Guest Blog for How to Set Up a Sensory-Friendly Home Office

Home Office Upgrades That Won’t Eat Up Your Salary

As a neurodivergent person, it can be difficult to get used to working from home. You may think it’s necessary to spend thousands of dollars outfitting an old room as a new home office. Fortunately, it is not. There are many things that you can do to keep your mind on track so that you can get through each workday without undue stress and strain. If you’re about to work from home for the first time, today’s Return to Innocence blog is for you.

The Greatest Challenge

While people with autism face many challenges in the workplace, including trouble communicating and difficulty reading other people’s emotions, working from home is an entirely different ballgame. For those of us on the spectrum, the sudden loss of a daily routine—getting up, getting ready, going into work, completing our duties, clocking out, and going home—can send our minds into overdrive. Your first goal for your home office is to make sure it’s conducive to your new daily routine.

Setting the Stage

Your office setup is a huge influencing factor in your work-from-home success. Start by choosing a desk that works for you. If you frequently experience back pain, for example, ZenBusiness notes that a standup desk is a great option. Similarly, when getting distracted by sound is a problem, you’ll need to look for ways to soundproof your office. This might include using acoustic panels or foam and adding pieces of furniture that can absorb outside noise.

It can also help to have a “to-do” board right next to your desk. This will give you a place to write down your daily expectations, whether they are self-imposed or given as assignments by your employer or superior. A quick tip here is to buy low-odor dry erase markers, which you can find online or at your local office supply store for about the same price as a standard dry erase marker pack.

When you’re designing your office layout, you should also think about the colors in the room that you use to work. According to PPG Paints, neutral colors can reduce stimulation while soft pinks, blues, and greens can create calmness. Decide which colors are best for you and paint your office, allowing plenty of time for the fumes to dissipate before placing your furniture and equipment.

A few other ways to ensure that your home office is sensory friendly and keeps you on track include utilizing natural light, buying dimmer lights, reducing glare, adding storage shelves, eliminating clutter, and creating distinct places for your desktop necessities so that your workstation always remains organized.

How Do My Updates Affect My Home’s Value?

Many people begin to wonder if adding a home office can help or hurt their home value. For the most part, unless you are converting an entire bedroom into a dedicated workspace, then you are looking at an uptick in your home’s appraisal value. Adding a home office can boost your home’s value by up to 20%, and more people are working from home these days than ever. If you’re planning to sell within the next few years, make sure to have before-and-after pictures on hand. You’ll also want to talk with your realtor or do research on what other upgrades buyers in your local area are looking for.

Setting up your first home office is an intimidating endeavor when you are used to having the structure of a brick-and-mortar workplace. But, although it may take time to acclimate to your new work situation, by making a few smart choices now, you will settle in faster and get to work sooner. Fortunately, an autism-friendly home office doesn’t have to break the bank, and you can make it happen no matter your budget.

-by Eleanor Wyatt