In today’s gig economy, there’s a growing trend in working from home. Whether that home based business is writing, designing, or product based there’s more freedom than ever before to be mobile with your career. Step into any coffee shop in New York of Los Angeles and you’ll notice half they clientele are furiously typing away on their laptops. But a coffee shop for your place of work isn’t conducive to productivity or keeping costs down. You may also have inventory that needs to be stored somewhere. That’s why we’re here with some helpful tips on how to add an office to your home and keep the work-home flow nice and balanced.

Needs

Before jumping straight to a decision on where to put your home office you’ll want to assess your needs. Do you have inventory you need to keep organized and stored somewhere? What kind of supplies do you use for your business; envelopes, scale, and stamp printer for mailing; paper, printer, pens, folders, and a filing cabinet? Knowing what you’ll need to stay organized and on top of things will determine where you should set up shop. You may be at the beginning of growing your business or at a place (and size) you never expected to be. Your needs will change as your business grows and you find your groove. If you don’t have all the answers just yet, that’s okay! Plan for a space that can expand as your business does. 

Location

Probably the most important thing about adding a home office is deciding where to put it. Location matters a lot. Yes, it’s in your home where everything you could possibly need exists (including a 24 hour kitchen), but you don’t want your life to suddenly become overrun with your work. There needs to be balance between the two. It’s for this reason that makes where you put your office matter so much. Some possibilities:

Your Bedroom: It may seem like a good idea, but it really isn’t and here’s why: your bedroom should be a place for rest and relaxation. It’s where you start and end each day. When you bring your office (your work) into the bedroom it muddies the line between work and rest. If you don’t keep the two separate it will feel like you can’t escape your job. 

Guest Bedroom: If you have a guest bedroom because you happen to have the space, but don’t have visitors – other than family – very often this might seem like the most logical choice. For a temporary space it can be perfect. All you really need is the right furniture, maybe build some custom cabinets or closets to fit your specific needs. But what happens when you do have guests and they need the room? For family it probably isn’t that big of a deal, but for other guests you’ll be infringing on their personal space and vice versa. You may also need that spare bedroom later in life. Again, for a temporary place it’s doable, but it’s probably not permanent. 

Attic, Basement, Garage: These three spaces are often the best candidates for converting unused spaces into more livable room for you and your family. But they’re not all equal, at least in being used for a home office. The attic and garage are your best bet as they have access to natural light. It will get really old, really fast, trying to work in a veritable cave inside your house. You could counterbalance this with regular walks around the block ever few hours (and you should take 10 minute breaks from your screens ever one to two hours). It really all depends on what you have available and what you need.

Separate Work Shed: If you’re in the business of crafting on a small scale, sometimes getting a space that’s completely separate from your house is the best bet. She-sheds are a thing and they aren’t just for crafting. Building a separate one-room, one-bathroom structure in your backyard (space and zoning codes permitting) is the optimal solution. You get to “leave” your house and keep your work completely separate from everything else.

Why Have A Separate Room At All?

If all you need is your laptop then what’s all the fuss about? Productivity. Honestly, our attention spans are already working at a disadvantage in how glued to our personal tech we are these days. Being in a setting where sure, you could be blogging about home improvement but there’s a pile of dirty dishes and maybe if you just get those out of the way you’ll be ready to go. Sitting on your couch in front of a tv? It’s white noise, you tell yourself. Yet there you are, five episodes of The Office later and you’ve still only written twelve words. 

Giving yourself a designated place to work helps you devote your focus to your work. That’s one of the greater challenges of working from home: distractions abound! When you add an office to your home, though, you have a specific place to sit, get in the proper mindset, and get to work. You can close the door on all other distractions and concentrate on building your business, meeting deadlines, and smashing your career goals. Then when the work day is done, you can close the door on that part of your life and go about the rest of your day with your family without the distraction of work.