Ideally your workspace at home should be a separate space to your living accommodation. It allows for separation, so you can, well, separate your work from your home set up.
There are many reasons this is a good idea, and we’ve all had time to reflect on this during the COVID pandemic haven’t we? For many this period of home working has been a blessing and a curse.
Having the opportunity to avoid lengthy commutes to the office in crowded trains etc, has been for many a huge relief, but this has been hard for those of us who do not have a dedicated workspace. A study, or converted spare room have been a boon, whereas setting up in the dining room, or on the kitchen counter has been sub optimal at best.
We’re seeing a surge in people investing in solutions like a garden offices, where the space is dedicated to work set ups, which can be left overnight as your commute up the garden path home gives you separation. The garden office can be permanently equipped just like your office is, and you can be equally undisturbed and undisturbing for the rest of the family.
Doing this successfully does require some fundamentals like furniture and technology, all fit for purpose.
Corporate bods are welcoming the enterprise of having ready-to-go solutions wrapped elegantly with business finance options that leverage tax breaks and government relief at the time it’s most needed. Employees get a fantastic, useful additional space at home that adds value to their property too.
This subject really spoke to me and, funnily enough, I decided to write my dissertation on this while I was studying at the National Designs Academy in Nottingham. I feel as though this topic is really relevant to a lot of us and I just want to give those a few tips who may be struggling with adapting and those who feel they need to make some changes in order for their working day to be more successful.
2020 was a year which changed the way in which a lot of us worked. The arrival of the pandemic meant that very few employers and employees were unaffected by its impact on working practices. Things feel like they have returned to normal to a certain extent now, sure. Yes, the bars and pubs are open and it isn’t compulsory to wear masks anymore, but the way we work has kind of stayed the same for a lot us. At home. I wrote this blog to help those who have and will have to overcome the challenges and hurdles faced when adapting to changing working environments to your home environments and what can be done to face some of these issues head on.
The practical side of working from home is not always straightforward. Our workplaces are designed to be just that – workplaces. Many of our homes are not designed around the need to work within them. Here are some ways to improve your home office space which will cover limitation of available space; safeguarding personal motivation and well-being; and maintaining professionalism.
You’re faced with working from home, but you don’t have a separate space in order for you to concentrate as you could in the work space. Your kids are on summer holiday, your partner is playing on his PS4 next to you, that TV programme on in the background looks really interesting. You may be on the opposite side to this, and you do have a separate space, but you do not know how to utilise that space.
Number 1 thing to focus on is getting that separate space from your home life. You need to be able to shut the door at the end of the day as if you would do when leaving work to go home. Is there a room in your house that is unused throughout the day? Do you have space under your stairs? Is your spare bedroom not being used? Do you have a shed you can convert into an office space? There are so many things to consider before plonking yourself on the sofa or at the dining table with constant distractions around you.
Now you have figured where you could potentially put your office, you could potentially be limited by space. If you have a good idea of a space you can happily work in then that’s great. If you’re still struggling and cannot think of anywhere suitable for your home office then you will just have to make do with what you have got HOWEVER I would suggest the following:
Fold away furniture; this is a great utilisation of space, fold away desks, chairs or storage space allows you to pack up at the end of the day and resume your normal life at home with no extra space used.
Try to minimise the amount of traffic in and out the room.
Now you need to decide what to do with that space. Which brings me onto…
MOOD AND MOTIVATION:
Your mood affects the way you work, it’s a known fact. If you are feeling happy you are productive, if you are feeling down or unhappy then it shows in the work you do or how fast you do it. I’m not saying I can fix all your worries and problems (as much as I’d want to!) but as I have said, a good working environment helps your mood which then leads to productivity. If you are then being productive at work it has a domino effect and things in your life will start to feel more at ease.
Once your workspace has been thought about, you can then start to think about what style you like, what colours make you happy and is your workspace clean and tidy (trust me, this has an impact on your stress levels!)
From a personal perspective the ideal home office has the following:
Good lighting; natural is best but if this isn’t possible a good bright light which stops you from straining your eyes while looking at the computer is 2nd best.
A comfortable and up-right seat with the desk at the right height for you. You could even try a standing desk. Colours that affect your mood in a positive way; colours such as:
green; an outdoorsy and nature colour, blue; a calm and peaceful colour, pink; vibrant and confident, or yellow; bright and summery vibes.
A particular style that pleases you; this can Contemporary, Art-deco, Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian etc.
Professionalism is about how you present yourself, and what others can see while you’re video-calling colleagues. What do you want your colleagues to see? Personally I feel you have a few choices with how you present yourself. One is to have your back to the wall so there is a blank canvas behind you, two is the same as above but decorate the wall behind you with either a notice board, shelving with books/plants/candles on it, or you can filter the background which a lot of these video-calling apps have in the Settings section and therefore you do not have to worry about what will be in shot around you.
There are different ways to deal with professionalism and the choice is yours. What you DO NOT want is clothes/mess all over the floor, dirty pots, people / animals walking in and out of shot in the background etc.
I hope my blog helps you decide how you go forward with your home office. Stay tuned for more Interior Design blogs