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Make Your Home Work

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According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of people primarily working from home went from 5.7% to 17.9%, or 9 million people to 27.6 million, following the onset of the pandemic. In fact, 2021 marked the highest recorded number and percentage of Americans working from home since the American Community Survey began in 2005.

Because of the everyday distractions that come with any household, the design and overall utilization of an at-home workspace play critical roles in this significant portion of the country’s professional success.

House & Home spoke with local interior design and construction professionals who have experienced this trend firsthand.

Neil Wiessler, owner of Shore Sound & Cinema, says that offices are now customary in standard home designs, where they were afterthoughts just a few years ago.

“Every project we are involved in has either a dedicated home office or flex space detailed on the architectural plans. A home office is no longer a luxury: It has become a necessity,” Wiessler says.

Aaron Lewis, who owns Closets For Less, echoes this statement, adding that many companies continue to have their employees work from home to cut overall costs.

“Since COVID, more companies have found it more productive to have people working from home, and they have cut down on the amount of office space needed,” he explains.

Regardless of how big or small a space may be, experts say that the importance of utilizing every square inch is key in home office design. Intentional use of space allows each workspace to reach its full potential and gives its occupant the maximum chance at success.

Lewis, a master of incorporating storage in even the smallest of spaces as the owner of a closet installation company, recommends “utilizing the height of the walls.” This can be accomplished in a number of ways, from bold floor-to-ceiling cabinetry to minimal, sleek floating shelves scaling the walls.

These amenities are not only great ways to add storage, but also allow each homeowner to incorporate their personality into their professional space. Lewis says that his clients actively ask for more ways to display items to make their workspace more “homey.” Cabinets, shelves and bookcases can be customized with different materials and colors, and high shelves serve as the perfect displays for treasured items like memorabilia and framed photographs.

Meanwhile, lower cabinets and shelving are ideal places to organize and store everyday office supplies in convenient, easy-to-reach locations. These simple methods allow each space to be as one of a kind as the people it serves while enabling full productivity.

Maximizing desk space is also a major component of any workspace, whether it be professional, leisure or educational. Lewis emphasizes the recent popularity of workspaces suitable for dual and even triple monitor setups.

Multiple monitors mean multiple tabs, which can’t run smoothly without top-tier internet, and Wiessler has a keen understanding of how electronics and automation can drastically change the functionality of a home office. He knows that while working from home is often convenient, many run into problems when a poor internet connection is compromised by multiple other devices operating throughout the home.

In fact, Wiessler says that “rock-solid connectivity” is his clients’ No. 1 priority and request.

“Having a home network on par with a business-class network is crucial for our clients to work remotely. From Zoom calls and Teams meetings to file sharing and remote access, we provide our clients worry-free, enterprise-grade wired and wireless networks,” he says.

With the growing interest and need for home offices, they now garner “the same level of style and detail as the rest of the home,” according to Wiessler. This includes amenities like “state-of-the-art audio and video,” and the even more advanced “motorized shading and smart lighting control.” If implemented and utilized correctly, lighting in a home office can help improve and increase productivity even more than in a traditional workplace setting.

“A well-designed home office should include a combination of natural light, shading and a properly designed lighting control system. With a lighting control system, we can create an ideal work environment,” Wiessler says. To do this, the team utilizes the natural, internal human clock of circadian rhythm to “enhance performance and well-being and to prevent fatigue and eye strain.”

Of the 27.6 million Americans who work from home, they all have their own unique personalities, preferences and professions. And whether they’re an accountant or a social media manager, each of these tips and trends is guaranteed to come in handy when designing a home workspace for them.

Resources
Closets For Less
(215) 660-3080
Warminster, Pa.
Closets4LessBucks.com

Shore Sound & Cinema
(609) 645-1300
Northfield, N.J.
S2Cinema.com

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 23, Issue 3 (Spring 2023). 
For more info on House & Home magazine, click here
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