Welcome to the post-pandemic world. This is a world where the already blurry line between home and work has become even more difficult to see. Although some people are lucky enough (depending on your point of view) to have a clear and complete separation between the work that they do and their home life, more and more people are working from home.
By the way, the words “home office” should really be switched to “working from home” or “home workspace” because you don’t have to have an office job to be able to earn a living from home. For the purposes of this article, a home office or home workspace, or home workplace refers to whichever area of your home where you do work.
Head Space and Workspace Are Related
Remember when people first started wearing earbuds to speak on their phones? A stranger walks by you and asks a question as they look you in the eye, and like a normal human being, you’d respond. Only to realize after several annoying and embarrassing seconds that they weren’t speaking to you at all. What a pain?!
Well, when we are participating in work from home jobs, it’s even worse. Those nasty things you would have liked to say to that stranger all of a sudden blurt out to that loved one. Or worst of all, you get the “I’m on the phone with my boss” dirty look when you’re asking them what they’d like for lunch. No soup for you!
Every Interruption Can Cost You Dearly
One way or another, an interruption cause lots of problems. There is cold, hard science that points out it takes an average of 15 to 20 minutes to regain a high level of focus once you’ve been interrupted. The last time I checked, human resources doesn’t make allowances for this.
Even though seemingly innocuous, “Just a quick question” is, in reality, the Trojan Horse of interruptions. Things get even worse when it’s coming from a member of your family. Try telling your family to pipe down because you’re working in the middle of the living room while it’s supposed to be family movie night. You won’t have a Human Resource manager around to defend you.
How to Strike the Right Balance Between Work and Home
They say good fences make good neighbors, and it’s the same when you work from home. The more you can make a distinction between work and home; the better off everyone will be. Now then, the fact that you need a clearly defined workspace is the easy part. The tough part is what you’re going to do with the floor.
Even If You’re Home Alone, a Workspace is Important
As I’m sure, most of us figured out during the pandemic, walking around in your pajamas all day and then waking up in the same pajamas isn’t healthy for us mentally. And no, lounge pants are just as bad.
Some people go to the other end of the spectrum and get fully dressed for business, even if their entire day of work will be spent at home. For the rest of us, all we need are a few healthy reminders that we’re at work. A defined workspace is just right.
How to Match Your Floor Needs to Your Work Needs
Here is a quick quiz to help figure it out:
- How much room are you going to need? Will you be able to take over an entire room?
- Will your work area have multiple functions? Trying to make a workspace double as a playroom for your kids might not be the best idea.
- Will you be sharing your workspace?
- What sort of furniture will you require to do your work? Will you need a smooth floor for a rolling chair or other rolling furniture?
- Will you be doing zoom calls during which sound modulation will be important? A large area rug or wall-to-wall carpeting that can help cut down on noise are both great options.
- Will the room have a door, or will the floor inside your workspace be visible from other areas?
- Will you be standing for extended periods of time? Thick and impact-reducing floor mats can make standing more comfortable.
- Will a stain-resistant floor option be necessary?
- Are tough, scratch-resistant flooring ideas a must, or will your existing hardwood floors be enough?
- How will your budget define the kind of flooring ideas you can consider?
How Long Term vs. Short Term Can Impact Your Decision
Many people who aren’t used to working from home tend to think short-term. Typically they underestimate how long and how much they will work from home.
Some people also undervalue the need for a separate and distinct workspace. “I’ll just work from the couch,” or “There’s plenty of room on the dining room table to do what I need to do.” It’s unfair, if not inaccurate, to call these justifications “famous last words,” but these can be called “fighting words” when things get busy, and the stress levels are elevated.
What About DIYers, What Can They Do?
Clearly, some floor ideas are too much to handle, even for the most experienced DIYers. Solid plank hardwood flooring is one of them. This type of flooring requires expert examination of the subfloor as well as expert installers. Every penny you think you’re saving by doing it yourself will cost you a heck of a lot more than money.
Generally speaking, installing luxury vinyl and vinyl plank flooring is within the skill set of an experienced DIYer. You might even be able to install vinyl plank flooring over the existing floor as a way to protect the existing floor from wear and tear while you work. Both options are cost-effective, easy to clean, and a joy to have if you’re going to be in a rolling chair.
Ask an Expert
You’re not the first person who needs a workspace in their home. Experts in the flooring industry have been helping homeowners with their at-home work areas for many years. Most probably, they’ve helped people with the same questions you may have.
Deciding how to set up your work space is an important decision. Asking an expert whose job it is to know what works best is definitely a good place to start.