Command Central: Increase Productivity with a Home Office

According to a story on GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, the number of people who work from home at least half of the time “has grown by 140% since 2005, nearly 10x faster than the rest of the workforce or the self-employed.” Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are entirely revamping systems to further facilitate the work-from-home model, in part because of cost savings – estimated at $11,000 per employee – as well as to attract and retain top talent in the tightening job market.

Handle a work-from-home position efficiently, and it can be a dream come true in terms of fostering a satisfying work/life balance. Approach it haphazardly and working from home can be an unproductive disaster. So what’s the key to maximizing efficiency? For many people, it’s having a dedicated home office or work station. This, in turn, has led to an uptick in our clients requesting office space and workstations as they build a new home or undertake a renovation.

As with any project we undertake, the process of designing a home office or workstation begins with getting a sense of your specific needs. During your initial consultation, our designer will delve into exactly what you need from your home office. If you expect to meet with clients at your home, they may suggest ways to include a private entrance. Depending on the layout of your home, this may be as simple as installing a new exterior door, or repurposing a rarely used foyer or mudroom with an existing door. Should conference calls, or calls with clients, be part of your daily work routine, our designer will look for space that can be closed off from your busy (and noisy!) family. If you work from home only during the day, when everyone else is at work or school, a workstation in a common area such as a den or kitchen may suit your needs perfectly.

home office ideas

At this Cape Cod home, Judy Whalen, design director at our South Shore kitchen and bath showroom, collaborated with Kathleen Hay Designs in transforming what had been a little-used music room and library into a dedicated home office. A built-in desk stretches across the entire length of the windows, which flood the space with natural light, to take advantage of the views of the water. An entire wall is devoted to built-in cabinetry that hides a printer and office supplies. Open shelving keeps the cabinetry from overwhelming the room and creates display space.

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As is so often the case with summer homes, extra sleeping space for guests is always a concern, so Judy added a built-in daybed, with more storage underneath, to the opposite wall. It’s also the perfect place for the homeowner to enjoy an afternoon nap!

kitchen with built-in office

For this home “office,” Julie Lyons, our designer manager, created a workstation within the kitchen. Set off to one end, it’s out of the way of the kitchen work zone. A flip-down door acts as a desk that also allows the owner to “close up shop” at the end of the workday, another important consideration for many who work from home, especially when the office is part of a shared space. Ensuring that our clients can separate work from family time is yet another step of the planning process when designing a home office.

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For those who really only need to check email occasionally, or who are embracing the “standing desk” concept, a bit of customized cabinetry, such as is shown above, may be all that’s needed.

built in standing workstation

Another way of creating a standing desk is to simply set the desk at bar height, as our designer did in this incredibly space-efficient homework station for the homeowners’ teenagers. Barstools that are both attractive and comfortable can be moved to one side should the homeowner decide to “take a stand.” Drawers at one end of the L-shaped workstation hold files, and a floor-to-ceiling built-in hutch holds equipment and supplies.

We* incorporated a pair of floating shelves. Under-mounted lighting provides crucial task lighting. The shelves also display a few pretty pieces. Don’t underestimate the importance of aesthetics in your workspace. Decorate with things you love, and that will inspire you!

You may be thinking, “We just don’t have the room for a home office,” but our designers will find a way. Trust us on this one!

compact home office

In this home, at the Pine Hills in Plymouth, our designer carved out a functional, quiet, and beautiful home office within a butler’s pantry. Two tall cabinets flank the desk area housing small drawers, magazine and mail nooks, and closed shelving for all of the client’s organizational needs.

Whether you work from home fulltime or are a part-time telecommuter, or even self-employed, a home office will, in all likelihood, make you more productive. Fewer hours spent completing work tasks will leave you with more time for fun and family. Brilliant!

If you’re contemplating a remodel, visit our showroom to find inspiration and consult with one of our designers.

*In collaboration with CM Design and Archwright Builders