Being able to work from home is a blessing to many people. It’s a perk not having to commute to and from work, having a better work-life balance and the fun experience of becoming an interior designer for your own office. If you are looking to set up a home office for the first time, or want to revamp your existing space, here are a few key considerations.
Firstly, consider what sort of office you want. Do you want quirky or prefer more sophisticated? Browsing the internet for inspiration is a good way to start but remember that sometimes the magazine offices you’d see can be unrealistic when you’re working a 40+ hours a week. For example, a plastic, bright orange quirky chair isn’t going to be very comfortable to constantly be sitting there. Functional comes first, aesthetic comes second. Whether you’re full time or part-time, you want to feel at ease and motivated in your work space. You must consider where your home office is going to be – is it going to be a spare room? Or will it be a converted shed in the garden? Once you’ve got your inspiration, following the points below will guide you on how to create the best work home office.
Invest in a chair. It sounds like a small aspect when taking in everything else for designing, but you’ll be sitting in your chair for the majority of your day – you need comfort, so spending a bit more money on it can be a good idea. There’s the ergonomic rules that you should follow when setting up your desk/computer area: for example, the top of your computer screen to be eye level, your arms to be parallel to the floor and making sure your chair is adjusted so that your feet are firmly on the floor.
Natural light is essential, no one wants to be cooped up in a dark, corporate like office. When deciding about the layout of your office, being close to a window is beneficial. It’ll allow you to rest your eyes away from the screen and look outside into the natural life. Make sure your computer screen isn’t in direct sunlight as this will create glare which will be irritating when needing to work.
Although natural light is great, it only lasts for certain hours of the day, this becoming shorter throughout the winter months. Desk lamps offer a kind, soft glow as well as being aesthetically pleasing.
As well as natural life, the colour palette within the room is more powerful than you first think. Colours are associated with emotions, avoid colours such as lilacs and blue as these links to relaxation or a bright fiery red as this will be hugely distracting. Neutral colours are the safest option as they won’t cause any distraction and if you want that splash of colour, how about a purple or yellow rug? Or pillows? These colours are known to stimulate imagination.
Designing your own home office is a fantastic way for you to get creative. Storage is an ideal way to put your creativity to the test. There’s a variety of storage you can use, wall storage being one of them. Bookcases or magazine type racks come in handy or if you’re transforming a guest room into an office, wardrobe space is great to store it all. Thus, also taking up less space and decreasing the clutter in the main office. File dividers or boxes are vital for organisation when storing paperwork; you don’t want to be spending more than 2 minutes searching for a document.
Comfort is essential in every area of life, even work life. Your desk is your active work space; writing or replying to emails but there may be a time in your job where you need a bit of downtime to think or read. A lovely beanbag or comfortable chair with a nice footstool and a coffee table would be fantastic to read a client’s book or the local news plus, give your eyes a rest away from the computer screen.
Turning your office slightly botanical has proven to make people happier. This is why corporate companies are going that way when designing. Bringing the outside in brightens up your office as well as giving you extra oxygen and a natural feel. Plus, plants can go one or two days without water so you can have them weekends completely away from your office!
Many people who have their own desk space within an office will personalise it in some way. Whether that be photos or something their children made, it brings that sense of calm and happiness when you glance over at it. In your home office, do this as well – even though you’re at home, you’ll still have a few tough days! Be sure to rotate them around occasionally though, as you don’t want them sinking into the wallpaper and going unnoticed.
In a home office, you’re less likely to have ugly things floating around such as grey cabinets or heaters but you’ll still have the odd items or appliances you don’t like the look of. Having hundreds of untidy wires never looks pleasing, hiding these will be beneficial to your mood as it’s an annoyance that’s not visible. Printers and scanners can irritate people, if you’re one of them and have room – pop them away in the cupboard space.
Now all the design features have been spoken about, there’s a few practical things you should consider. Overstocking on office essentials; pens, staples, paper etc. is a fantastic idea. You don’t want to be in the middle of a crucial job and suddenly run out of ink and have no back up. Considering a coffee maker or mini fridge is a good idea also, getting up every hour and popping into a sociable space (the kitchen) can distract you for longer than you want! Also, be sure to have enough plug sockets for all appliances. Buy an extension lead if needed.
Whilst you are enjoying all the perks of your fabulous new home office, make sure that your space is safe and free from hazards. According to LegalExpert.co.uk the most common accidents to take place in a home office include loose wires and cables that can cause slips, trips and falls, sharp ends of tables or wall-mounted shelves and over-stacking bookcases which could lead to items falling from height. With the risk of little people entering your home office, it’s also worth making sure that any sharp items are put well out of reach.
Article for Family Friendly Working by LegalExpert.co.uk