Working from home, sometimes known as telecommuting, has many advantages; it is convenient, saves on commuter time and cost, and if it is a permanent arrangement for a business owner there are no expensive office overheads for rental of premises and additional bills. There are also other benefits, such as being in control of the day’s workload, and having the flexibility to balance work and family commitments, so that working patterns fit around each other more comfortably.
There are downsides, of course; often disruptions or distractions are inevitable in a busy family home and then there is the thorny question of the workspace – particularly if this is to be shared by one or more people. Most commentators agree that a designated workspace (that is, not the kitchen table or the living room couch) is more conducive to making good progress and doing a productive job.
Creating new space
In a home with a den or study this is often identified as the obvious place for a home office, as it will be designated already as a “quiet space” and is less prone to the distractions of family life. If there is no separate space, a portion of a large living room or dining room can be screened off to create a separate workspace.
Where two or more people are going to have to share, however, the question of how to divide the space can be a tricky one to resolve, particularly if being able to reunite the two smaller spaces on certain occasions is desirable.
Freestanding screens are not really a valid solution, as they do not block noise or light efficiently. However room divider shutters are becoming increasingly popular. There is a wide range of shutter styles from which to choose, and nowadays they are used for much more than window dressing – although they have proved remarkably sustainable in terms of their popularity for both interior and exterior use on windows.
Shutter room dividers have the potential to block a great deal of light and sound if required, for example by installing blackout blinds, and when louvers are fully closed, and they can also be installed as sliding panels with movable louvers so they are eminently flexible. This is an ideal way to divide a space without the need to install new windows, walls or doors. The room can always be returned to its original size if needed, simply by sliding the shutters back against the walls.
Whichever room is chosen it will be important to settle on a décor that is right for the person who is going to work there. Painted shutters can provide an ideal way of personalizing individual spaces, for example by painting each side of the divider in a different color depending on what suits the occupier. Color schemes, floor coverings and furniture can be selected to be complementary rather than identical so when the divided space is opened up again nothing will look out of place.