Who would have thought an office space in a home would be a must? In bygone years, some larger homes included an office, but it was oftentimes more for “show” than regular use. Today, in large part due to the Coronavirus pandemic, office space in the home is essential.
As you will see in Part 5 of our series, even an unused nook or alcove location in the home can be turned into a functional workspace. Repurposing a bedroom or section of that room to create a dedicated work area has also become commonplace. With the reality that folks can successfully work from home, this will continue to be a priority and a small office, now coined a “pocket office,” is essential. Here’s a brief look at the changing face of the home office.
Technology influences our daily lives and has a huge impact on home design. Take the home office. Years ago, it was a statement of power: A big, masculine room with hunting scenes, green walls, a leather sofa, and a big wooden desk. It was usually right off the foyer – perhaps to boast that the owner of the home was big, busy, and important.
Do home buyers need (or want) a giant home office? Perhaps not, but with more men and women working from home these days, the home office is in high demand. Whether part-time, full-time or just flex hours – having a dedicated workspace is crucial. Let’s face it, while working from the sofa or porch can be indulged from time to time, many find that a dedicated space enhances productivity – particularly for families raising children. For those needing to balance family and work life, this is where the Office Alcove comes into play.
Where the Office Alcove is placed largely depends on how it is to be used. I like the Office Alcove near the kitchen for many reasons. For working parents raising children (especially single parents), being isolated from the rest of the home is not an option. Placing the alcove near the kitchen allows parents to be close enough to the action but just far enough away to keep someone from placing the pizza box on top of the utility bills. Mail can collect here “safely” until we have time to sort through and deal with it. The Office Alcove is also a place for kids to do their homework.
While an Office Alcove can be placed in various spaces throughout the home, let’s leave it out of the laundry room. Not only can the space be loud and messy (despite our best efforts to keep it tidy), it’s rather insulting to show a prospective buyer that their place to work is in the laundry room. You’re better off dedicating space for pets there!
-A six-foot by six-foot space is a great size to start with – bigger if the floor plan allows.
-Make sure there is ample light. If there are cabinets or shelves in the room, I like under-cabinet light for task lighting (that way your head doesn’t cast shadows on your work).
-Don’t forget to place power outlets or power strips above the counter so plugging in electronics doesn’t require crawling around on the floor searching for the outlet in a dark space.
-Storage is also critical for paper, files, and other materials.
-Lastly, I like the idea of a door to close the space off when you’re done working – or perhaps hide the organized chaos of half-completed projects
The beauty of the Office Alcove is that it is a fairly simple option to incorporate into a floor plan. Many home buyers will appreciate the functionality of the space and see it as an opportunity to work from home without upsetting the feeling of “home”. In fact, my Alcove is one of the only places I can sit down and focus on writing these blogs!
Housing Design Matters Blog