Our country continues to adjust the changes that COVID-19 has quickly brought into our lives, and many of us are adapting to this new way of living indefinitely. As the Fall 2020 school semester begins with remote learning, parents and children are faced with e-learning and remote work. Most schools in Illinois are teaching via e-learning or part time in-school a few days a week. Are you struggling to find an ideal “home classroom” environment for your child to focus on their studies? And what about your office space? Along with students working from home, parents are finding their work schedules heavily affected as well as many of us continue working remotely. “About two-thirds of businesses that have adopted remote work policies as a result of COVID-19 plan to keep at least some of those policies in place long-term or permanently.” The realization that working from home is becoming more permanent than temporary is now setting in…
“As news of the pandemic in March made it clear that many of us would be shifting from offices, campuses, and other locations to work from home, millions of professionals moved quickly to set up work areas in our homes, apartments, and condos. Some had the benefit of having a professional home office in place, but many others are working from kitchens, dens, or other available spaces as they moved in a rush to set things up. Now is the time to establish the best possible space in which we can work from home. This means improving the area where you can do your job more effectively for as long as it takes for things to return to a new normal in the weeks or months ahead.” Forbes
Children of all age groups need spaces to be creative, learn, explore their imagination, and of course, focus. How do you know if you have the right space for your student to thrive academically? While in the midst of figuring out how to renovate a space for your children to study, you also need a space for yourself. Sharing your home office with the kiddos is not ideal for anyone. This pandemic has transformed the workplace, long gone are the days of leather briefcases and a clutter roll top desks serving as home office spaces. Companies primarily communicate via email, video conferencing, and even offer remote work to employees – hence most professionals need to be reachable at home. This creates a need for homes to have a quiet space for working and studying hours because the crowded kitchen table and loud noises aren’t ideal for concentration.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your own private library, study, or home office? With organized shelving, modern desks and an inspirational design, we can create appropriate space for you and the kids to get work done from the comfort of your home! Tom Len and his team of professionals are ready to remodel everyday spaces into the custom study room and modern home office of your dreams.
Let’s start with the students…
The ABC’s of a Perfect Study Zone
Create a space designed specifically for the needs of your child. Understanding their personality gives you a great gage on their strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you know your child is easily distracted, a cluttered room surrounded by loud noise isn’t ideal. A student’s age group also plays an important role in the learning environment you want to create for them…
Creating your aesthetic: Think about your child’s personal interests, hobbies, or even favorite colors. The goal is to renovate a room that they actually want to be in. Is your student…
- A nature lover? Being in the great outdoors inspires adventurous thoughts from them. This type of child would not do well in a basement space. They’d like a room with plenty of natural light, indoor houseplants, and a window viewing outside. Learn how you can welcome more natural lighting in your home!
- A bookworm? If they love reading and writing, creating a library style study room may be the perfect environment for them to feel comfortable. Learn about remodeling your home to add a personalized library!
- A sports fanatic? Does your teen enjoy playing sports and staying fit? Their dedication to exercise and eating healthy would impress Olympic athletes! They need a safe, spacious area to continue their fitness journey in preparation for when school sports teams reconvene for another season. Create a state-of-the-art home gym connected to their study area!
“Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay.” Weforum
Creating a Study Room/Classroom Environment Based on Age Group
Babies – Preschool: Has your maternity leave recently ended? Instead of heading back into the office and taking your little one to daycare, you must figure out how to occupy them while working from home. While babies and small children are the cutest, they also happen to be very needy, noisy, and messy. Imagine being in the middle of a zoom call and hearing your baby crying from a monitor in the nursery upstairs! Ease back into your workflow with a luxury office space, we suggest customizing your modern office next to a playroom or designate a section of your office with toys and crayons to occupy the little ones.
This expansion gives you the ability to have access to your little ones with just enough distance to focus on your work. Stay career oriented without missing out on your child’s development! Check out these personalized home offices with areas designated for small children. Need an extra hand? When in doubt, you can always hire a nanny! Check out Care.com to find a trustworthy nanny in your area!
Elementary – Junior High: 3rd graders to preteens are going to need a lot of space to explore! This is a high energy group of youngsters who will more than likely have multiple zoom classes a day and projects to work on. This study area should consist of areas for attending zoom classes on their laptops, dry erase boards, a chart for organizing their daily routine, a closet for school supplies, and a space for getting messy. In addition to the tech area of the study space, this age group will benefit from having an area designed specifically for projects, arts, and crafts. Get ideas for creative study spaces and at home classrooms from Crate & Barrel’s Pinterest board!
“The less clutter that is there in the room, the less likely it is that your child will be distracted. A neat and tidy room is always full of positive energy and enhances concentration in your child whereas negative energy and an untidy environment can cause just the opposite. Have a designated space for everything within the study area so that your child will know immediately where to find required study material. Shelves make a perfect place for keeping books stored within instant reach.” Pacifica Companies
High School – College: They say high school is the golden years of our youth. Seniors and college students are in a race to prepare for adulthood in a highly competitive world. Stabilize their efforts by creating a tranquil environment for practice exams, group projects on Zoom, AP classes, and writing college essays. For high school students, hang up pictures of their friends, personal artwork, or posters of their favorite celebrities for inspiration! For college students who may only be able to attend lectures via the web, add fun reminders that the “true college experience” will eventually happen! Adorn the walls with school spirit such as framing college jerseys, paint walls with colors of their school, and hang Greek letters on the wall to show solidarity to their school and fraternity/sorority. Check out these at home study room ideas for young adults!
…and now it’s time to focus on the parents!
“Video meetings and sending quick texts have become routine ways for remote workers to stay in touch. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the IDC claimed that mobile workers will make up almost 75% of the total US workforce by the end of 2020. That number will likely be higher because of the move so many U.S. businesses are making to remote work.” Computers Nationwide
An Office for Working Remotely: With the kids all set in their study area, it’s time to upgrade your casual home office space into a full time dedicated workspace! Working from home full time is now the new norm. According to a recent study, 72% of office workers say they’d like to work from home at least two days a week, even after COVID-19 is no longer a threat. With large companies closing down offices and requesting that their employees remain working from home, many people want to personalize their workspace and make it more comfortable. Being a remote worker is a whole new ballgame and requires us to develop a new skill set that your home office must match! Using your kitchen table as an office will no longer cut it.
The word “office” doesn’t mean stuffy! You work hard and deserve to work in a room that inspires creativity and promotes productivity – free of distractions! Work in general often causes us stress, but having small comforts within your office can reduce it. Major factors such as choosing the right chair, an ergonomic mouse, optimal lighting, organized shelving and even a mini fridge will all help make the workday more manageable. Even the color of the walls and furniture in your office are important. Did you know that paint colors can influence our moods? Here’s how to choose the right color selection for your work environment.
Creating the Ultimate Home Classroom and Office Space for Your Family
Pinterest and Houzz are great tools for exploring the possibilities and finding creative ideas! Feeling overwhelmed? Need help organizing your thoughts? That’s when it’s time to work with Tom Len Custom Home’s professional interior designers! Clients find that they love the process of working with our experienced (and very creative) interior designers. We’ll guide you in figuring out which spaces of your home are ideal for remodeling into a home office – or possibly recommend adding an addition if necessary! At Tom Len Custom Homes, we are fortunate to have one of Chicago’s BEST interior designers on staff. They will work with you to make your home luxurious from the inside out, reflecting your unique style, taste, and needs. Learn about the advantages of working with our interior designers!
Not sure how to tell if your office space needs an upgrade?
Working remotely presents the unique opportunity to establish a new space for productivity, creativity and connection. Capital One Careers has curated tips for making sure your office setup improves your mental health and productivity – based on the five senses:
- Sight: What does the view from your desk at the office look like? For fun, try to replicate it! Find a place that is naturally well lit, but try not to get distracted by any activity you might see out your window.
- Smell: Certain smells can bring us back to childhood memories and specific moments in time. Try wearing the perfume or cologne you wear to work to trigger your mind into your “office” mindset. Avoid lighting the candle you typically burn when you come home from the office to relax for the evening. Find a new scent to associate with a productive work day. Essential oils might be the trick here! Diffusing oils is said to increase memory, cognitive function and focus.
- Touch: Discomfort is distracting. A good chair that allows you to sit upright and comfortably can make all the difference! If you enjoy switching to a “standing desk” throughout your work day, find a location in your home that allows you to be flexible! If you want a change of pace or would like to work and exercise simultaneously, sitting on a yoga ball can help increase productivity and decrease lower back tightness.
- Sounds: Have your go-to tunes to bob your head to while you work? Listen to that “Work Hard, Play Hard” playlist at home as well, or create a new playlist for this new working situation! Be sure to change to a different playlist when it’s time to relax and close your computer.
- Taste: Have a few typical work snacks? Incorporate those into your routine throughout your time at home as well! Don’t forget to have your morning cup of coffee if that’s something you do each morning in the office. Even if it’s not your usual cup served with a smile from your favorite barista, you can still enjoy a home brewed cup of joe.
Check out our “Home Office” board on Pinterest or “Remote Workspace” Houzz ideabook for aesthetic and theme inspiration! No matter what kind of home office you desire, invest the time and imagination to customize it to your lifestyle. After all, you’ll be using it every day. Preparation is the key to success! Even though we are unsure what the future holds, we can do our best at home to ensure students get the best education possible while parents have a smooth transition into remote work life. We encourage you to remain optimistic during these challenging times. Partnering with Tom Len Custom Homes for your custom home remodel is a step in a positive direction!
Tom Len Custom Homes proudly serves the following areas in Chicago’s North Shore: Northfield, Glenview, Glencoe, Deerfield, Wilmette, Winnetka, Highland Park, and Riverwoods.