July 2, 2020
Sometimes change comes about all of a sudden rather than slowly or incrementally over time. The jury is still out regarding the ways in which COVID-19 will impact retail, leisure and travel but most commentators agree that work after the pandemic will be different. After a ‘baptism of fire’ many companies now recognise that the time for working from home has finally arrived. And the impact it will have on transport, urban planning etc. is going to be huge. But this article is concerned with the basics, providing advice on creating a home office. And tips on how to make sure you get the most out of the home office. Choosing the furniture, setting the ambience, making the most of available resources, establishing a budget and the most conducive colour schemes.
You don’t have to have a dedicated room in the home to put together a home office, in fact, any quiet corner will do.
However, a separate space is a great option. Whether it be within the bedroom, living room or the kitchen the important thing is to achieve a sense of calm. Some considerations are important, after sorting out the computer and internet connection, here below we look at some of the options available.
First things first, the work desk and office chair are the most critical furnishing elements. There are a number of high tech and low tech options, choosing the right one for your home office is as much as a stylistic choice as anything else.
Posture and back support are important considerations when working at a desk. Ergonomics is a branch of science dedicated to the design of workspaces in order to achieve a better fit with the people who use them. A height-adjustable desk which allows sitting or standing while working is an example of how ergonomics can be applied to the home office. As is an office chair with firm back support and adjustable height. The angle of wrist and keyboard is also an important consideration in order to avoid stress on the wrist joints.
The living room is probably the most popular area of the home to locate the home office. It offers the advantage of combining the supervision of kids and other domestic chores while working. Ideally, the desk should be positioned in a niche, alcove or a separate corner. Pair with shelving to provide practical storage space for paperwork or other office detritus.
The desk should be considered as a matching piece of furniture with the other elements in the room. That is to say, a vintage style desk if the bedroom is decorated in a traditional manner. If positioned by a window with its back to the room there is a psychological separation of the sleeping and working areas of the room.
Under foot the home office should be hard-wearing and scuff-proof. That means protecting timber floors with a rug or choosing flooring options such as ceramic tiles or stone flags that are hyper resistant. Calming colours for soft furnishings and paint colours such as blue are a great choice to create a work-focused ambience. Or alternatively a strong colour can help keep the mind focused.
To get started the single most important investment is the office chair, do not skimp on costs. Allow for between £150 – £250 for good quality, solid office chair with back support and height-adjustable. For the office desk the budget can vary from a bargain picked up at an antiques shop for £50 to a high tech option that can be upwards of £1,000. An overall budget including shelving and desktop accessories should start from £500.
Creating a home office that is conducive to work is easier than you think, here below we look at 10 simple ways to make it happen:
#02 Laptops & desktops
|Given that the commuting time to the home office is effectively eliminated keeping track of time should be a priority. Monitor your time and remember that productivity is the goal.|
|Nowadays the storage capacity and speed of the average laptop matches the average desktop so choosing one or the other comes down to space available.|
#03 Wifi and a good connection
#04 Storage & organisation
|The choice of where to set up your home office should take the Wifi connection into consideration. Choose a location that optimises the connection speed, and if required close to a land line.|
|Although in theory we are increasingly moving towards a paperless world most of us still depend on notes and paper files. Having wall shelving or indeed a desk with drawers can help keep the paraphernalia of the home office hidden when not in use.|
#05 Keeping in touch with Nature
#06 Making the most of awkward areas in the home
|Working close to a window with a view to the outside or surrounding the work space with potted plants is not only healthier for the body but aids concentration.|
|The home office doesn’t have to take up a lot of space and even an attic conversion will make a good location. A wide landing, a generous entrance hall, an under-stairs alcove can all provide great places to set up your home office.|
#07 Auxiliary furniture
#08 Eclectic style
|As well as the work desk elements like space dividers, under desk filing cabinets on casters and even a wall hung white board or planner can help create an ambience of concentration.|
|The style of the home office can be minimalist, industrial, vintage, mid-century modern or what ever you prefer. The important consideration is that it can compliment and enhance the space where it is located.|
#10 Your own autonomy
|Remember that working from home has costs implications, utilities will be more expensive so factor this additional cost into your negotiations with employers.|
|The joys of working from home include being in control of you own time, outside of Zoom meetings you can organise your time and space to suit your individual needs.|