference, engaged in web work briefing or team online meeting
Your backdrop shouldn’t be just a bare wall but keep it as simple and neat as possible. Built-in bookcases and plants are always good backgrounds, and make sure your lighting is balanced, so your face isn’t in shadows.
4. Work from a “Home Away from Home”
If you want a really quiet place to work from home, away from the “comings and goings” of family life, consider a detached home office. It may be a room over the garage or a small out-building similar to a guest house that’s a private workspace just steps from your door, combining the convenience of a home office with the physical (and psychological) separation that is often missing when you work from home. Some areas around Metro DC have – or are considering – zoning that allows for a detached ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), depending on its size and use. You’ll need to find out if they are allowed where you live because they are strictly regulated by zoning and building codes in each county or town.
If you need a solution for upgrading your work-from-home setting, we can help. Whether it’s re-imagining a tech-ready room with home office built-ins, putting on an addition, or finishing the basement, we’d love to discuss how we can create a home office space that suits your style and makes your “new normal” also more comfortable and efficient. Just give us a call!