How To Transform Your Guest Room Into a Home Office
Let’s face it, working from home has become the new normal for most people. Yet despite this, so many of us still sit at the kitchen table or sprawl out on the sofa to work remotely.
This makeshift, minimal setup may have worked for a while, but it’s hard to deny that it’s difficult to work efficiently in an uncomfortable home office. You might meet deadlines and produce the quality of work required, but you may still be open to distractions and interruptions in a slap-dash work environment. Informal workspaces simply aren’t comfortable, and working in them can lead to neck and backaches, headaches, visual strain, and other avoidable conditions.
Luckily, working from home doesn’t mean that your productivity levels have to suffer. It’s easy enough to convert one of your guest rooms into a functional and comfortable workspace. If you work remotely without an appropriate work environment, consider these ideas. It doesn't take much to turn your spare room into an office that will boost your work performance and help you strike an ideal work-life balance.
1. Divide Up Your Guest Room
Your guest room might not be completely free, but you can still turn it into a workplace with a few creative tricks. You can split the room however you wish, adding a bed on one side and a functional office on the other.
You might need to rearrange the position of the bed, remove some furniture, and shift around larger furnishings like closets to make this work. But there are plenty of ways to innovatively use the space you have at home. You can even add a bookshelf or room divider between your desk and the guest bed to delineate the room and create a pleasing visual symmetry. This approach will allow you to create the home office you need without taking over the room entirely.
If your guest room is on the smaller side, you can swap your large guest bed out for a smaller size, or go for a futon or Murphy bed. A futon or Murphy bed can get set out for guests when they arrive, and folded away when not in use.
2. Plan Your Office According to Your Needs
The first step you’ll need to take to plan your guest room workspace is to determine exactly how much space you are going to need. Once you’ve assessed this and apportioned your space, think about your workspace needs too.
Will you need an expansive filing system? A large desk to house your computer and office equipment? More than one PC monitor? Your individual work requirements will dictate how you need to use your space, and you can use them to design a personalized solution that works for you.
Before you move any of your work equipment into the room, you may want to clean it out thoroughly and remove any unnecessary items, toys, appliances and clutter. This will free up valuable space and ensure that the room doesn’t become overly cluttered and frustrating to navigate once you have moved in to work in it.
It’s also vital to consider your storage requirements and to adjust your guest bedroom accordingly.
Baskets, storage bins and chests of drawers may all come in handy, as they will allow you to quickly clean up your desk and store your work supplies when accommodating guests. You can also add floating shelves above the desk, or even use the empty space beneath the bed if need be.
3. Set Up Your Workstation
Everything you need for work should be easily and readily accessible while you’re in your guest room office. You might only need a laptop or a monitor, a PC tower and a keyboard, or you may need files, printers, fax machines, and other more specialized equipment.
Assess what you need, gather your supplies, and start to experiment with layouts until you find a setup that works best for you. You can always change it later down the line if you feel the need.
Now is the time to consider the ergonomics of your workspace. Sitting at uncomfortable setups that aren’t designed for work can put strain on your neck and back and leave you at risk of developing painful musculoskeletal conditions. If you are going to be spending hours working at your home office every day, it pays to invest in ergonomically designed office furniture, back supports, wrist rests and other items that will prevent work-related injuries.
4. Optimize Your Lighting Situation
The soft, warm lighting that is customary for guest rooms may not be optimal for a home-based workspace. Lighting can have a significant impact on your mood and productivity levels. Therefore, it can benefit you in more ways than one to ensure that your office lighting meets your needs. Adequate lighting will also reduce eyestrain and the headaches that often accompany it.
If your guest room has windows, try to divide it in a way that ensures that your workspace receives plenty of natural sunlight during the day. Alternatively, you can consider swapping your guest room’s bulbs for brighter light fixtures that will keep you alert and improve your vision during work hours.
Make The Change
Your guest room could make an ideal home office with a couple of strategic alterations and additions. If you can’t convert the entire room into a workspace, don’t worry. The trick to making a dual guest room/workspace work is to keep things simple. If this means swapping a big bed for a smaller mattress and base set, go for it, or if it means doing a clear up and clean out to fit in a desk, the effort is worth it.
Try not to clutter the room with unnecessary office accessories and choose a desk that pairs well with the existing color scheme and décor in the bedroom. Keep the desk neat and tidy while not in use. And if you plan on adding décor to your workspace, keep it minimal and try to tie it in with the current theme of your guest room.
It's that easy! These tips will ensure you have a comfortable, functional workspace that you can close the door on at the end of the day.