Creating a Home Office
Raising kids requires a lot of time and energy. That seems like an understatement, right? It’s rewarding work and fills your life with activities, conversation, laughter, companionship and purpose. When those kiddos are ready to leave the nest you are filled with pride, but at the same time, it leaves a void in your life. You may feel like you need a new endeavor to fill your extra time.
It may be time to add new meaning to your life that fulfills you in a new way. If you were a stay at home mom, you may be ready to start that business you’ve always thought about. If you’ve been working while raising kids, it may be time to find volunteering opportunities to create a new purpose for your life. This is an exciting time. There are a lot of decisions to make and things to consider, as there always is with a new start.
Spend time in your community
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have the time to plan or research a new business or donate your time in local organizations? Now is a great time to begin working on the details to get you started. Getting involved in your community is a great way to find out more about starting a business, what companies need help and what organizations could use your time, effort and energy.
To get started, search for local women’s networking groups in your area, contact your local small business association or local non profits with missions that are important to you. Find out when they meet, how you can attend a meeting or event so you can find out more. Simply getting yourself out in the community in a new way will provide you purpose, energy and that excitement we get when doing something new!
If you decide you are ready to start a business or dedicate your time to volunteering with an organization that’s near and dear to your heart, you will need a home office space to support your efforts. Creating an office space to help you is an exciting way to direct your energy and focus, providing you a new purpose and direction!
Putting your home office together
A well-designed home office can go a long way toward supporting your efforts and helping you manage your daily tasks. Here are the key elements to should consider if you are creating a home office:
Where will you set up your office? Is there a room that you can transform to an office? Is it time to claim your child’s room for this purpose? Maybe a guest room that you don’t use much? A rarely-used formal living space can make a great home office! Select a room in your home that can be dedicated as your office, ideally with a door that closes. (link to our post)
What activities will take place in your office? Do you need more than a desk and a chair? A table and chairs for meetings? A large table to spread materials out? A comfortable chair to sit in when reviewing files or writing? Seating for guests or clients? A space to prepare presentations or files for jobs? Think beyond the desk when considering your needs.
Comfort matters. I suggest going shopping in person for your desk chair or other seating you’ll have & use often. If you will be siting for a long time, a supportive chair is key! Or, maybe you’re interested in a standing desk instead. See what options you can find and see in a store so you can give that option a brief test run. If you go with the standing desk you may also want an anti-fatigue mat to keep you comfortable while standing.
Consider your storage needs. Think about what you need to store, how you like to store it, what you need direct access to from your chair, and how you prefer to work.
For example - if you’ll need hanging files you’ll need file drawers. If you need to access them throughout the day they should be near your chair. If you like to see your files you may want space on your desktop to stack files. If you like to spread your papers out while working you’ll need a large desk surface. How you like to work determines what furnishings you will need.
How you’ll arrange the room. Consider where you will place your main desk in relation to the door and windows. Windows can cause a glare on your monitor and you may not want your back to the door. If you can’t avoid window glare on your monitor consider window coverings that you can adjust based on the light. Creating a space plan for the room will help you see what will (and won’t) fit in the room.
Designer Bestie Tip:
Set up the office for the way you really work, not how you wish you worked. Let’s be honest, at this point in your life there are some habits that won’t change. If you love images of clean desks with pretty staplers and pens on the desk and nothing else, but you know you are a piler - you stack papers everywhere and that’s how you work best - then don’t work against that. You will only be frustrated when your desk doesn’t look like the pretty picture every day! Be you!
As with all design projects, you’ll want to start with the function of your office before you add the pretty to make it personal! I know you want your office to look nice, and it will, but if the space isn’t set up for productivity and comfort, it won’t matter how pretty it is because you’ll never want to use it! The bonus home office worksheet I created will help you get the function right then you can add the pretty! (download the worksheet below).
Your Empty Nest is full of possibilities for growth and new adventures! Your home can be the foundation for that growth by providing you a home office space to fulfill your new business or volunteer efforts. I hope these steps will help guide you on your way to an office that serves all of your needs!