Even before the pandemic, most Americans had a space dedicated to the administrative management of their homes — small office areas mostly used to pay bills and maintain household records.
“The home office isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s never been more in demand,” says Bonnie Oda, director of client care at Graham Builders. “These days, home offices have become as popular and as essential as family rooms.”
Identifying adaptable space and setting it up to serve as an office can be challenging on an island where space is at such a premium. The design+build team at Graham Builders makes it a point to focus on areas that can be creatively maximized for multiple purposes.
DESIGNING FOR WORKING AT HOME
What sort of work will be done in your home office? Privacy-intensive professions in the legal, financial, insurance and medical industries demand discretion and confidentiality. Even jobs involving processing credit card transactions require privacy and a level of security.
“Client confidentiality is essential in the home offices of people who work in sensitive fields,” Oda says. “Maintaining confidentiality requires an environment that’s separate from other household members.”
A room that doubles as an office can be “flex space,” repurposed for the different seasons of a family’s life. In many homes, guest rooms with privacy and high-speed internet connectivity can work perfectly. Customization means built-in furnishings for some homeowners — shelves and cabinets for reference books and files, or a desk tucked into an alcove beneath a staircase. Murphy beds and desks are also great options for small rooms that function as office spaces and guest bedrooms.
“Ultimately, the room must have good task and ambient lighting, and it should be acoustically isolated for phone and Zoom conferencing,” Oda says. “And good ergonomics are critical, especially if a full-time job will be performed here.”
IT’S NOT JUST OFFICE SPACE
Home workspaces for artists, both amateur and professional, are also seeing a rise in popularity.
“Not long ago we designed a studio for a glass artist, with custom vertical cubbyholes and custom cabinets for tools and materials,” Oda reports. “Her husband has a traditional space that suits his work perfectly. Both can be repurposed for other uses later.”
Though a home office might not return as much value for the investment as a kitchen or bath remodel, it’s still a terrific place to spend some of your building budget — especially if you plan to work at home.
For more than three decades, Graham Builders has been helping Hawaii families make the most of their island homes at every stage of life. The Honolulu design/build firm can help you create a home office or studio that’s perfect for your professional needs. A free “Building Your Home for Life” seminar will take place on Saturday, Dec. 4. Register now at graham-builders.com/seminar, or call 808-593-2808.