The Evolution of the Home Office
Decades ago, there were libraries and studies where gentlemen would retire to after dinner for cigars and male discussion. This “man cave” was the early precursor of today’s home office. Some people did business discreetly in these quiet retreats but such a home office was actually illegal. The only business shingle allowed in our suburbs was reserved for the doctors and the lawyers.
With the introduction of the personal computer, the internet, personal networks and delivery services, doing business from home became more commonplace albeit still illegal. Often, it was discovered that an influential citizen (such as the town’s mayor) was doing business from his home office. Eventually, the legalities aside, persecution for this crime was no longer enforced.
This room has evolved into the hub that it is today. Having designed many corporate offices and homes, the home office was a natural evolution in the realm of my interior design firm. The corporate office was becoming more casual and home-like while the home office was acquiring equipment and furniture ideal for doing business at home. Telecommuting has emerged as a work-life flexibility enhancer assisting companies of all sizes to recruit and retain talent further driving the importance and necessity of the home office.
Office design requires the knowledge of equipment, wiring, and corporate ergonomic furniture. Home designers need to scale back the sizes of corporate furniture to accommodate the home office – often developing a room conversion. A home’s large cushy couch is often substituted for a desk and return. Custom book-shelves now hold file drawers and storage units.
The Importance of the Office Guest Chair
One young mother with a PR firm asked me to transform a room off of her garage for a home office. We reviewed her needs: work surface size, storage, filing, and equipment. Then we spoke about seating; of course, she would have an ergonomic desk chair. We debated whether a guest seat was necessary. She usually did not receive guests at home, rather, she went to her clients’ places of business. I suggested that she place one seat opposite hers should a consultant come by or a member of the family wanted to sit with her. She didn’t think it logical for any family member to enter her space – even though they would have to pass through the room while entering the house from the garage. I suggested that maybe her daughter may like to draw while she was working and that later she may actually want to do her homework near her mother. We completed the office with a guest chair and the client was very happy with her new space.
Years later, we met again at an event and she reminded me about our discussion about the guest seat. It had since given her so much pleasure. Her daughter did in fact draw many pictures there, did some great homework and they enjoyed many hours together.
The Office in Your Home
A home office is an important space for the whole family. The printer is usually situated there, as are many items that we all need: a piece of paper, a pen or the charging station. This space may be a separate room or an offshoot of the kitchen or great room.
The home office can be a very well used space, a room in which all come together to do work – all work: business, homework, writing, research.
American life has evolved so that many homes now house two family members working from home. The home office is an important and complex room. Its design is paramount in its function and demands.
Allow me to assist you in the design of your home office. Call me at 201 233-4636 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out my interiors at www.pvzdesign.com.