By James Hale
With more of us working from home than ever before, many people are facing the potentially challenging task of setting up a home office space. There are all kinds of things to consider when creating a workspace that’s both practical and conducive to productivity, but arguably the most crucial question to ask is: Where in my home should I set up my office?’
Even if you design and put together the perfect workspace that includes all the tools and equipment you’ll need, if it’s in the wrong place, you could limit your efficiency and output. Everyone’s home and working situation is different, so you’ll need to be adaptive in your approach, but there are some general guidelines you should stick to when making this all-important first decision.
Near a Window
Time and time again, research has indicated that we’re more productive, efficient, and even happier if we’re exposed to plenty of natural light. When it comes to our workspaces – and particularly our home offices – proximity to windows is absolutely essential.
You’ll likely be spending hours on end working in your office space. As such, you should position your desk or workstation somewhere that will provide plenty of access to daylight, even if this means sacrificing how much space you have available. If it’s a choice between a smaller workspace that is close to a window (or ideally one in a glass extension or conservatory), and one that’s larger but artificially lit, the former is by far the best choice.
Away from Distractions
There are a lot of things to distract us when we’re working, particularly in our increasingly interconnected world. Smartphones, social media, and recent additions to the home (e.g. internet-connected speakers) all pull us away from the task at hand. What’s more, the additional discipline required to successfully work from home is only made trickier by the presence of these distractions.
Things like social media are, unfortunately, always available to us. But when choosing where to place your home office, you should bear in mind how close it is to other distractions. This will differ for each individual; but if you know you have a penchant for tidying when you should be working, then setting up your office away from frequently untidy spaces is sensible. Similarly, if you find the allure of coffee and snack breaks irresistible, then choose a space that isn’t close to the kitchen. Other distractions – such as noisy areas used by younger (or older) family members – should also be avoided if possible.
In an Inspiring Space
We all have certain places in our home that we prefer. Sometimes it’s a corner we’ve taken pride in decorating; sometimes it’s a whole room; and sometimes it’s an exterior space. When choosing where to set up your home office, picking a space that you actually like is important.
Avoid rooms and locations that don’t spark any inspiration. You can always decorate and personalize your workspace later, but when you’re choosing which area to demarcate as your working territory, pick somewhere that feels cosy, inspiring, or generally pleasant. Bright, open areas are often good places to start, as are spaces with views of gardens or other outdoor environments.
In Proximity to Amenities
It might not seem obvious at first, but if you position your workspace somewhere at the other end of your home to things like the toilet, kitchen, or other places you visit frequently, you could be making your life more difficult than it needs to be.
For instance, if it takes you several minutes to walk to and from the bathroom, and you do this regularly, then over the course of months or years this could add up to potential days of lost working time. It might not seem like the most obvious decision, but think about choosing a space in your home that will make your working hours most efficient.
Somewhere with Enough Room
Depending on what you do for work, you might need either a lot – or very little – room. Be conservative with your estimates, and ensure you have plenty of room for all of the equipment you need. Consider the space you’ll require to move around freely, and to store additional things should the need arise. Measure each area you’re considering to make sure there’s room for a suitably sized desk, an ergonomic chair, and any other paraphernalia you’ll require.