If you've been balancing your laptop on your knee for the past year or trying to find a few inches of space between school books scattered on the dining table, then your return to the office will have been a relief.
But a new survey from the University of Sydney suggests most Australian office workers still want the ability to split their work time between home and the office and many searching for a new home say they need home office facilities.
Whether buying or renting, the home office has become a high-demand item because of the work-from-home movement. Many homeowners preparing to put their homes on the market are wise to dedicate some space to the cause.
As an experienced agency in your area, we believe a home office can add value and be achieved on a limited budget. If you would like to maximise the value of your home by creating a dedicated work area, here are seven great tips.
Give yourself the corner office
Can you find space in a quiet corner of your home? If it has windows, this would be the ideal environment. Natural light will prevent eye fatigue, but avoid glare on your screen. Also, check the space has good mobile phone and Wi-Fi coverage.
Don't spend a fortune on furniture, especially if you're installing a home office for cosmetic reasons before a sale. If this is a long-term project, stretch the budget on a quality office chair. Comfort is essential, and a good chair will prevent neck and wrist injuries from repetitive work.
Make the desk as large as possible. Clutter never made anyone more productive. Try for a minimum size of 70cm x 90cm. But there are some great affordable options at places like Ikea, Officeworks and even Bunnings.
Doesn't hurt to ask
Many employers encourage their staff to work from home. Some will provide office furniture to reduce your costs and audit the workstation to ensure it's ergonomic or reimburse you for some of the expense. Alternatively, keep the receipts as it's likely you'll be able to claim some of the expenses at tax time.
Internet speed is a significant consideration for many buyers. If you don't have a high-speed connection, make sure one can be installed. A professionally networked Wi-Fi where cables are hidden is a major plus. Ask your accountant if you can claim any proportion of your internet bill.
Consider your storage needs early in your planning. Frustration will quickly build if you have nowhere to put papers and stationery. Small under-desk storage can be mobile, or in the form of stackable cubes or baskets. Open shelving for books can make the space feel warm and welcoming.
Your workstation should feel like it belongs to you rather than a satellite office for your employer. So, add your favourite art, ornaments and photos but be careful to avoid clutter.