We’re all making adjustments to our work environments as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and, as I recently discussed, more people will be working from home than ever before.
The Italian concept of far niente, or a “joyous and carefree life,” is part of the Napa Valley ethos, but I also know of no one in wine country who didn’t earn their lifestyle through hard work. Because working at home presents different challenges from working in one’s business office, I’ve put together a few home office ideas that may appeal to those who are transitioning from work in the city to work at home in wine country.
Home Office Ideas – Use statement art and color in your home office setup
Whether your style is laid-back and rustic or sharp, defined and precise, you don’t have to recreate a workspace in your home that looks identical to your office in your city. Some of the most successful home offices I’ve seen reflected their owners’ personalities, but they also carved out a unique space within the home.
I find that many distinctive home offices have a single statement art piece rather than many smaller pieces of fine art. Having one statement work of art that you particularly enjoy can focus your attention when you want to think deeply, and the same piece also can fade into the background when you need to concentrate on other work tasks.
Interior designers are experts in the strategic use of color to create the perfect space within your home for any purpose. A number of studies have shown that blue and green help us focus and lend a sense of calm and well-being. While I’ve seen a few home offices with red, pink or orange palettes, these colors are best-suited to work involving physical activity. Yellow can help stimulate creativity, so if your work at home will involve a lot of creative thinking, accents of yellow could spark fresh ideas.
Continue to collaborate and create from your home office
Thousands of words have been written about the challenges of making effective connections with colleagues and associates in remote working environments. No one wants to lose the serendipity that occurs when teams work in the same office space.
To keep teams together, virtual meetings are essential in the work-at-home age. However, one of the trade-offs for living in the beautiful and varied terrain of wine country is potentially less-reliable internet connectivity. Also, in the larger estates, wireless connectivity within the property can pose a challenge.
I’ve already written about some of the smart home devices that can benefit estate properties. Plume offers adaptive Wi-Fi that can cover an entire estate and grounds using SuperPod technology. Plume’s Wi-Fi is effective through walls. It also offers you the ability to control usage throughout your home, from guests to residents or employees. Plume easily allows you to limit users and access on an as-needed basis, so you can direct all your connectivity toward your home office and experience no interruptions in service.
Use light to create the right mood for work and illuminate your virtual meetings
As we’ve begun to work from home and use online meeting services more frequently, the topic of lighting has come up. You’ll naturally want to appear your best while in videoconferences. The appropriate lighting is essential. Natural lighting is often the most flattering, and placing your home office in an area with ample natural lighting will naturally enhance your appearance in conference calls.
If you find you need added lighting, one of the most-sophisticated light management systems available is made by Crestron. You can control the intensity and quality of light anywhere in your home using Crestron’s light management system. A side benefit of this system is its environmental sustainability, as Crestron manages power use as well.
In addition to a well-designed home lighting system, natural lighting also helps contribute to focus and productivity. Studies have shown that cool natural light, such as the light that flows into our wine country homes on a foggy morning or evening, improves productivity and alertness. All forms of natural light help improve our mood, but if you can introduce cool, blue-enriched lighting into your home office, you’ll be including a type of light that UK researchers discovered could provide improved focus. Blue-enriched light also can have positive effects on mood and alertness.
Dedicate your home office to work
It seems only common sense, but I’ve been in a number of home offices that included a vast number of distractions, from musical instruments (in a home not owned by a musician) to entertainment consoles. If you frequently welcome colleagues or employees to your home office, you want them to feel at home and may choose to establish areas for collaboration and meetings. But waiting areas such as you would find in large office buildings aren’t the best match for home offices, even ones in large estate properties.
Food and wine are integral to our wine country lifestyle, but productivity experts also advise keeping food service in the dining and hospitality areas of your home, well away from your home office.
We’re all experiencing so many changes and adjustments in our lives, but in addition to disruption, we also have many opportunities to enrich the quality of our lives. Wine country offers many opportunities to move away from the city to an environmentally sustainable, healthy and gracious lifestyle. Work remains essential, and home office ideas require careful planning and thought. Fortunately, we can choose from helpful technology to establish a home office setup that will be productive and help us maintain our essential balance between life and work.