Working Space in Our Home
More and more of us are working from home these days, but few of our homes have the space to accommodate an office. In a large house, the working area is often squeezed into the smallest room or the corner of a larger one. In a small house, of course, the situation is even worse, with office shoved into tiny, cramped spaces – not places that make for a healthy and effective working environment. What can be done? The key is to create a sense of space and a comfortable atmosphere wherever your office is sited, and to make the most of flexible office furniture and equipment. If it`s well thought out, even the tiniest space can become a functional, efficient and pleasant place to work.
THE TINY ONE – ROOM OFFICE
If you work in a very small room, think of ways to make it seem bigger. Do all you can to maximize daylight (install a skylight if you need to) and create highly organized office system so that you can eliminate clutter.
Choose a desk that fits neatly against a wall or in a corner, or – even better – get a worktop made up to fit your space exactly. Don`t waste the area underneath: use it for a filing cabinet (if it fits), boxes of books or computer equipment. Alternatively, invest in multi - level desk which, like terraced garden, has a number of staggered surfaces to give you a good amount desktop storage without taking up mach room.
This is particularly crucial in a mini office and, whatever storage system you choose, it should be very organized so you know where everything is and can put away your work easily. Built-in cupboards provide the neatest solution because you can shut your clutter away. If you have shelves, invest in uniform box files and storage boxes (label them clearly), so that when they are lined up they will look tidy.
In a small place it can be hard to accommodate all the technological kit, but do your best to keep it under control. Hide the printer under desk or in a cupboard (internal plug sockets would be very useful here), and stack up the rest as efficiently as you can. If you have little room to move, place your monitor on a pivoting arm so that you can easily change its position.
Bits and pieces
Paper, pens, diaries, notebook – the office is always full a clutter. Keep it at bay by only having out what you need storing the rest out of sight or in a row of baskets at the back of your worktop. One neat solution for coping with letters and messages (particularly if you haven`t space for an in - tray) is to create a giant pinboard in front of your desk (it could fill a whole wall if necessary). Keep it ordered and organized and you should never lose anything again.
If you haven`t got a spare room for your home office, consider where else you could create an effective working area. If you have high ceilings and a reasonable budget, think about constructing a mezzanine in a living room or bedroom. It needn`t be big to accommodate a work station and would give you a self – contained office space. Alternatively, if you`ve room, you could build an extra level at the top of the stairwell pr in the hall. If you have very little spare space, create series of floor – to – ceiling cupboards against a wall and enclose your entire office - bar the chair, obviously – within it. This way you can open it up when you are working and shut it away when you are not. Similarly the “office in a box”.
Many of us are forced to work in another room – at the end of the dining – room table, for example, or at one side of the bedroom. Doubling up a room`s functions like this will be a problem if you allow one role to intrude on the other, but if the arrangement of the room is planned carefully, it can work well. The office in the bedroom can be a good combination as the room`s functions won`t conflict (it can be one by day, the other by night), but make sure you can hide your work away once you have finished for the day (if you have open shelves, screen them off at bedtime behind a curtain). Good storage is essential (the floor – to – ceiling cupboards mentioned above would be perfect), and to make things easier for yourself try to incorporate flexible features into the structure of the room: a pull - down bed, perhaps, or a flap – down desk that can “disappear” when you need it to. If you haven`t the budget for foldaway fixtures and fittings, make sure you choose furniture adaptable enough to fit both roles: a plain desk that can double up as a dressing table, for example, or a bedside table – cum – filing cabinet.