Whether you operate a business from home, telecommute occasionally or are a full-time freelancer, remote working has its own advantages. Benefits include reduced travel time, saving money on petrol and increased work flexibility. However, you’ve probably experienced the struggle at some point of resisting the multitude of temptations and distractions that are in the home.
With reportedly half of the UK workforce to work remotely by 2020, creating a productive and efficient space is more important than ever. It doesn’t matter if you only have a corner of the living room to work with or are lucky enough to dedicate an entire room, you can build the office space you need to get your head down and work.
- Let the light in
Lighting is crucial in an office environment, badly placed and dim lighting can lead to eye strain and headaches. Two things which do not lead to the utmost productivity while working. Make sure your new office space has plenty of lighting and position the computer monitor so there’s no glare from an overhead light or window. According to Cornell University, natural light is the best medicine for the office. Employees in daylit office environments reported an 84% drop in symptoms such as headaches, eye strain and blurred vision, all of which affects productivity at work.
When positioning your workspace and desk, try to embrace natural light as much as possible rather than creating a corporate cubicle for yourself. The best setup gives you the benefits of natural light without causing glare. For specific tasks, you can add a small lamp to your desk to brighten up your desk when needed. Even if you have great natural light, you’re bound to end up working late into the darker hours of the day.
- Use vertical and horizontal storage
It’s no secret that filing cabinets aren’t the most attractive piece of furniture. Working from home brings with it a need for storage. Trying to wade through a messy desk is no way to start the day. You need to find storage for all your papers, tech and everything you use on a regular basis.
Don’t restrict yourself to traditional storage. Look to fill out your wall’s with useful storage as well. This oak reversible wall storage unit can be mounted either way depending on your needs. With plenty of storage for your office stationery, work inspiration and papers, this piece has been designed to last a lifetime.
If you’re looking for furniture that serves a purpose and looks great, you can lean away from traditional filing cabinets with this Mayan walnut two drawer filing cabinet. The cabinet looks great as a piece of standalone furniture and will help to keep your home office organised. This piece is also available with three drawers.
Another storage option for a home office is a bookcase. Whether you want it open or closed, a bookcase is a great way to organise your office and allows for easy access to books and office stationery. This narrow glazed bookcase is also available in Mayan walnut, so you’re office furniture can match and look fantastic.
- Location, location!
Location can be everything when it comes to creating a home office space. Ideally, you want to be positioned as far away from both temptations and distracting people. If you are able to have a door on your office, this is a great way to separate your work and personal life, making it easier to leave your work behind when spending time with family and friends. Having a room to step into and dressing like a grown-up makes you feel more productive and work well.
However, if you only have a corner of a room then you can still create an equally amazing office space. Try to avoid squishing a tiny desk into a windowless area. You’ll likely be spending hours working away in your office and being in the right place is key. If you have clients dropping by for meetings then you’ll need ample space with seating.
Always try and position yourself with natural light in a space that serves as an office well. If you have a big family and regular house visitors, then placing yourself out of the main hub of the living area may be a good idea.
- Add greenery and nature
A green office is a productive office. According to a Harvard study, when working in green-certified offices, we get a 26% boost in cognition and 30% fewer sickness-related absences. Sleep quality also improved by 6%. If something as simple as adding plants to your workspace has the power to reduce stress and increase productivity, it’s a must for a home office. Adding something organic to a room really has the power to boost your mood, whether it’s flowers or plants. People with nature and greenery in their home are less likely to feel anxious and worried.
Adding greenery also makes a workspace more attractive while cleaning the air and has been reported to increase creativity. We all know that being in nature is good for you so it’s no surprise that bringing nature indoors can help boost your work. Plants can help to reduce sickness and noise levels as well as boost creativity. Popular plants for your desk include Devil’s Ivy, Peace lily, Ficus Benjamina, Dracaena, Cacti and Philodendron.
- Create an efficient workspace
An efficient and organised workspace is key to a productive workflow and home office. The desk you decide to choose will depend on the space you have available, where your home office will be situated and the look you’re after. Make sure there is plenty of space for you to work and it’s suitable for its purpose.
If your home office is positioned within another room, this Shiro walnut hidden home office is a great choice. It appears to look like a normal piece of furniture, however, the upper drawer has a hinged front and can house your keyboard and mouse. With further internal storage, this piece is a secret storage monster and is a perfect home office partner.
For a simple and light desk space, this elegant desk from our Signature range is a great addition. A chair can easily slide underneath and with two small drawers, there’s enough room to store office stationery. Desks come in such a varied number of styles, colours and materials there’s something that will suit everyone’s needs. For something a little different, this urban chic style laptop desk is made from reclaimed wood salvaged from places such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan Southern India.
- Think ergonomically
When organising your workspace, remember to think ergonomically and follow the proper rules. The top of your computer should either be at eye level or a little below. This will help when you scan down the screen as your eyelids will naturally close a bit and moisten which will help to reduce eye tiredness.
Your keyboard should be positioned parallel to the floor while your feet should rest firmly on the floor, or a footrest if you can’t reach the floor. There are a number of products that can help with reducing injury from sitting for long hours. As well as the equipment you use, you can do other things that will help reduce any workplace injuries. Try alternating between different postures on a regular basis as well as taking regular screen breaks.
Maintain an appropriate light level while you work, more light is usually needed to read a document than a computer screen. Be sure to clean the computer screen and surfaces where you work, helping to reduce the amount of dust collecting on items like paper and files. Avoid long periods of repetitive activity and organise your workspace in the most efficient way for daily tasks.
- Choose a wall colour you love
If like most people, office beige doesn’t work for you, pick a colour that gets you excited to work. For some people that might be a bright colour such as yellow or orange. Yellow represents creativity, optimism, friendliness and confidence so is a great colour to stimulate positivity and creativity. Some may consider blue too relaxing for an office space, but a soothing blue-green colour can be a good choice. Another option is violet, a fresh and inspirational colour to keep your creativity flowing at home. Purple can promote deep contemplation or luxury but should be used carefully as too much or the wrong tone can create the opposite effect.
The colour you choose for your home office is entirely down to you and your taste. For a more strong and serious style, choose a mocha colour that can be paired well with black leather, dark woods and grey materials.
- Make sure you have a view
Give yourself a view and position the desk looking out onto something more interesting than a blank wall. When you eventually glance up from your computer screen, give yourself an interesting view. If you can, the ideal situation is to have a window’s natural light streaming into your workspace. However, if you’re in a windowless space then hang a nice piece of art or inspiration on the wall above your desk. Create a space that is inviting and comfortable, you will be spending long periods of time in this space so make sure it’s organised and efficient.
- Invest in a great chair
You will spend hours sitting at your desk so investing in a supportive, high-quality chair is a must. A stylish, ergonomically-correct and comfortable seat is worth every dime. Investing in the right home office equipment is essential. A good office chair will have a full back and should have a number of adjustable positions, including height, lumbar support, and recline settings.
Consider the material as well, an office chair’s upholstery should be comfortable and breathable. Avoid anything that feels itchy or abrasive and will cause your body to overheat. Your joints should be comfortable at 90 degree angles and should feel completely supported. When investing in an office chair, make sure you don’t forget about your arms and shoulders. If you need to shrug to get your elbows on the armrests then the chair is not suitable for hours of use. By choosing a decent and supportive chair you will help to reduce any injuries caused by poor positioning.
- Keep your tech up-to-date and organised
The technology you use on a regular basis needs to serve its purpose. Most remote home workers require high-speed internet and wifi. With the majority of contact and work needing an internet connection, invest in high-speed wifi so you never lose signal during an important Skype call. If you work from home but also need to meet clients, make sure your laptop is portable or invest in a tablet to showcase your portfolio easily on the go.
Having the right tech for your job is vital to performance, productivity and efficiency. As well as investing in the right tech, organise your technology and unsightly cords. Make sure your equipment is close to plugs and either use an extension lead or install plugs that double up as USB ports as well. Encase any cords on your desk with a cord cover and feed the cords into a cord organiser, hiding them underneath or at the back of the desk. Cord jungles have a tendency to make a desk look unsightly so using tubes or wire organisers will help clean up the space.
When creating a home office space, there’s a number of factors that you need to consider. You want to keep yourself inspired and motivated to work. Everything from desk layout to room colour can impact the feeling of the office. To help create the perfect home office, view our latest range of desks and home office storage.