Recent research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that about 1.3 million people in Australia work primarily from home, with another 2.2 million bringing work home on a regular basis. This means that, overall, around 1 in 3 people in Adelaide are using their homes as work or office spaces in one capacity or another.
For some, working from home is a way of avoiding a lengthy or time-consuming commute every day; others like to combine working both at home and at the office as a way of achieving a better work-life balance and managing childcare and family commitments; while for some Australians, bringing work home is a necessary evil, as the demands on their time mean they can’t keep on top of everything during a conventional eight-hour working day.
Regardless of the reasons why your home also doubles as your office, or the amount of time you spend working at home, for most people sitting at the kitchen table or on the sofa with your laptop on your knees isn’t a long-term, viable solution. Anyone using their home as a workspace needs somewhere that is practical and comfortable, and that also blends in with the look and feel throughout the rest of the house.
To create the ideal Adelaide home office, it may be a case of redesigning and re-configuring an existing living space in order to create a place to work, or you might be in the position of being able to add a home extension that gives you a discrete, dedicated place to work from.
Effectively using the space available to you is the key to creating a functional, yet attractive, home office. However, achieving this doesn’t necessarily require enormous amounts of room — even the smallest space can, with good design, intelligent remodelling and the expertise of an experienced home renovation builder, incorporate a work space. It’s a matter of deciding where you want to locate your home office, and then how you can make the most of what you have.
A multi-purpose space should be designed differently to a room that is only an office; for instance, if your work area is located in a spare bedroom, you need to decide whether it’s going to be primarily an office or a place for guests, as this will influence how it’s configured, particularly with regard to shelving and storage. You may also want to think about including a screen or panel glides as a way of effectively demarcating the space. If the space for your home office is unusually shaped or particularly confined, such as in a hall, wall recess or under the stairs, we can help you to create design solutions that will mean you are using every bit of space constructively.
And no matter what sort of work you do at home, or where in the house you do it, a desk or workstation is likely to be a central component. Where a desk is situated is crucial to the design of any home office, especially one that’s created out of a confined or small space, as there may not be any alternative as to where it’s positioned once your home office renovation is complete, so plan for this carefully in the design stage. There is also quite a vogue today for stand-up and adjustable height desks, so if you already have or are considering one of these, plan ahead so this can be accommodated too.
If you are in the position of being able to add an extension to your Adelaide home and in so doing create a new office from scratch, with our experience as home extension builders we can help you to design a workspace that meets all your needs, blends in with the rest of your home, and is also energy efficient.
The lighting in a home office is a crucial consideration. If you are having a new office space built as part of a home extension, or creating one out of existing living space as part of a home renovation, finding ways to utilise natural light is essential, whether it’s a window, a glass or sliding door, or a skylight.
For those who put in long hours during the day at their desk, working with natural light is helpful not only for state of mind and well-being, but it’s also very important financially — especially with South Australian power bills now rising to become the highest in the world. As the home office worker not only uses power in the evening when the family is all at home, but also throughout the day as well, any way that natural light can be incorporated into your design to cut down on electricity use during the working day certainly makes good economic sense. Having a view beyond the confines of your work space, through a window or door, is also important when you’re putting in those long hours.
However, home offices have other very specific lighting demands as well. For those working at desks and on computers, direct overhead lighting that doesn’t throw shadows across your keyboard or screen is extremely helpful. This may also need to be supplemented with a desk or standard lamp if you need extra illumination, or if your home office is located in a shared space in your house where others at times may not appreciate your having the main overhead lighting on. It is also important to bear in mind when you’re planning your lighting configuration that there is always enough light on your desk or workspace when the rest of the house is dark, as many home workers aren’t always on the job during conventional business hours and so work into the night.
The biggest downfall in most home offices is that there is not enough storage space, and so papers, files, etc., soon spread from the desk, to the floor, to other rooms… But at the same time, many people work from home to escape the confines of the conventional office, so are filing cabinets and other business storage solutions really appropriate?
Instead, when you are planning a home office extension or renovation, try to incorporate into your design built-in storage that avoids the intrusive corporate look. Talk to us abut how to plan and use storage effectively, and in such a way that it not only meets your current needs but can incorporate further expansion as well, so that the problem of not having enough room doesn’t come up again as soon as you get settled.
A different sort of problem can also arise if your home office is located in shared space, such as in a spare bedroom or as part of the central living area. If this is the case, you should consider shelving and storage with doors so that papers and files, etc., can be closed away and therefore out of sight of visitors — or away from the curious hands of young children!
As home office renovation experts, we can design and build tailor-made storage solutions, like floor-to-ceiling shelving, cupboards and bookshelves, that help you to make the most of every available centimetre of space.
A home office is likely to need a greater number of power points than other rooms in the house to accommodate a PC or laptop, printer, phone, desk lamp, etc. Therefore, when you’re designing your home office space, plan where it will be most efficient for these to go so that you can avoid the need to have cables and extension cords trailing all over the place, as these not only clutter up the space but also pose a safety risk as well.
If you’re looking to create the ideal Adelaide home office, whether you’re renovating an existing space or building a separate extension, talk to us. We have been renovating and adding extensions to homes in Adelaide for more than thirty years, and have the experience and expertise to help you make the most of the space you have available and create a work environment that you will make you glad you’re not in the office! You can call us on 8281 6010 or email us to find out more.