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How to design a happy home office

Amanda Berglund for Quartz
  • Anne Quito
By Anne Quito

Design and architecture reporter

Published Last updated on

Building a wall between the professional and personal domains has been the fundamental project of the modern worker.
The goal was work-life balance, which in theory, entails evenly splitting our energies between the office and the home. Achieving it was supposed to be the key to happiness. But after months of forced remote work due to the pandemic, we are realizing that this division was never so neat, or even feasible to begin with.

As we face the reality of working remotely for the foreseeable future, many are testing corners of their living quarters—the kitchen table, the bed, the couch, a spare closet, the garden, the garage or even disused swimming pools—in their search for an optimal working spot. In thinking about their coronavirus-era home offices, people are asking: What tools do I need to do my job effectively? How can I stay focused? Does ergonomics really matter? Can I be really happy working at home?

Creating a joyful home office entails a physical and mental makeover. There are many aspiring gurus shilling advice, but there’s no single prescription as our jobs and living situations are vastly different. This field guide attempts to offer a variety of answers to anyone looking to improve their home office setup.

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