For the first time I am sharing a series of fabulous guest articles written by my former executive producer of Living Large, Andrew Ellenberg. Enjoy!
Deborah rises to the sound of soothing nature sound effects and meditation music gently nudging her to ignite the day. She tells Alexa to turn on the shower and warm up the water temperature to the perfect temperature. As she prepares for another round of carpe diem and Starbucks Espresso, she watches her favorite YouTube newscast in the foggy mirror.
After she pushes a button to rotate dressing options from her wardrobe to her fingertips, she is camera ready to step into her home office, which doubles as a Television and podcast studio.
Once Deborah is ready to kick off another exciting business adventure, she tells Alexa to raise the twin monitors for her computer, silently ascending from under the table in response to her command. Alexa reads her priority emails delivered to an exacting standard of relevance and value per her specifications.
A pleasant audio notification reminds Deborah about an online meeting that she needs to join in ten minutes. The video conferencing app kicks in and initiates the call. Compact Sonos speakers sneak into view.
The green screen pops up; she puts on her anchor face, and two cameras go live. Welcome to the future of home offices!
As we move from temporary home offices to permanent ones, scenes of hilarious real-life photos of video calls conducted from playrooms and makeshift ironing board desks are becoming less relevant.
Corporate executives and owners realize the benefits of foregoing lease renewals and expansions and instead choose to go virtual. Often seen as a way to reduce costs, it can also increase efficiency and productivity. As businesses have become more globalized, the need for physical office space continues to diminish.
Home Offices Aren’t Going Away.
The September 2021 Gallup Poll found that as many as 45 percent of American workers now work from home permanently. That means many of us never want to go back to the office and are finding solutions to make working from home a phenomenal experience.
Big tech brands Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Square, Facebook, Dropbox, Slack, empower employees to work from home and offer flexible work schedules to accommodate family time. As the most innovative sector in the market, tech is always ahead of the curve.
We’re going to take an educated guess here. You are probably motivated more by freeing up windshield time for date night while the kids are getting spoiled at your mom’s house than by reducing your carbon footprint.
Let’s be honest. You can’t work all day and then go home. Your home office needs to be where you do your best work 24/7, so it must accommodate whatever crazy schedule life throws at you.
Do yourself a favor. Get some white noise headphones because they will help minimalize distractions from other conversations so you can maintain deep focus no matter what is going on around you.
If you have children at home, try to set aside some dedicated time when you can arrange to provide entertainment for them, so you avoid distractions. And if you find yourself working odd hours, don’t be afraid to let your family and friends know so they can adjust their expectations accordingly.
Home Office Design is Built into Home Design
Karen Mills, an internationally respected interior designer and Founder of Interiors by Design, says, “Now that people are working at home, they want their office to blend into the living space. They don’t want their homes to look like corporate offices, so all the ugly office equipment must disappear.”
For those using a guest room as an office, the Murphy bed is an excellent choice. Create the desk space when you need it while still having a place for guests to sleep. Soundproofing rooms is another design choice people are making; homeowners want a place to work quietly, close the door at the end of the day, and live in the rest of the house without being reminded of work.
Now that working at home is permanent, workers are decorating home offices. Gone are the pandemic days of sharing the playroom with kids. We’re creating Zoom rooms or spaces in the home where we can do our video calls uninterrupted. But if the dog wanders into the studio and barks during a call, no one cares.
We all understand the challenges and beauty of working at home. We’re adding color, art, photos, plants, and lighting to our permanent workspaces. We’re investing in office chairs like we would a new couch or bed because we want to be comfortable while we work.
Families make space in playrooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms for work. Sometimes it means sharing space and dividing it with a partition. Room dividers are back in fashion; you can use them as an accent wall or add color to an office setting. No one needs to know that’s the guest bed behind you!
When you’re not working, how does your home function? It’s an important consideration, especially if you’re thinking of buying a new home or renovating your current one to be more functional for your lifestyle. Creating a work-life balance seems to be the new American Dream.
Meditation and Exercise: Rooms for Work-Life Balance
To support work-life balance, we’re rethinking how the home functions for our families. Dining rooms are now meditation and exercise spaces. Music is piped throughout the house to create a sense of peace or to pump up the energy on long workdays.
Patios are now offices. Pets are coworkers who join us for at-home yoga classes and an occasional video call—each of these needs a convertible or dedicated space that works for you and your family.
As you consider your next home, think about how you want to optimize your space and what you want the house to be for your family. The remodeling options are virtually unlimited, from home offices to rooms for work-life balance.
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