Working from home has become a new reality for many people, even if only once or twice a week. But even when the job requires in-person work, a significant amount of work may still take place at the home office.
And by choosing new construction, homebuyers get full license to create the perfect spaces to meet their organization, aesthetic, comfort and professionalism needs.
Before choosing paint colors, finish options or purchasing new furniture and equipment, create a wish list for the new-home office that factors in what doesn’t work in your current setup.
The wish list might include everything from a more attractive background for video calls and better lighting to seating for clients, customers or other visitors.
What’s under your current desk, chair or other workspace at the home office?
In many new homes, the home office can be set up either in a built-in flexible space, a loft, a dedicated office area or a room that’s considered a bedroom. Because carpet is often the standard flooring for bedrooms, decide early in the building process if any of the bedrooms may one day be an office and choose flooring accordingly.
A luxury vinyl plank or engineered wood floor can make for a cleaner, crisper work environment. Given their floating installation, these choices might also be as comfortable on the feet and legs as carpet when work calls for standing.
Plan to stand
Sitting all day is so 2019.
Standing desks not only improve posture and circulation but alertness. Several variations of the standing desk allow flexibility to each individual’s particular needs.
Basic, fixed-height desks stay at the worker’s standing height once locked in place; they can be adjusted but are best left for one person’s use.
Sit-stand desks are designed to be moved up and down during the day for periods of both sitting and standing. Some come with power options that make the transition less cumbersome, although manual sit-stand desks typically require only the use of a lever or crank handle.
Another option, the standing desk converter, turns any surface into a standing workspace. For those who’d rather not adjust an entire piece of furniture between sitting and standing, or those who need more surface area than a standing desk affords, the standing desk converter is a terrific option.
Determine each user’s needs before purchasing standing desks; keep in mind durability, the weight of the item and options such as tilting or maximum height the surface can be raised.
On the walls
Floating shelves add functionality to the home office, whether across the room, behind your workspace or on the wall you face from the desk.
If sturdy enough, a floating shelf makes an ideal place to mount a video camera or to keep tools easily accessible without taking up desk surface space. Photos, a small clock, framed inspirational quotes or even plants can add to the space while freeing up the desk.
Folks who are visual might even benefit from a whiteboard or corkboard above that shelf. The dry-erase markers and pushpins can go in small cups on the floating shelf.
If storage for papers and books is necessary, consider bookshelves for the wall behind you, where you can position work-related materials along with framed artwork.
For a simple and elegant look, speak to the builder’s design center about wall options such as built-in cabinetry and shelving that might even incorporate tile or molding.
Gadgets and devices
External monitors — whether mounted on the wall or standing on a desk surface — connect to computers or laptops and provide an alternative to staring at the same, smaller screen every day. Decide where it will go, measure for it and get ready to transform your workday experience.
Go wireless beyond the Wi-Fi and choose devices that connect to one another on your network. Devices can include headsets, earbuds, microphones, a camera with built-in mics, speakers, a keyboard and a mouse. Some devices combine many of these functions into one package.
Lighting, camera, action
Early in the building process, determine which side of the home-office space will collect natural light and at what times of day.
From there, weigh the benefits of direct and indirect lighting options that the builder can install, including recessed lights, track lighting, pendant lights or ceiling fans with lights. Position lighting to balance natural light if your work requires video calls.
Task lighting can considerably improve efficiency. Look at desk lamps with flexibility to angle the light directly on the work at hand or indirectly for improving the mood.
Speaking of mood, some people may benefit from indirectly positioned fixtures or lamps that accommodate full-spectrum lightbulbs and ward off sleepiness while working.
Next task for the perfect home office? Start your wish list.