Ideas for Turning a Room Into an At-Home Office

The COVID-19 pandemic turned many professionals into remote workers. Use these tips to create a functional home office. 

The COVID-19 pandemic turned a lot of professionals into remote workers, and it looks like many of us are going to stay that way for a while. Some companies are discovering that a remote workforce is more productive and cost effective, and lots of employees are discovering that working from home isn’t so bad. 

If your work from home situation is starting to look like it might be more permanent than it initially seemed, then it’s time to stop working at the kitchen table. You need a home office. Ideally, you have a spare room you can dedicate to your work, but if not, an attic, basement or even a large closet can be converted into a perfectly suitable home office. Here are some tips to turn whatever room you have available into a home office.

Use as Much, or as Little, Space as You Have

A spare bedroom is the best location for a home office — it’s out of the way, has a door you can close, should have several outlets and probably has windows for natural light. It might even have a ceiling fan and a closet for extra storage. If you’re using your spare bedroom as a guest bedroom, you don’t have to sacrifice that — your spare room can be a home office most of the time and a guest bedroom as needed. If the room is small, install a Murphy bed and use a floating console desk, rather than a clunky piece of furniture.

An attic or basement can also work, particularly if you need a larger space for more than one person to work from home. But you don’t need a whole spare bedroom or a spacious attic to create a private, dedicated home office space. Many large closets can accommodate slim-profile desks or floating desks, with floating shelves above for storage. When you’re done with work for the day, simply shut the door. 

Don’t Sacrifice Ergonomics

One of the most common tips for working from home is that you shouldn’t ignore ergonomics. When choosing a space for a home office, make sure you have room for a properly sized desk (at least 29 inches tall), and a comfortable, adjustable-height office chair, preferably one with casters, adjustable armrests and an adjustable seat pan tilt. If you splurge on one item in your home office, it should be the chair — you’re going to be spending a lot of time in it, after all. A chair without the proper support could cause pain and repetitive stress injuries.

Of course, sitting all the time isn’t good for you, either. A standing desk is a good option, and they’re available at a range of price points. A desk that easily converts from sitting to standing offers the best of both worlds.

Consider Who Will Be Using the Space — And How

Are you the only person who will be working from home, or do you have a spouse who also needs a home office? You might choose a desk large enough to accommodate two people, although you’ll need a room with double the space — like an attic or finished basement, or even a garage

Consider how much time you’ll be spending in your home office, too. Do you work long hours? If so, you’ll want a larger desk and a more comfortable chair, then.

Shed Some Light on the Situation

Indirect light is important in any office setting. Natural light is best, if you have a space that offers it, but you should use curtains or blinds to diffuse it and arrange your desk so that natural light sources don’t cause a glare on your screen. Install an overhead light fixture or add lamps that aren’t directly in your line of sight or right behind you to provide any additional light you might need.

Adjust Your Internet Speed

If you’re going to be working from home, you need to make sure that your internet is fast and reliable. Obviously, there will most likely be an additional cost to increase your internet speed. If that’s the case, it’s worth checking with your employer to see if they will cover the difference or the entirety of the charge. And while you might think your current bandwidth can do the job, remember that if you have multiple people working from home and children doing schoolwork, your normal internet speed probably won’t hold up.  

Install More Outlets

No matter what space you choose for your new home office, you’re probably going to need more electrical outlets. You might also need a hardwired Ethernet connection and other data cabling for your equipment. Take the time now to install the outlets and data cabling infrastructure your new home office needs, so your work hours can pass smoothly and with minimal interruptions.

Working from home definitely has its perks. For one thing, you can’t beat the commute! With a home warranty plan from American Home Shield®, you can protect the systems that make it possible for you to work from home. Try adding electronics coverage to your warranty to protect an unlimited number of eligible electronics, including your laptop, printer, scanner and other devices you might need in your home office.

Dreaming of a Road Trip? National Parks Within One Day’s Drive

As anyone who lives in Nebraska surely knows, there are many benefits to calling this state home. One of which: Thanks to its central location, you can road trip to nearly anywhere in the country within one or two days of home—including some of this nation’s greatest gems, the national parks.

If you want to pack up and roll out this year, here are a few national park destinations to consider.

Rocky Mountain National Park

8 hours from Lincoln: Just beyond Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is a majestic welcome to the Rocky Mountains. Featuring everything from an extreme 14,000-ft. mountain that should only be hiked with serious preparation to family-friendly trails or fishing spots, RMNP is iconic for a reason.

Badlands National Park

7 hours from Lincoln: Located in South Dakota, Badlands National Park is known for its dramatic rock formations, beautiful views and roaming wildlife. From there, it is just over one hour to Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Yellowstone National Park

13 hours from Lincoln: The very first national park, Yellowstone is a good drive from Lincoln—but well worth every mile it takes to get there. From geysers to waterfalls and opportunities to spot majestic wildlife, you could spend more than one week here and still barely scratch the surface of all it has to offer.

Hot Springs National Park

10 hours from Lincoln: Down in Arkansas, Hot Springs National Park has been federally protected land since 1832. Surrounded by shops and other attractions, Hot Springs National Park itself allows for soaking in two designated bathhouses or hiking by 47 thermal springs on 30 miles of trails.

Gateway Arch National Park

7 hours from Lincoln: Located in St. Louis, the famous “Arch” is a tribute to the westward expansion of the United States. Today, visitors can explore the new museum, learn about the Dred Scott trial in the “Old Courthouse” and view the city from the top of the Arch.

Arches National Park

13 hours from Lincoln: Arches National Park in Utah is home to a very different kind of arch—or, rather, 2,000 windblown, sandstone arches. With plentiful sightseeing opportunities both within Arches or nearby Moab, it is also a great launching pad to visiting any of Utah’s four other national parks.

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