More and more American workers are working from home at least once a week, and it seems that the trend will continue. Whether you’re telecommuting to the office, or you’re working for yourself and you want to save on rental money, a home office is an important space, distinct from the rest of your home.
You want to be able to focus and be productive here. You want to have a space set apart from your other daily activities and from the distractions of other family members. You especially want all the tools that you need in order to get your job done available within arm’s reach. I believe that the best decor scheme for a home office is a minimal one. Minimal design can support all the things that you need the space to do, eliminating distractions and keeping you motivated and focused. Here are some tips for a minimalist home office.
Why Go Minimal?
Before we dive in, let’s take a moment and talk about what minimalist design really is. As this article explains, minimalism is removing unnecessary elements and winnowing a space down to its essential function. This doesn’t have to mean that minimalist design is devoid of any decoration or beauty, though. The real philosophy underlying the idea is that when we boil things down to their essential elements, we actually end up with something even more beautiful, since we’re able to see the bare lines that make up those things that we need.
Minimalism works so well for a home office because it eliminates frippery and distractions. One of the biggest challenges of working from home is getting distracted by other things. We tend to start thinking about some project or another than needs to get taken care of in the house, or we might find it harder and harder to resist the call of that video game when we’ve hit a stalling point at work. Minimalism strips the room of those distractions and gives us a space apart, where we can simply concentrate on work. So here are some tips for making it work for you:
Remove All Clutter
Your first step is to get rid of any and all clutter. If you have a room dedicated to being a home office, odds are pretty good that that space gets used for a lot more. It might also be a TV room, a storage space for old photo albums, the dog’s favorite napping place, etc. However, if you want to really make it a viable office, it needs to be that and only that. Take all the extra junk that you don’t need to work, and put it in the garage, a storage closet, wherever else. Removing all clutter can also mean getting rid of unnecessary furniture, decor on the walls, and even books in the shelves. In fact, you might not even need a bookshelf, unless you like having certain books for reference. You’ll know which items are actually fueling your productivity, but be honest with yourself and stick to the important things. This link has some more tips for creating a good study space.
I think that no office space is complete without a visualization space. Sometimes we need an area where we can sketch out our ideas as they’re formulating. It can also be a great way to keep track of tasks, projects in progress, and to-dos for the day. Your visualization space might be a large whiteboard, a chalkboard, or a corkboard. In any case, it’s the place where when your eyes drift away from your workspace, you can refocus on your overarching goals instead of getting lost in a daydream.
Minimal but High Quality Furniture
One of the major benefits of minimalism is that when you cut down your decor to its essential elements, you’re usually more able to invest in quality for those essential elements. If you have a room free of fussy extra items, you can instead identify those things you really do need, and go ahead and buy high quality. So, get yourself an office chair and a desk. Invest in a computer, and any extra tools you need, like a supplemental table, seating for visitors, etc. Get high quality that will last a long time and serve you well.
Take Breaks Outside the Office
We all need breaks during the work day. However, many people make the mistake of thinking that this justifies a putting TV in their home office, or distracting projects that have nothing to do with work. If it’s something that you can do while brainstorming for work, then go ahead and include it. However, if it’s something that completely pulls you out of the working mindset, save it for outside the office. You know what? It’s better for you to stretch your legs and take a walk around during work anyway. Just make sure that you set a specific time for your break and get back to work when the break is up.