The home-office conflict
First, be aware of the inherent conflict in the phrase home office. It links two places that typically have been separated by physical as well as psychological boundaries. At the office, value is placed on productivity, standardized work hours, and the segregation of personal needs. At home, priorities change: Personal needs move to the forefront and become more valuable than work tasks. Meals need to be cooked, the kids need help with homework, friends and family stop by.
Designing a good home office involves much more than finding a place for the computer and some files. A successful design requires integration of the workspace into the family’s living spaces and patterns. As an architect, I begin by evaluating the needs of the users through a series of questions about the kind of work they do at home (click on the "Read More" button for details). The answers to these questions help me lay out the type of home office that will be a good fit. By the way, I also listen for clues that a client may be telling me their fantasy of how they work versus how they really work. (Spouses are good reality checks on this.)