During the past year we have all had to struggle to reinvent our workspace whether from a kitchen table or a dedicated office. Work from home isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and for many of those who operate their own business, it never was.
Workspaces need to do more than just look good — they have to perform. Contrary to popular belief, the trend of tech recreation room spaces have very little to do with productivity or performance either.
There are 3 major areas that need to be addressed in order to have a healthy workspace designed for optimal performance...girl boss signs and ping pong tables are completely optional.
I know this term gets thrown around alot but it is at the foundation of any good design, regardless if it is a high rise or your one room home office.
Observe the activities that you do throughout your day, such as screen time (laptop, desktop etc…), phone calls, video conferencing,any special activities unique to your profession
Do you require any special equipment or tools that are unique to your profession ( do you require layout space for samples, drawings, mockups etc…)
What are your storage needs? Do you have hard copies of files, books or manuals, special supplies (like photography backgrounds, marketing materials etc…)
How do you prefer to work ( sitting, standing etc..)
Wellness can be addressed in a myriad of ways. Here are a few ways that you can design your office with wellness in mind.
Does the location of your home office include natural daylight such as windows or skylights?
How is the ventilation and air quality in the space? Again, operable windows can be a big help.
How is the lighting in the space? Again, natural daylight can be a great lighting source. However, the best lighting design includes layering of light, overall (ambient) and task lighting.
Have you chosen furniture with ergonomics in mind? Ergonomics refers to how an object relates to the human body. And in this case, to yours in particular.
This is the part that usually comes to mind when the word “design” is mentioned. A space needs to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. While deciding on how your office will look, keep in mind several of the items below.
Do you have a strong brand identity? This could be for your own company or that of your employer. Your office is an extension of your brand or that of your employer.
If you don’t meet with people within your space (and this includes vendors), you have more freedom to “express” yourself.
Even if you don’t meet with people in this space, keep in mind that you will probably have even the occasional Zoom call. Therefore, you do need a small amount of space to exhibit your professionalism/brand, at least for a backdrop for calls. The good news is this requires very little space and can be set up once,so that you don’t even have to think about it afterwards.
Obviously each of these areas would require a deep dive but you get the idea. This is a simplified version of the same process used for a 100 square foot office or a half million square foot corporate office complex.
So, regardless if your work space is a corner of the dining room or a dedicated home office, each one of these areas can be addressed successfully. It is important to think of these larger overarching ideas before getting specific about colors, furniture and finishes. It’s the other way around. Answer these questions first, and then you will know what furniture finishes and colors you will need.
This article was written in partnership with getWise - a technology platform that provides on-demand expert advice for small businesses and women to accelerate their business or career.