Core77 discussion boards moderator PackageID (Justin Coble) recently posted an interesting (and likely relatable for many of you) request on the boards:
"I am about to start a new gig, and I will be split between working in the office and at home. I have never really been a working from home kind of person, so I need to set up a home studio. I have planned to take over my basement and wanted to reach out to all of you out there that have home studios to see what you would say are the 'must haves' when it comes to being productive, comfortable, and inspired.
I will be doing service/UX design work. My plans are to of course have a large desk/workspace, plenty of gator board for post-its and area to pin things up. And have installed new lighting to make the space nice and bright. Any info you can shoot my way would be super helpful and much appreciated. Pictures would also be awesome."
By David Sipress for New Yorker
The responses to PackageID's question have been pretty unanimous so far. The overall consensus is that when working from home, it's important to distinguish between "work" and "home", even if there is no physical difference. For example, discussion board administrator yo (Michael DiTullo) chimed in with the following response:
One of my good friends has been running a small design studio from home for about 15 years. One tip he taught me was that you still need a "commute". For him it is a 10 minute bike ride to a coffee shop that is further away. When he comes back he is "at work".
My other recommendation is a good HiFi! I'm biased here based on my last gig but one of the coolest things about working from home is you can crank the stereo and get lost in the work.
I'd also recommend getting some big gator board sheets (usually come in 3'x6' or 8' I think) so you can pin stuff up and move it all around easily.
Moderator NURB (Chris Haar) added to yo's advice, mentioning that it's also important to separate your workspace from the rest of your living space to maintain your productivity and sanity:
A strict work schedule, and a way to close yourself off from the rest of your house. I find working from home to be very distracting if I can't do it at a certain schedule, and if I can't eliminate the other distractions (house projects, family members, etc.)
Also, if you're really going to take over your whole basement for actual work, keep tabs on exactly what you do down there. If you are hoping to expense some of the cost of having a home office talk to a tax accountant about how to go about it properly.
Some contributors even included photos of their spaces to support their advice, like rkuchinsky who makes a strong case for good furniture. We see you with your Eames Lounge and Ottoman!
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I've been working from my loft for 11 years. Just recently moved into a house and moved the "office" along with it. Here's my thoughts-
1. Storage. Never enough storage for papers, samples, supplies, books, etc. Built out a 3x set of Ikea Pax + had a custom set of Rakks Aluminum bookshelves in the loft and still had to sometimes find places to hide things or store samples off site at the old loft. Vintage Herman Miller vertical filing was the best (also had vertical files in the vintage HM desk)...New room in the house has less immediate storage, but there is overall more room in the house.
2. Good furniture! One of the best things working from home/for yourself is you can pick all the furniture. No more having to make due with crappy task chairs, beige desks and standard looking stuff. In my loft, the workspace was part of the open concept 1400sf loft so everything aesthetically blended. You are more likely to want to "go" to work if work is a nice looking place!
3. Change in perspective. Your work area should be only for work, not double duty for living room, etc. My last loft office was technically part of the same room, but out of the way and faced a different direction. Also had the pot lights wired on a separate circuit so I could turn off the work area lights when I was done for the day.
Do you have any tips for how to create the most productive work environment at home? Suggestions and photos are welcome in the comment thread below or over on the original discussion board!