More Canadians than ever before have discovered the benefits of working from home in 2020.
With so many professionals and business owners forced to stay at home during COVID-19 lockdown, many of us in Calgary had to remain productive in our work while also home-schooling the kids and looking after the home!
No doubt, many people working from home wish they had invested in a home office renovation.
Perching the laptop on a kitchen bench or trying to work from a beanbag is not ideal, is it?
If that sounds like you, the experience you’ve been through could be the jolt you needed to finally get serious about creating your home office.
Companies have realized that productivity can be maintained even when employees are based at home and some have started to encourage employees to continue to do that rather than coming into a crowded office.
There’s never been a better time to finally renovate that space and turn it into a home office that can serve you every time you need to work from home.
Here’s an extensive guide on everything you need to know to renovate your home office in 2020.
Before you start your home office renovation
Before you head to the furniture store to buy that desk and ergonomic chair and pick up a few tins of paint from the hardware store, there are some major considerations to bear in mind.
Some of these are obvious, others less so:
- What room do you want the office to be in?
- How can you maximize productivity from your new office?
- Would it be better in an entirely new space such as a room over the garage?
- What style of office do you want – a basic desk and chair or the envy of every other professional for miles around?
- Do you want to rent your office out when you’re not using it – in which case it will need to be detached from the home?
- Will you need any building permits? You can check this here.
The answers to these questions will determine what you are willing to spend on the project, as well as whether you can convert an existing room in your house into an office yourself or if you’ll need to call the professionals at Litwiller to make your new home office a reality.
The location of your office
For most Calgary homeowners, the choice is converting an existing space into an office or creating an entirely new space.
Most people opt to convert one of the following spaces into a home office:
Turning a spare bedroom into an office may be as simple as a DIY job. You may not change the basic décor but instead replace the bed and bedside table with a desk, office chair and a printer table, for instance.
If you are converting a basement into an office, it may require our professional building or design expertise as you will need to ensure adequate lighting, ventilation, communications, etc.
Creating an entirely new space over the garage is a great way to add value to your home and will require us to assess your spaces, discussing your requirements in full, and proposing solutions so that you end up with what you want and remain within budget.
You may have even grander ideas: a completely separate, self-contained area that functions as office space for you when you need it but that you can rent out when it’s free (more about this option below).
Major design considerations
Almost everyone considering a home office is looking for some basic and essential qualities:
- Privacy – a place where you can think!
- No clutter – you want to be able to find things
- Peace and quiet – especially important if you have children or noisy neighbours
- Comfort – you might be spending 8-10 hours a day there so your comfort is important
- A productive workspace that’s free from distractions
- Communications access – Internet, phone, etc.
The value you place on these factors will determine the major design choices you make. Here are some of the main considerations as you plan your home office.
Colours and artwork
Colours do affect your mood. Select a colour scheme that helps you get “in the zone” for work. You may want to promote a relaxed and confident mood – which colours help you achieve that?
Choose pictures and artwork that also help you get into work mode. Consider a dash of greenery in your office – indoor plants are a simple but effective way to “soften the edges” a little.
If you are converting a room into an office, storage may be important. You may want to stow or lock away anything that is not needed for work so that it doesn’t get in the way or distract you from being productive.
For most people, a clutter-free office means a clutter-free mind. Besides, you want to be able to find everything you need quickly.
There are plenty of creative storage ideas available from simple shelving or filing cabinets to custom-designed cabinets. The home office renovation team at Litwiller can help with ideas.
Lighting is important. You don’t want to be too relaxed that you drift off to sleep but you probably don’t want strip lighting either.
Ideally, you have some natural light entering your office and you position the desk by the window. If this is not possible, full-spectrum bulb lighting might help you achieve the lighting effect you need as it has similar properties to natural daylight.
Here’s where your space really starts looking like an office rather than a spare room. Choosing the right furniture will affect your comfort level and productivity.
Most offices require at least the following basic elements:
- A suitable desk – consider size, shape, materials, standing desk or seating only (adjustable laptop desks may work if you don’t want to be seated all day)?
- Ergonomic office chair – if you do plan to be sitting most of the time, your back will thank you for choosing the right chair.
A few communication elements are crucial for all home offices in 2020:
- High-speed internet access
- Suitable routers and modems
- Enough charging points for phones and tablets
- Surge protector to protect your equipment from power surges
- Printing/scanning capabilities
- Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in case of outages
Create an office rental suite
If what you really want is a high-end office where you can invite clients and show them what a beautiful workspace you have, we can help you achieve that. We know because we designed one for ourselves.
- A private and separate entrance
- No adjoining door to the main property
- A kitchenette
- A bathroom
- It is easily converted into a loft-style suite or nanny suite too.
Obviously, home office renovations like this require space and investment. However, the payback can be excellent. It not only adds value to your property – but it can also provide a rental income.
If the office is completely detached from your home or connected but with private access, you could consider renting it out to other professionals if and when you don’t use it.