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Home offices have gone from nice to have, but maybe not essential, to a must for many homeowners, causing them to think about what makes a home office look good, function well, and be Zoom ready.
Home offices are so important to buyers now, that one recent survey showed more than half are willing to spend $10,000 more for a home with an office space.
Given that long-term investment, it pays to know how to create an environment where your productivity and creativity are at their peak.
Lights, Color, Action
The real estate adage about “location, location, location” applies to your home office, too. Some people just need their favorite couch or chair plus a laptop, and that’s their office. Others need a room with a door to block out noises and assorted distractions, including the kids playing a loud video games or the dog who wants just as much attention.
In between, there are people who like the concept of adding a modern desk and lighting in a bedroom, breakfast nook, or other area.
In fact, some real estate experts are predicting that in the post pandemic ‘new normal’ we’ll start to see a trend of smaller home offices, another home management area with a desk, and a learning space for kids in their rooms.
No matter which option you like for your new home office, choose a space with plenty of natural light. Natural light helps bring life into the space. And, for video conference purposes, people typically look best in natural light. Views of nature can also help inspire and connect you to the world beyond your home. Just don’t position yourself in front of a window during a video call, or you’ll be hard to see.
Contrasting color is an essential element to look your best on Zoom. All skin tones are warm. The wall color in back of you should ideally be cool, such as greens or blues. In fact, for a home office space you really can’t go wrong with any blue. Think of a pair of jeans. It goes with everything.
Then there’s the matter of office furniture. For most people – of all ages by the way – the dark, heavy, executive office look is dead. They typically want to skip ornate desks for something more approachable. And that’s a great idea. You need to feel comfortable as you work, and a more laid back vibe created by lighter, less formal furniture is a great way to achieve that.
Don’t want to invest in a new desk at all? A stylish dining table placed perpendicular to a wall with comfortable chairs along one side can make a fine office space. When you’re ready to invite the family in, children or teens can tackle homework at one end while you finish up a project at the other.
The Home Office Backdrop
Surround yourself with things you love, and position one of those pieces as your Zoom backdrop.
Rather than showing a cluttered wall or bookcase, consider positioning your device so viewers see a piece of art, a colorful basket, or another item on the wall that shows your personality. The idea is to give people a way to connect with you when we’re all craving more social bonds.
Organize Better Tech to Make Work Easier
The last thing you want during a virtual meeting is the message that your internet connection is unstable.
One solution to potential Wi-Fi problems is a mesh Wi-Fi system. Mesh Wi-Fi allows your signal to originate from multiple locations in your home, rather than a single spot. An eero mesh network, as one example, provides a main router plus a series of beacons that can be strategically placed throughout the home. Each beacon jumps the signal to the next, helping it navigate around walls and down hallways.
Another tactic is a hardwired connection. I know. You’re thinking ‘Isn’t everything wireless now? Wireless connections have opened up a whole new world of possibility for our tech devices, but a hardwired connection will always prove to be faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi.
Experts recommend an Ethernet based data connection for a stationary computer, printer, or smart TV. A hardwired device is also less susceptible to hacking or other privacy concerns. And to put my interior decorator hat back on, both the Eero and its beacons, along with other mesh Wifi systems from Google and Netgear are rather stylish, and look a lot nicer than those bulky routers the cable companies used to dish out.
Now that you can stay online without interruption, it’s time to consider organizing your home office with some new, improved gear. Here are some suggestions:
A network-ready printer with a document feeder on top so you can easily scan large files directly to an email address. (In a pinch, try an app such as Genius Scan that lets you to take a photo of a document and turn it into a PDF.)
A surge protector to shield your computer from lightning strikes or power surges.
An external hard drive or cloud storage service – DropBox is an excellent solution – for backing up files.
A USB Hub, allowing you to charge your phone, tablet and more all at once on your desk. Consider one that includes an organization station that will also allow you to neatly store pens, pencils, sticky notes and more rather than having them strewn all over your desk.
A voice assistant is helpful for setting reminders, creating meeting invites, finding quick answers to questions, taking a call, or even adjusting the temperature and lights without interrupting your work. Whether you choose Google Home, Amazon Echo or another option is up to you!
Whether you want to post every artistic vignette of your workspace on Instagram or just want to easily find that piece of paper you dropped on your desk a minute ago, a clean, organized, well-equipped home office is an asset. Taking the time to turn it into a space that supports you will be well worth it.
Need help with home office design and/or home office organization? Book a free 15-minute Zoom call here, so we can discuss your needs and how Just Organized by Taya can help you.