As someone who works from home and has been doing it for years I know how hard it can be to balance personal home office space with your family. Especially if you’re dealing with small spaces or have to supervise young kids while you work. Learn how to create a family-friendly home office space on a budget with these tips and ideas!
Choose the Right Space
Identify a suitable space in your home that can double as an office and a study or play area. This could be a quiet corner in your living room or a spare room. The key is to find a space that is free from distractions but still allows you to keep an eye on your little ones.
Ideally, make sure the space has an option to get some extra privacy when necessary. If someone else cares for the kids while you work, for example, make sure your office space is a room with a door or that can be sectioned off so you can get work done.
Invest in Essential Furniture
Invest in furniture that is both functional and kid-friendly. A desk and a comfortable chair are must-haves. Consider getting a larger table that can accommodate your work and also serve as a study table for your kids. Look for second-hand furniture or repurpose items you already have at home to save money.
When possible, avoid furniture that can gets dirty or worn out easily (opt for easy-clean chairs, for example) and anything that only serves one purpose. When you’re on a budget you want things to do double duty!
Organize Your Workspace
Use storage solutions like baskets, boxes, or shelves to keep your workspace tidy. Label everything clearly so you and your kids can easily find what you need. Consider using color-coded bins or folders for different family members.
Make sure you designate an area in your office space that the kids aren’t allowed to touch. This could be a filing cabinet, box, or specific shelf.
Personalize Your Space
Make your home office a place where everyone enjoys spending time. Add personal touches like family photos, your kids’ artwork, or plants. You can even involve your kids in DIY decor projects.
Even if you home office is in a shared space like the living room it’s still important to decorate the office area. A cheerful office space makes it easy for everyone in the family to get their work done!
Utilize Natural Light
Natural light boosts mood and productivity. Position your desk near a window if possible. If natural light is limited, invest in good quality desk lamps. Consider lamps with adjustable brightness levels that can cater to various tasks, from working on your laptop to your kids’ reading or drawing.
If you plan to share the space consider multiple inexpensive lamps. Places like IKEA sell really affordable family-friendly work lamps that look great. That way everyone can control the light in their own workspace.
Keep Technology in Mind
Ensure you have enough power outlets and a strong Wi-Fi signal. If needed, invest in power strips or Wi-Fi extenders. Also, consider getting headphones for everyone to minimize distractions during work or study time.
This is one of the few areas that it’s often worth the money to splurge on good quality. As a parent, my noise cancelling headphones have been worth every penny!
Don’t Forget About Ergonomics
Your chair and desk should be at the right height to prevent back and neck strain. If you’re using a laptop, consider getting a laptop stand or an external keyboard and mouse for better posture. For your kids, make sure their chairs and desks are also at the appropriate height.
Although there are some fancy ergonomic products out there most of these items are designed for office workers and therefore are surprisingly affordable.
Look Into Tax Write Off Options or Perks From Your Employer/School
With so many people working from home nowadays a lot of work places have started offering perks in the form of equipment or other financial help to set up home office spaces. If you have an employer look into any options that are available to you to save money on your home office set up. Even if there isn’t anything it doesn’t hurt to ask!
Some places also have tax rebates in place for work from home equipment. Check the local tax laws in your area to see if there’s any benefits that you can claim.
Finally, if you’re sharing your space with kids who are learning from home or homeschooled there may be options through their school, grants, or tax rebates for them too.
Establish rules about when and how the space can be used. This will help maintain a balance between work and family time. You could use visual cues like a “do not disturb” sign when you’re in a meeting or working on a critical task.
If your space is being shared with kids enforce rules about the cleanliness and what can go on in the space too. Don’t allow children to mess up shared spaces and help younger kids tidy toys at the end of the day if they play nearby. No one wants to work in a mess!
Consider an “Office in a Box”
If you don’t have the budget for any new home office equipment (like a desk and chair) or have no space to set one up another way to create a family-friendly home office space on a budget is to put together an “office in a box”. Basically you take all your office essentials that you’ll need to work and put them in one container.
That way you can take that box into whatever space is convenient and available to you when it’s time to work. If your workspace changes based on your family’s schedule this is a great way to stay organized.
It’s not idea, but it works in a pinch!
Hopefully one of these ideas will help you create a useful family-friendly home office space on a budget. Keep in mind the most important part is having the essentials – after that you can add to your home office as your budget allows.