Our lives have been interrupted for 18 months and we are all done with COVID. Unfortunately, COVID is not done with us. Companies have pushed back their return-to-work dates and remote work continues for many. If you have not modified your home to better support this need, you may be considering such modifications. Today I would like to discuss your options.
The first step is to identify an appropriate space. If any of the kids have grown up and moved out, that ‘extra’ bedroom might be a good option for a home office. The addition of a murphy bed allows your child or guests to visit, and when the bed is not in use it can be flipped up and out of the way.
Many homes have a space that the builder labeled a ‘bonus room’. This is often a ‘room’ without a door. In many houses I enter this is setup as ‘play space’ for younger children. With the addition of some framing and doors to control noise, that space becomes a room somebody can work from.
Another option is the designated dining room. COVID aside, many were doing less formal dining anyway. Outdoor kitchens and living space, great rooms, and open floorplans have made formal dining obsolete for many. The dining room often has multiple ways in and out. With the addition of framing and double doors this room can also become a quiet home office. With the doors left open you still have wide traffic flows, and the formal dining room can return once you are back at work, or when you list the home for sale.
One you have your designated workspace it is time to consider what you need or want in it. A desk or work surface of some kind is at the top of the list, as is a comfy chair. If collaborators will be present at times, or kids doing homework, you may need additional workspace and seating. Shelving and filing in some form will be required. Then an all-in-one printer, copier, scanner, which will need a space of its own.
All of this can be temporary, or you can have built-in shelving with filing below installed. We have built several faux fireplaces with a variety of non-flame ‘fires’ that added character to the workspace. With the addition of a TV above the mantel, some framed photos of the family and nice lighting, this room is equipped for a variety of uses.If your return to work is unclear, or you anticipate some form of hybrid at-work / at-home workspace need, it may be time to designate and configure a dedicated home workspace. If you have selected that space and now need doors installed for privacy, shelving built, or other help configuring this space so it suites your needs, know that Mr. Handyman has done similar projects for many homeowners like you.