If you’re one of the 7 million North Americans who’ve been working from home for the last five years, you’ll know all about the benefits of working remotely by now.
Recent recruits to the realm of remote work will have realized that working from home saves a lot of time and money since there’s no commute involved. This makes it an eco-friendly option since fewer cars on the road automatically translate into reduced carbon emissions.
The only drawback that you might experience while working at home is the distraction that home life brings, but there’s an easy way to remedy that.
Here’s how to set up a basement office so that you can focus family-free during work hours.
First Things First
The first step in any renovation project is an initial inspection of the area. Clear out your basement and take note of any defects that you need to address first.
It’s much easier to fill in any imperfections or get a professional opinion on structural issues when you have a blank canvas before you. Regardless of what you’re planning, the basics stay the same.
Consider safety issues like the stability of your basement, ventilation, and setting up an emergency exit. Check the ceiling and the floor for leaks and fill in any small chips and cracks in the walls.
Using a piece of chalk, mark out the layout of your proposed office and start gathering your thoughts around some practical design ideas. If you’re planning any additional features and rooms in the same space, and include those in your designs.
Likewise, if you’re thinking of expanding your business any time soon, make provision for extra desks and office equipment.
At this stage, guesswork can cause serious issues later on. Use a tape measure so you’re certain that you can fit everything you need into the available space.
Lighting is a big issue when it comes to workspaces. Studies show that office lighting can have a major impact on productivity.
If possible, try to locate your desk near a natural source of light. If that’s not available you should try to incorporate as much supplemental lighting as possible. Desk lamps, standing lamps, and sconces are perfect for adding task lighting to your underground space.
Choosing the right type of lighting is important too. Cool hues increase productivity. Warm hues are calming and soothing but they can be a little too much so in a work environment.
An adjustable light that allows you to switch hues gives you the flexibility to decide when you want to tone the energy up or down.
Once you’ve decided on the ideal lighting for you, you’ll need to hire an electrician to help you set everything up. Insist on trunking to keep stray wire under control. Few things make a room look untidy faster than stray wires running hither and thither.
When it comes to productivity, unpredictable connections can let you down. Does your phone connect in the basement? Do you have enough wall sockets to power everything you need to function efficiently?
Internet connectivity is a major concern in the digital world, so get your internet provider to test the power of your basement internet connection. If it’s slow and unpredictable, you may need to invest in a booster to ensure you stay up and running all the time.
It’s important to sort out any issues with connectivity at the outset, you can’t do your best work while isolated from the outside world. Not only will a poor telephone or internet connection lead to frustration, but it can also cause you to spend most of your time running upstairs to check for calls and messages.
In the worst-case scenario, it could cause clients to abandon you in favor of someone they can contact more easily.
A comfortable environment is conducive to productivity. If you’re too hot or too cold in your basement office, you won’t be at your best. Insulation is important to keep the cold weather at bay during the winter and a fan or air conditioner will help prevent you from working up a sweat during the hotter months.
Consider setting up a small kitchen so you can make coffee or tea, or grab a bite to eat without too many distractions. Installing a small bathroom will also make your life easier when you’re spending eight hours a day in your basement home office.
A dehumidifier helps to keep the air in your basement clean, dry, and comfortable.
Making an Entrance
If you’re working alone at home and never intend to meet clients in your basement home office, the existing entrance will do just fine.
However, you’ll need a separate entrance if you’re going to be discussing business in person during office hours. You don’t want clients walking through your home and climbing down a set of rickety wooden stairs. This is a big alteration with structural implications, so be sure to get an expert opinion before you decide.
If there’s no way you can fit a dedicated entranceway into your plans, at least cordon off the access to your basement office from your home. That way you won’t have to worry about your clients walking through untidy, noisy living areas on the way to your office.
If you’re sharing the basement with a home entertainment area, it’s a good idea to insulate the walls between the two areas.
That way, you won’t have to listen to the sounds of merriment from beyond the wall when you’re trying to focus. If the noise from upstairs distracts you, you should consider soundproofing your basement ceiling too.
Consider Storage Solutions
Clutter is the enemy of concentrated effort, so adequate storage should near the top of your list when planning a home office. Always over-cater when it comes to storage, things have a way of piling up when you’re busy at work.
Wall-mounted units are ideal, especially if your basement is small and cramped. Undercounter options are best if you’ve got plenty of room to spare. Keep the things you use often close to hand. If it’s an effort to pack them out of sight every day, you’ll soon end up leaving them out on your desk.
Baskets and colored boxes can turn a disorganized mess on your shelve into an eye-pleasing, organized display.
Leave some wall space clear for inspirational artworks, idea boards, or a whiteboard for posting reminders and other important information.
Furniture is a matter of taste, not fashion. If you’re most comfortable with warm wooden tones and antique furniture, go for it. IF you prefer clean, modern lines then that’s up to you too.
Try to keep continuity in your designs to avoid a cluttered look.
Your basement office can be an awesome opportunity to use furniture items that might conflict with the rest of your family’s ideals. It’s also a good place to use furniture that isn’t compatible with grubby hands and hairy, boisterous pets.
No matter which color palette and design style you settle on, your office chair is one of the most important considerations in a home office. Choose a comfortable ergonomic design, you don’t want to spend hours hunched over your computer in an uncomfortable seat.
Set up a Separate Seating Area
Set aside some space for a comfortable sofa and coffee table – everybody needs some time away from their desk to clear their mind. Regular breaks help to keep you motivated, especially during long tedious tasks. A swish seating area can also double as a space to meet with clients in comfort.
If you often end up entertaining clients, a small bar area or drinks cabinet is a nice touch.
When it comes to choosing a paint color for your basement home office, neutral tones are best. They create an atmosphere of calm efficiency.
Don’t underestimate the power of a few pops of color to add energy to your room though. A feature wall in a bright shade or vibrant cushion covers add interest without detracting from your businesslike environment.
Don’t neglect a few personal items and trinkets in your design either. A few favorite ornaments will help you to feel comfortable and at ease in your office space.
Start Planning Your Perfect Basement Office
The sooner you get to work on your basement office, the sooner you’ll be able to maximize your productivity and start to grow your business in earnest.
Whether you’re looking for a brand new basement office or want to revamp your old basement into something modern and comfortable, we can help.
Get in touch right away and let’s start working on your ultimate home office space.