Until recently I had never heard of the expression “Pocket Office”. When I heard it, I assumed it was one of those all-you-need set of stationery items that I once used when working in the Palace of Westminster. It comprised pens, sticky notepads, a mini-stapler, clear sticky tape and a number of other things that you might need when out and about and away from your normal “big” office. But no, a Pocket Office is a small area in your home that is a mini office. Not a complete spare bedroom turned over to an office but something much smaller. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) it’s one of the biggest trends in new residential design. You can also find sites where plans are obtainable to show how to convert an area to a pocket office.
Having a pocket office with a small space devoted to work can save money and space. Pocket offices are generally about half the size of a typical home office in a medium sized-house and usually range from 16 to 80 square feet. Not only can you do your work in the pocket office, but you can use the space as an area where you can have the quiet and room to do your domestic online chores such as paying your bills, ordering things, checking your finances, and then finish off with 20 minutes or so of leisure- checking on your Facebook, Twitter and similar social media accounts.
It’s happening now for a number of reasons. One is that the old work process of going to a place of work Monday to Friday to use the Office’s computers is so out of date. We work on the train on our lap-tops and can avoid the rush-hour by leaving the office early and finishing off work at home. Or have a day a week working at home. Essentially, the internet and computer miniaturisation means you carry your work and your office with you. Another reason is that with more and more people seeking places to live, to have a whole room in your home devoted to an office is a bit of a luxury- what happens if a friend wants to stay over?
To create the perfect pocket office, consider re-purposing an existing space like a large closet, or built-in wardrobe. Another solution would be to use an area under the stairs, although you should try to get adequate natural light because it’s tiring using nothing but artificial light. Having said that recessed lights from an area above will save you having to use precious space with standard or desk lamps. Have a built in desk that has lower shelves for the mini-printer and Wi-Fi gear. A draw for your office supplies is also handy.
What about a door? You don’t really want to have your back to an open space, yet a conventional door to allow you to “contain yourself” in the pocket office will take up too much room. The solution is a sliding door. It can hang from the ceiling and not need a bottom runner track.
Use the wall for a pin-board notice board on which you can attach job tasks and the like. You can also attach pockets to them that can house stationery or spare CD/DVD ROMs.
Speaking from my own experience, I find a pocket office less distracting that a larger room turned into an office. There’s just less to look at in your pocket office and you’ll concentrate more and be more efficient.