Working from home has become more and more popular in recent years. Whether you’re a remote employee or are self-employed, you want a workspace that’s comfortable, practical, and boosts your productivity.
The average worker in the UK spends 437 hours a year working — so why not spend this working time in a pleasant environment? Our workspaces also have a significant impact on our productivity, which can mean improved career prospects, a greater income, and less stress.
Designating a specific workspace in your home has many advantages over simply working on your laptop on the sofa or at the kitchen table. However, it can often be tricky to know where you should start when designing a home office. Here are some ideas to help spark your inspiration.
Optimise Your Workstation
Most home workers use computers for at least some of their work. Choose a desk that meets your needs — this could be a small corner desk for working on a laptop, or a larger desk for a full PC setup, desk lamp, webcam, notebook, and any other equipment you may need to do your job well. You can think outside the box here — for example, standing desks are becoming increasingly popular!
How you arrange your desk can be as important as the desk itself. For example, tidy cable management contributes significantly to the usability and aesthetic of a workstation. For example, you can pick up clips and use spray adhesive to attach them to surfaces like the back or underside of a desk, and tuck cables in place behind them. Spray adhesive is easy to use and works on a variety of materials, so your cable management solution will stay in place for many years with the correct application.
Seating is also vital. Spending hours each day sitting on an unsuitable chair can lead to bad posture, pain, and health issues. Consider an ergonomic office chair — these come in many designs, so shop around to find one that suits your visual style.
Storage is vital for a functional home office. Even in this modern, supposedly “paperless” era, most workers end up having to store plenty of important files and other bits! Choosing a desk with spacious drawers can help here, or even a filing cabinet.
If you want your home office to be vibrant, cosy, inspiring, or anything other than the drab grey of many offices, you can even spruce up traditional filing cabinets. Why not apply adhesive vinyl coverings to a filing cabinet? These can transform a dull cabinet into something as attractive as it’s useful.
A bookshelf can also be a great addition to a home office — both functional and aesthetically pleasing. As well as letting you display your favourite books and/or store important work-related documents, it can also let you use your office as a quiet reading space outside of working hours!
The Right Light
Lighting is a key component of interior design, whatever the room. Sadly, this aspect is often neglected in professional offices, where bright fluorescent white lights are standard. Thankfully, you can tailor your lighting to your own preferences in your home!
For most types of work, it’s important that there is enough light in a room — whether natural or artificial. A room with plenty of natural light is ideal, but you should also make sure there is enough indoor lighting to keep things bright during the darker months of the year.
Although working in extremely dim lighting can strain your eyes — especially if for many hours at a time — cosy, ambient lighting can be great if you’re working (or using the room for reading, gaming, or other hobbies) into the evening. Why not use layered lighting, such as a desk lamp, floor lamp, and maybe even small accent lights, to create a pleasant ambience.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an accounting tutor or studying interior design at your desk, good lighting is integral to productivity and avoiding strain on your eyes.
Decorate, decorate, decorate!
One of the advantages of a home office is that you can think beyond the dull uniformity of a commercial office, and really personalise your space. Although you’ll want to avoid visual or physical clutter, some decor can turn your office into somewhere you genuinely enjoy spending time in. This can be especially useful if you do creative work — decor like wall art can really help generate inspiration.
Studies show that plants can boost productivity in workplaces, so why not get a houseplant or two? If you don’t want to add the chore of watering a plant to your daily list of tasks, you can get a cactus or other succulent that requires only minimal upkeep.
The most important thing…
Although these tips can help you turn any room into a functional home office, there is one decision that is perhaps the most crucial — choosing the right room! It’s usually best to choose a room that’s “out of the way”, so a busy kitchen with lots of foot traffic probably isn’t ideal.
If possible, use a room that’s a little more isolated. Not only does this mean that you’re further from distracting noise, but it can also help you create a greater separation between “work” and “home” life, which is one of the most difficult aspects of working from home! If you take some time to plan each aspect of your home office, you can make work more enjoyable and productive than you thought possible.