When you start a home-based business or finally convince your boss to let you work remotely, the next step is designing a focused space for work. While many home-based workers start by setting up shop in their kitchen or living area, trying to be productive in the main living areas of your home is most often a mistake. Working from home requires a distraction-free space designed for all-day comfort, and the busiest areas of a home rarely fit the bill.
In addition to setting you up for poor productivity, working out of your living space makes it hard to maintain the separation between work and home that’s needed for a healthy work-life balance. That’s not to say that working from home is ill-advised, but rather, that it’s worthwhile to invest in a space dedicated solely to work. If you’re embarking on the journey of home-based work, these are some options to consider.
Create a small-space office nook
The best solution for small apartments and studios, an office nook can be located in the living room, kitchen, or even a closet, but the key difference between a tiny office and working from your kitchen table is that it’s a separate space designated solely for work. That means space to store paperwork without packing up every day and the ability to switch your mind from work to home when you step away from the desk. There are lots of great examples of office nooks that make the most of limited living quarters; however, while office nooks can work well for singles and couples, they’re not a good fit for homes with children. If sharing space with people prone to distracting you, an office with a door is a must. That brings us to the next option.
Convert a spare room into a home office
Spare bedrooms, dining rooms, basements, and other underutilized spaces are ideal candidates for home offices. If “spare room” is an unheard of concept in your home, it may be worth moving to a home with more space in order to give you a focused room for work. Look for homes with spare bedrooms with walk-in closets or finished basements with multiple rooms so you can designate a space as your office while maintaining a separate area for supply storage. If you live in an area where the only homes in your budget are under 1,500 square feet, that may mean researching neighborhoods and homes for sale where you get more square footage for your money. However, without a commute to worry about, you enjoy more flexibility in where you live.
Build a backyard office
While a dedicated room in your home is great for staying focused on the job, it’s not the best solution for home-based workers who need to see clients in their home office. After all, having clients traipse through your busy home to access an office hidden away in a spare bedroom doesn’t give the most professional image. If you’re routinely hosting clients at home or simply have the space outside but not indoors, consider constructing an accessory dwelling unit as your home work-space. Depending on the type of ADU you build, it may be more cost-effective than moving house. While a detached unit like a granny flat can cost nearly as much as a house, building an office above an existing garage or converting a shed into a compact home office is significantly more affordable.
Ultimately, the right location for your home office depends on the nature of your business, the space you currently have available, and your budget and willingness to relocate. However, while investing large sums into a home work-space may be a hard pill to swallow, it’s worth giving yourself a place dedicated solely for work. When you have a distraction-free environment to get work done, your home office becomes more than a way to avoid the commute. It becomes a means of boosting your productivity and, in turn, profitability.