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The Home Office: Covid Changes Everything (Part 3)

home office

For the past several months, we have all been experiencing new rules for living because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And these new rules are tremendously affecting our life at home.

Our homes are now the center of work, school and relaxation, and all other aspects of life. These are big changes for the home that was first and foremost a place of retreat and rejuvenation, a sanctuary for rest and a space for entertainment.

The home office now is a serious workplace. For many, the home office has gone from a part-time feature to a full-time essential part of the home. Our home office space is filled with virtual meetings such as Zoom and Teams, a need for more file storage, and upgraded computers and imaging capability.

To make this successful, a home office can contribute to the liveliness and joy in the home, without being a burden or somehow feeling like it is a place of drudgery or inconvenience.

Those readers who have been following this column know that I frequently remind myself that every space has more than one use. This statement is truer now than ever before as we expand the use of spaces that are already familiar to us. Home office, school project space, and gaming center: now would be a happening place!

Now the home office is a place of the added duties of work and concentration and time commitments. We make sure things are put away in their proper place, yet still ready at hand. We can accommodate some of these changes with the addition of furniture, maybe a desk or a shelf or cabinet for filing. And what if somebody needs help with some math problems? There has to be a place to take the time to do that as well.

Often, I hear about companies choosing to encourage their staff to work from home, leaving me with a sense that working from home is here to stay. It is smart to consider adding to the existing space if a room, or even a collection of rooms, can be expanded. This includes making a change to the current space in order to control disturbing noises or to develop some special space.

I find that it is more successful to add a small collection of rooms, if possible, since converting a bedroom by itself somehow may not consider the supporting space that will be needed for filing, records, and some of the other equipment that is brought to the home office. The hum of equipment can take over a room!

And just as a traditional office should have fun areas and light and airy spaces that provide some relief and variety, so too should the home have the same in its office. A home office should enhance the experience and quality of life at home – and not at the expense of the other activities at home.

Each member of the family can claim territory for their projects and their work or other activities. Since we still want to keep the feeling that a home is a place of support and comfort, it is all the more important that these changes are balanced and make our home a place that supports us.

Alcorn & Benton Architects in La Jolla have been designing projects in San Diego and throughout Southern California for more than 30 years. To learn more visit www.alcornbenton.com or call (858) 459-0805.