Home office design – setting up a productive and inviting home studio – a home workers perspective

Posted on May 8, 2013

Over the ten years of running a business from home, I have learned some key lessons about good home office design. I started working in a spare bedroom gradually working up to purpose-built granny flat office.

The granny flat serving as a home office is a far cry from the dark spare bedroom I started in. It lacked storage space and the IT aspect was a disaster with undoubtedly dangerous piggy backing of electrical requirements. It was neither inviting, nor looking back, particularly productive.

Importantly though, I planned the granny flat design to have the flexibility of being tenanted if my work circumstances changed. And a good home office/granny flat is something that potential buyers value in today’s real estate market.

With new complying development rules in NSW that makes it easier than ever to build a granny flat. They provide the opportunity to create productive, inviting workspaces and the flexibility to adapt to different purposes. Some of the key aspects to look at include:

Location, location, location

Often there will be a variety of ways that you can position your new home office on your block of land. Consider both your current and potential future purposes when deciding. It might be great to have the granny flat on your back door now, but if you think you might tenant the property in the future (and indeed granny flats are in high demand), you need to think about privacy for the dwelling in the long term.

Fit for purpose but with the flexibility to change

Before you even start looking at home office plans, it is important to really examine the purpose of the space. Working from home might be a temporary adventure while the kids are young with the view to rent it out later. Or it might end up being so successful you want to grow the business and employ people. It is important to consider how you might adapt the granny flat space.

Finding granny flat plans that can adapt over the years is essential. Many granny flat plans, such as those offered by Creative Spaces, can have moveable or removable walls, meeting your current and future needs.

What spaces do I need?

Adaptability can also help you deliver the kinds of space your business needs now and into the future. Do you need a meeting room? Could you possibly need one in the future? Is a private office required or am I going to be better off with a more open plan studio type of set up? Again adaptability of your home office design is crucial.

When you are considering your initial home studio design though, measure it out. How big are the desks you need and where would they be positioned? Would you need to be paper thin to be able to get round the table and chairs in the meeting room?

Space and flow are critical in terms of creating an environment that’s easy to work in.

Self-containment

The bathroom and kitchen is another aspect you need to consider and it might be tempting to scrimp on these. But one of the most challenging parts of working from home is not being sucked into domestic chores when you are meant to be working. Having all the infrastructure I need within the defined workspace minimised distraction.

This is also particularly important if you are going to have people work for you now or in the future, or especially if you have clients visiting. You don’t want to be worrying about the state of your main kitchen or bathroom when you’re focused on an important deadline or meeting. And it will also add to the adaptability of the dwelling if your circumstances change.

If you decide to forgo kitchen or bathroom facilities, it’s a good idea to put the basic infrastructure such as drainage requirements in anyway. If you want to change the purpose of the granny flat or sell, retrofitting can be difficult without some pre-planning.

Let there be light (and IT and electrical infrastructure)

In most cases light is the difference between an inviting workspace and those that are unproductive.

Unlike the traditional granny flat, Creative Designs architecturally designed granny flats ensure natural light fills the space. And with the right shading devices incorporated into the architectural design, they make sure that you don’t get too much of a good thing either. But one of the wonderful things about a great home office design is you can promote a connection to the outdoors – something you usually can’t achieve in a traditional office environment.

To make a safe and pleasant work environment, cabling running across the floor is just plain dangerous. Or constant unplugging of the printer so that you can plug in the scanner is unproductive. IT and electrical infrastructure problems are one of the greatest time wasters in a home office. Creative Spaces can help you plan the infrastructure you need, with the ability to expand capacity if required.

Storage

What can I say other than you need to plan good storage solutions?

Sure, a lot more work is stored electronically these days, but it is just plain crazy how much old-fashioned paperwork you still need to keep. And some home businesses will be more intensive than others. It is vital to consider how you much you need, what style you are going need and how to incorporate it into the home office design so it’s both easy to organise and access.

A home office/granny flat solution can help to create a work-life balance. But like any good work environment, it needs to work well now and into the future. Creative Spaces offers a variety of adaptable, architecturally designed granny flats to suit your site, be it either an attached or detached option. They can help you create a home office where you can proudly invite clients and make financial sense if your work circumstances change.

Take a look at our online home office designs here