Millions of Americans were sent home to work during the past few months, many of them forced to use the dining room table or coffee table as a desk. Although these makeshift workspaces may have been fine for a few days, they quickly became less than ideal after a few weeks.
Although life is slowly getting back to normal in Delaware, the lessons we’ve learned during the coronavirus pandemic illustrate the importance of establishing a designated office in your home. Whether you plan to work from home full-time or occasionally, a home office provides several important advantages. Read on for our Top 10.
1) Peace and Quiet
By now, many of us recognize our co-workers’ kids and pets, thanks to their cameos on Zoom calls. When your office is the kitchen or family room, it’s impossible to avoid inquisitive children and partners, barking dogs and other noises that make it difficult to focus. Setting up a home office in a spare room will allow you to filter out the noise and chaos around you and can be very helpful whether you’re discussing strategy with your co-workers or meeting a potential client. Of course, you’ll probably still be subject to a few interruptions, but it will be much easier to create a peaceful place to work when you have a home office.
If you don’t have enough space in your current house for a home office, make space for an office a priority when you shop for a new home. The Duke, one of the floor plans available at the Meadows at Bayberry, offers four to six bedrooms. Turn one of them into your home office or add an optional den to the floor plan. Other Blenheim Homes communities in Delaware also provide plenty of space to create your own home office.
2) Freedom to create the ideal work space
Some workplaces have strict rules about decorations and personal items. Employers have been known to discourage pictures, plants, cartoons, sports memorabilia and other touches that make your workspace more comfortable and less sterile. You may not be able to express your personality at work, but there’s no reason why you can’t create the ideal workspace at home.
Add books, posters, photographs, artwork, souvenirs and other items that have great meaning to you. Frame your favorite cartoon or proudly display the foul ball you caught at the Phillies game. When you’re in charge, anything goes.
3) Fewer aches and pains
Office furniture is often bought in bulk. Everyone gets the same type of desk and chair, which the furniture salesperson claims will work equally well for every employee. Unfortunately, the one-size-fits-all approach isn’t very effective whether you’re talking about clothes or furniture. If your desk or chair is too big or small for you, you may soon begin to experience neck and back pain. When you furnish your own office, you can choose ergonomic desks and chairs designed to fit your body, support the natural curve of your spine, and decrease stress on your joints, neck and back.
4) Readiness for future emergencies
Hopefully, we’ll never have to face another pandemic like this one. Although many employers are now welcoming employees back to the office, you never know when you may need to work at home in the future. Your home office may come in handy if a broken leg makes commuting difficult, or you need to stay home to care for a sick child or relative. When you add a home office to your house, you’ll be ready for anything that may happen.
5) A healthier environment
Air pollution decreased significantly in major cities during coronavirus lockdowns. With fewer people driving and many businesses shut down, that’s not surprising. Working from your home office even a day or two every week can help decrease your carbon footprint, protect the environment and reduce pollution.
Additionally, working from home means a healthier work environment. People often go into work when they have a manageable sniffle and by not commuting into an office building as often, where even common cold germs can run rampant, you are helping to keep you and your family healthier (even without a pandemic).
6) Shorter commute
Americans spend 26.1 minutes on average on a one-way commute, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Unless you’re lucky enough to work super close to home, your commute can waste an hour or two of your day. When you work from your home office, you can sleep a little longer, linger over your morning cup of coffee, or even take a walk or run around the neighborhood before beginning your work day.
7) Lower clothing budget
Over the past few months, many of us have discovered that you don’t have to dress up to be productive. In fact, tee shirts, yoga or sweat pants, and slippers have become the new office uniform for a significant number of work-from-home employees. If you work from home full-time, you’ll no longer need to devote as much of your budget to updating your wardrobe. With the money you save, you can eat (or order!) out more often, enjoy a long weekend trip, or even redecorate your home office.
8) Tax advantages
Your home office may qualify for a tax deduction if you regularly use part of your house for conducting business. According to the Internal Revenue Service, “The structure does not have to be your principal place of business or the only place where you meet patients, clients or customers.” You or your accountant will need to determine the percentage of your office space occupied by your home office when filing your taxes.
Working at home improves your work-life balance. You won’t have to take time off to wait for the cable guy or face a mountain of laundry when you get home when you have a home office. Between calls, you can throw a load of laundry into the washer, make a quick salad for lunch or use that lunch hour to dash out to the pharmacy to pick up your prescription.
When your office is located in your home, picking up a sick child from school no longer becomes a time-consuming proposition. If your kids are old enough to entertain themselves for a few hours while you finish the day’s work, you may even be able to forgo after-school care and save a little money as well.
10) Increased home value
The more features your home has, the greater its value. Adding a home office increases your home’s value and may make it easier to sell if you move on one day. If potential buyers work from home all or part of the time, they’ll like the fact that your home has a designated home office already prepared for them.