Whether you’re a startup genius, a strict observer of work from home Friday or following your passion with a lifestyle business, converting your loft into a home office could boost your productivity and help to maintain the perfect work/life balance.
Working from home is an ideal situation for many, you wake up, linger over breakfast, walk a couple of strides and you’re at your desk. In theory, working from home is great, but in practice it can often turn out to be the exact opposite, resulting in hours worth of lost productivity, particularly if your work space isn’t quite up to scratch.
A recent survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that those who work from home tend to be happier and more productive than their office-based counterparts. However, this only applies to individuals who have dedicated workspaces; toiling away in communal spaces such as the dining room or the lounge for example can actually harm productivity, outweighing any other benefits homeworking brings.
Of course, turning that spare bedroom into a study is an option, but there are practical issues associated with this. If you’ve got young children or teenagers in adjacent rooms, the peace and quiet needed to finish that tricky end of year report or catch the breathing space required for that light bulb moment could prove elusive.
And on the flipside, if the incessant tip-tap of a keyboard isn’t enough to drive even the most understanding of families around the bend, that late night/early morning videoconference with the Hong Kong office undoubtedly will!
Plus, when you’re spending 8+ hours a day in a single room, you need to create a space which inspires you. The constraints associated with the office-cum-bedroom present a barrier to this and often make for workspaces which feel cramped and dull.
Typically comprising of little more than a desk and a filing cabinet, whether you’re planning world domination or doing the accounts, the spare bedroom office just doesn’t cut the mustard in the motivational stakes.
In contrast, home office lofts make for open, quiet and most importantly productive workspaces. Fill it with personal artifacts from your travels, memories of past sporting glories or that carefully assembled record collection and it will provide that much needed energy boost required for tackling the day. An added bonus is that being so high up you are guaranteed to get the best view in the house, which is great if you need time to reflect before making an important business decision.
All things considered, the home office loft conversion represents a wise investment for the home-based worker – not only in your property but also in your career. Home lofts provide the psychic distance needed to concentrate free from distraction and at the end of the day you can shut the door, turn off the lights and chill out, helping to keep your work/life balance in check.
So what about the economics? If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur it compares favourably to renting commercial premises because a loft conversion adds real value to your home. Or if you’re a hardened commuter looking to scale back time spent on the road or on the rails a loft conversion could pay for itself in no time.
And remember, if you fit into the latter category, your employer may actually provide you with free ergonomic furniture! Get onto your HR department ASAP!
Of course, while a loft conversion is no guarantee of business or creative success, a Velux window will not turn you into Richard Branson overnight, nor will it put you on the fast track to a Man Booker or Turner prize, it will certainly provide you with a positive working environment in which to realize your potential. The rest is up to you!