The luxuries of working from home

Do you work from home? Are you fortunate enough to stand with your delicious coffee looking out on your neighbourhood as they struggle to sweep snow off their cars? Is your office just a mouse click or conference call away? I have always dreamed about working from home but I fear that I would be too distracted to get much productive work accomplished.

Working from a home office carries its own specific challenges unless you are living alone with no pets. From the kids needing to borrow your printer for homework to the cat reclining on your keyboard there can be many distractions in your workday.

Your home office should of course be efficient with the items you need for day-to-day operations. Ensure that you have adequate supplies; buying in bulk like a multi staffed office works well and prevents interruptions in your day for supply runs. You always seem to run out of printer paper and the worst possible time.

Design your workspace to be calming and efficient, using soft neutrals and functional accessories. If your home office space employs a different palette than your home space it will put you into the work mindset much quicker. A diverse colour palette and functional decorative touches will trick the mind into ‘being at work’ and not in your family room. Avoid having a TV in your home work space as it is a huge distraction.

Are you right or left orientated? The items you use the most should sit on that side of your desk. I am left-handed so my phone and my files that I access regularly sit on the left hand side of my desk. I also have my phone situated so that I can look straight at my computer while I talk to clients to avoid my head being turned at a weird angle because I often use the phone and the computer simultaneously. Keep your most used items at your dominant hand side of the desk.

Lighting should be carefully considered by incorporating natural light, general lighting and task lighting. Natural lighting changes and varies during the day so general lighting and specific task lighting are important to avoid eye fatigue. A good desk lamp with tri-light settings offers you many choices of task lighting.

One of the most important things is to protect your home office against the onslaught of household clutter that can so easily advance. Avoid clutter at all cost. It may require you set up specific boundaries with your family members (whether human or four-legged) and kindly remind them that this is your work environment, not the family gathering place. If you don’t have the benefit of a door to your workspace, consider partitions using screens, shelves or room dividers which will help you feel like you are at the ‘office’.

It is important that you take an actual break during your day, remove yourself from the house and either go for lunch or take a short walk. It can be difficult when you have been in the house all day to reset your mind to family time while still being in the same quarters. When life and work occur at the same time and in the same space it can be beneficial to mark your work territory well and then enjoy your time in the family space of your home.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at klewis@carpetcolourcentre.com.

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