Can you believe January is almost over? The first month of 2021 is almost done, and there’s been a lot that’s happened over the last few months. If you’re like millions of Canadians, you’ve been working from home and, like a lot of people, you may be finding it challenging. The Government of Canada wants to make it a little easier on you with a $400 tax credit which is intended to offset the cost of expenses needed to make your home office usable.
Now, $400 obviously doesn’t go a long way in building a home office, but the intent is clear: it’s time to invest in a home office/workspace. With telecommuting rapidly becoming the new normal for grown-ups, and distance/e-learning becoming more prevalent for kids, having a functional and productive space in your home is officially essential.
Let’s talk about what makes a good home office space!
The first thing you might be thinking is ‘I don’t have enough space for a full-time home office’. This is probably the most common concern of new telecommuters. Their space was built to be a refuge FROM work, not a place TO work. That means it’s important to keep your work area separated from where you spend most of your time at home.
Ideally, this would be a completely separate and dedicated room in your home, be it a spare bedroom or attic/basement. Being able to build your workspace from scratch and having a full room to do so is the perfect canvas.
Obviously, not everyone has an entire room with which to work. Don’t have a spare room? It can be as simple as re-purposing a dining room, or finding ‘added value’ in the space you already have.
Use Your Space Wisely
Whether you’re redecorating a spare bedroom, repurposing your dining room, or even just designating a single wall or nook as your new office space, it’s important to use whatever space you set aside as best you can.
Not working with a lot of space? An important design rule when dealing with minimal floorspace is to build up by using wall space as effectively as you use floor space. This usually requires a little imagination, but this is also where you get to be the most creative!
Loosen the Purse Strings a Little
The problem with building a home office is that it’s unlikely to happen for free. You’ll have to spend on – at minimum – the cost of an effective desk and a good chair. This is where you don’t want to skimp; if you’re sitting multiple hours a day, you want something that is comfortable but offers good lower/mid-back support.
Anything beyond that is discretionary, but it all depends on your budget.
Make Your Home Office a Problem Solving Space
A great thing about building a home office is that it doesn’t just have to be a space to work. If you add storage features like bookshelves and drawer space, you can tuck away clutter from around the house without turning the space into a dumping room. Given that a lot of spare bedrooms end up as cluttered storage to begin with, solving your clutter problem is a great first step towards building your home office.
If your first and second priorities are a good desk and chair to make an effective workspace, good storage solutions are essential to a good foundation.
But Why Bother At All?
The reality of work for a lot of people is that you’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future. Love it or hate it, telecommuting is rapidly becoming the new normal for the workplace. With that in mind, think about how important it is for your home to be a refuge from your 9-5. It’s important for your peace of mind to have as efficient a division between your work space and your living space as possible.
Building an effective workspace is as much about enhancing your living space as it is building your working space. If you build a functional and attractive workspace, it will add to your living space rather than subtracting from it.