Creating a family friendly home office is one of the tasks you have in front of you. It is a delicate balance to try to achieve. On the one hand, you need to get your work done. On the other hand, you want to enjoy your family. Is there a way to do both? Let's take a look at some suggestions.
Nothing says relax like a big comfy sofa. It also serves as a 'magnet' to draw the kids together in one cozy area away from your desk. Have blankets and pillows handy for short naps or cuddling. Invite the family in after school to relax and catch up on their day. For pre-school children, keep a box of toys and books handy to keep them busy while you wrap up loose ends. If your home office isn't large enough for a sofa, throw down a rug with a couple bean bag chairs or big pillows. The object here is to have an inviting place to welcome your family into your surroundings, but still separated from your work area.
Put a coffee table or small kitchen table and some good lighting in your office separate from your desk to make a homework spot for your school age kids. Use the same idea for your pre-school children and include lots of art supplies so your young children can 'work' while you do. If room isn't available for a table, get out those old TV tables you have stored and put them to good use, then fold them and store them away again until needed.
Snacks and beverages are especially important when kids arrive home from school. Children are hungry after a long day, and hunger creates unhappiness. Rather than leave your office to fix them something in the kitchen, have a small supply of snacks and drinks ready in your office space. Consider having a small refrigerator in your office to complete the welcoming feeling, and for convenience. Serve snacks picnic style for fun and your kids will know they can relax and enjoy their food in your company.
Having a family friendly office does not mean there are no rules involved. There will be times when you will need your office to yourself, and this needs to be made clear from the beginning. If you have a set schedule, you can post your hours on the door for all to see. You may want to have a 'Welcome' mat to put outside the door when everyone can come in, relax and visit. Save work that doesn't need a lot of concentration for those 'family times.' Be clear about the rules and arrange your work time so you can enjoy your office and family both.