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DesignNY Magazine

Solutions for the home office are in greater demand than ever before.


March 31, 2021

Home Sweet Home Office

by Karen Marley for Design NY

You go to work. You live at home. That was americans’ stalwart belief up until mid-march of 2020. Before the covid-19 outbreak, only 3.2% of the entire U.S. workforce worked remotely, according to global workplace analytics.Several weeks later, a gallup poll revealed that number had exploded to 62%.

Seemingly overnight, laundry rooms, kitchen tables, bedroom corners, and living rooms became the central work hub for America’s workforce and students. And now, many experts predict remote working is here to stay. Here are the latest home office insights.

OFFICE IS A CONCEPT

Home offices are a way to make a better use of pockets that are not used to their full potential. To find them, Design Build Manager and licensed architect with New Energy Works, Ty Allen, recommends removing the preconceived notion of “office.”

“Stop naming spaces. Base it on the functions of what you want to accomplish,” Allen says.

Years ago, Allen designed a home that needed a workspace, but lacked the budget for an additional room. He got creative with a hallway. Bumping out the wall and adding a desk-height window established a pleasant alcove with a river view. Adding a barn door at the hallway’s end provided on-demand privacy. Since then, Allen has created many more similarly inspired alcoves. ”Many people have these spaces in their home right now,” Allen says. “You find them by thinking about positioning and arrangement.”

Other considerations may be a pocket in the mudroom, converting a hallway or bedroom closet, or taking over a portion of a spare bedroom. If your work from home will be consistent or permanent, a dedicated space may be something to include in the planning phase of a new home or remodel.

FEED CREATIVITY


Interior designer and owner of Meme Hill Studio and blogger of memehill.com, Amie Freling, believes an effective home office inspires creativity. Some of her recent office work includes two gorgeous interior projects which were designed by The Indē Design Studio of Rochester, New York and decorated by Freling.

“I use a lot of feng shui in my designs,” Freling says “It’s about how you feel.”

Functionality, appearance, and comfort are Freling’s cornerstones.

Her recommendations include:

Positioning.
Your back should not face the door. If you have a dedicated room, angle the desk to provide a softer, inviting entrance.


Privacy.
Doors, room dividers, or even curtains can create privacy.


Displays.
Hide what you don’t want on display (printer, file, or safe) with cabinets featuring closed bottom drawers. Use shelves or bookcases to exhibit what you enjoy — books, photos, or a collection. • Walls. Be daring! Try an inspiring, bold color, use chalkboard paint, or add a bulletin board covered with fabric. Freling loves using exciting, textured wall coverings (she recommends York).


Walls.
Be daring! Try an inspiring, bold color, use chalkboard paint, or add a bulletin board covered with fabric. Freling loves using exciting, textured wall coverings (she recommends York).


PARTS AND PIECES


Millington Lockwood Director of Business Development, Melissa Brinson, has observed a seismic shift. Traditionally, Millington Lockwood specializes in creating productive work environments for teams of people at a business. Now it’s educating individuals on how to achieve this at home by identifying workspace elements that empower a person to do their best work.

Flexibility in the height of a desk and chair can eliminate back and wrist fatigue. Ergonomic solutions like foot stools, floor mats, and monitor arms also improve overall comfort. Adjustable stand-up/sit-down desks can improve physical and mental health. Herman Miller, Millington Lockwood’s main line of furniture, just rereleased its iconic chair solutions specifically designed for professional gamers.

Lighting is critical and workspaces would ideally have natural and task light (or an engineered equivalent). Correct lighting also improves clarity and aesthetics during video calls. Additionally, physical proximity to things needed for the core setup will encourage efficiency and good storage solutions can maximize the use of a small space. Other options can increase a space’s functionality such as a parent’s work desk with a pullout extension for a child’s homework station.

“Home office elements are tools for your organizational productivity. Be comfortable. Be healthy. Then you can be more productive,” Brinson says.

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