Tips for Creating a Home Office Space
Across the UK, more people than ever are working from home. Many were forced to when the pandemic hit and this is a change that has stuck for many people and become their “new normal”.
For some, like us, we already worked remotely. This was often in our home but also at coffee shops and other spaces locally in which we could set up for the day and complete our workload.
People who were forced to work from home, were also forced to get creative with their space. Some people are lucky enough to have offices at homes or spare rooms which they could set up to work. Others have had to work in their kitchen or be forced to find cool new ways of utilising their homes.
There are a few questions worth asking yourself before you get started in designing your home office space:
How much desktop space do you require?
What storage do you need?
What are your printing requirements?
Is it important for you to have peace and quiet; to be insulated from noise and disruption within the home?
How much of your time is spent on the phone and, while on the phone, do you use other equipment?
Do you require access to a library of books, or samples?
Are you untidy, and must your clutter be left untouched by other people in the house?
Do you often need to access files? Would these work better for you as lever arch files on a shelf or drop-in files in a desk drawer, or are there so many that they would work better on your wall?
Wherever you are working, you want to make sure you have enough light, fresh air and can stay motivated and inspired to get through the working day without feeling trapped or stuck in the house.
Here’s how to create a space for your home office with a motivating working environment:
Location is key. Take a look around your house and garden and see where might work best for your new office set-up.
Look at where there is space and where you might get the most peace and quiet throughout the day. You might actually like to work amongst noise and have people around you so maybe you consider a more lively spot in the house like the living room or kitchen diner.
Decide on which location is best and suits your work style. It’s where you’re going to be spending a large part of your working day, so you want to make sure that you are comfortable and that you’re going to be productive!
Boxes, drawers, storage and organisers are your best friends when you are working from home.
A cluttered space can be distracting and even increase your stress levels; that is why decluttering should be an important and a regular task. Make sure you have enough space to work and enough light. If you are working across various screens and tablets, you need to make sure you have enough light and the right desk space and chairs to ensure you are comfy and looking after your body and posture while you work.
Pick the correct desk and chair
Since you’ll be spending most of your time in your home office, consider investing in a new desk and an adjustable chair that fits your budget, your workflow, and your space.
A desk which is wide enough for your computer set and with an enough room to do your work will make you feel more comfortable. Make sure it’s the right height and has leg room for long periods of sitting. And if your desk needs enlivening touches, put a little work -- refresh and spruce it up with some of these simple ideas:
Build or buy a desk
If you don’t have an actual desk, you attempt to DIY or just buy one at a furniture shop or at a garage sale. You could also get a standing desk rather than the usual sitting desk.
Other helpful top tips...
Invest in a monitor riser or stand
Give your neck a break with a monitor stand. It will place your monitor at eye level and help for easier viewing. If you are really strapped for cash, you can just stack some unused books under your monitor to make it sit higher.
Keep pens and pencils at hand
Organise your desk and store your writing tools and other handy office supplies by reusing unused mugs, or tin cans so your desk area doesn’t become chaotic. Place them within your reach to easily grab what you need.
Make use of pegboards
Maximise space on the wall by putting up a pegboard. You can use it to hang your belongings up like keys, a clock, task lists, memos, working plans, etc.
Hide your desk cords
No one wants to feel cluttered with wires around them while they work. You could invest in wireless input devices - printer, keyboard, mouse, noise-cancelling headphones or speaker and wireless router. You could also add hooks or cable/wire clips in your desktop to lead any wires from your desk down below and attach any extra and visible wires underneath your table.
Add a natural element
Bring life to your desk with green plants. Plants are known not only to improve air quality and also reduce stress, boost your mood and make you feel calm and relaxed.
Splurge on a chair that makes you want to stay longer working. Pick the one with the right height and provides proper back and arm support for the type of work you will be doing. Your chair should also be sturdy but supportive, you want to be able to move freely in the chair.
Remember that both needs to be ergonomically sound. Your desk and chair should keep your eye level with your screen when your back is straight. After all, your comfort is your priority when working from home.
Some employers have offered to pay for new chairs and desks for their employees which is great. If this is not something that your work have mentioned, it might be worth considering speaking to someone in your team about obtaining these items. Maybe even just a contribution to them would be enough.
Lighting is often overlooked when setting up a home office.
The light from your laptop isn’t enough by any means. Keep in mind that poor lighting won’t cause blindness but, it will cause you to strain your eyes -- eye strain can cause headaches which will make you feel down and less productive.
Set up your home office where you can get as much natural light as possible. Natural daylight improves our mood, concentration and helps you feel good, which is why having a window in your office can be beneficial. When natural light isn’t available, maybe you just need an extra lamp or two.
Style Your Space
One of the greatest parts of working from home is that you can style the space however you like. This can be a really great opportunity to get creative.
The aesthetics of your home can have a great impact on your productivity. You can check for some inspiration from different interior décor magazines and websites like Pinterest.
Think about what inspires you. A few items that truly motivate you which won’t cause your desk to look messy are a good thing. Mix up decorations and ideas to re-energise your area and stop it from looking bland and boring. There are a lot of ways to improve your home office to suit your taste by:
Add colour – painting is a cheap way to brighten up any room with colours that inspire and motivate you. Brighter colours will help spark creativity and give you energy. Dark colours might seem stylish but they might make the room a little dark; this is something to consider if you are spending a lot of time in it.
Add pictures – hang up some pictures on the walls or place some in your desk. It can make your space feel cozy and warm.
Add storage – it tidies the clutter and give you a space to put everything away once your work is done. You can also use extra storage to file or make use of small shelve to keep yourself organised throughout the working week.