More and more companies have already been moving towards flexible and remote working. Now we're at a critical time where we must stay home if we're not a key worker. We want to help make sure that we can all remain as healthy, happy and sane as possible during this period (and going forward!).
Working from home can be more efficient, better for the planet (less cars on the road), save time thanks to skipping the commute and promotes a better home/life balance.
However, for home working to be all sunshine and smiles, we need to get the working conditions right. And, you're in luck. We've pulled together our top tips on setting up your home office, whether it's refreshing an old study or creating a completely brand new space.
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1. Location is key
Image credit: D for Design
Location is so important. As relaxing as working in front of the TV might feel, there is always the danger that you will relax slightly too much.
Setting up base at the dining table in the open-plan space so you can keep an eye on the kids? Sounds like a great way to multi-task but might involve you stepping out of 'work mode' and into 'parent mode' more often than is necessary or helpful.
We recommend finding a quiet space in the house, preferably with some natural light, where you can feel relaxed and productive.
2. Make room
Image credit: Mr Build It & Mrs Style It
Depending on what your work requires, you might need more space than just enough surface to squeeze your laptop onto.
If you have multiple screens you're likely to need a deeper desk, so that your face isn't too close to the monitors and you're needing to move your head like a typewriter to read the screen.
If you often work with lots of documents around you, it's worth ensuring you have enough desk space to lay these out in an organised fashion.
Our advice is to ensure you have a desk space large enough to host the working fundamentals (laptop, diary, keyboard etc), but also some space going spare - at least enough for a cup of tea that isn't a knock hazard!
If you feel physically cramped, your creativity and productivity is likely to feel a little jammed as well. Try and keep as much clutter off the desk as possible.
3. Tidy the technology
Image credit: Rue Mag
We live in a technological age and not many industries that can work from home, will work without at least a computer of some sort.
Ensure that the tech items you use regularly are out and ready to use, and larger gadgets such as printers or other less used items are stored away whilst remaining easily accessible.
4. The practicalities
Image credit: Homes To Love
If you're short on space in your home, you need to be practical about which areas have the potential to be transformed into a home office, such as breakfast bars, alcoves, under the stairs and dining tables.
However, remember your needs as well as the desk's needs. Even though that stool is a great occasional chair to perch on, and that alcove is the perfect, sleek solution for fitting in a desk, both may not be practical to use for an 8 hour working day.
5. Ergonomics are important
Image credit: Decor Pad
Without a correct desk set up specifically for your body, you're going to end the day with all types of aches and pains.
Your chair should be ergonomically friendly and adjustable, able to support both your back and, ideally, your arms too.
Don't have the money to splash out on a new desk chair right now? Don't worry! Ensure the chair is the right height and add a cushion to support your lower back. You can buy reasonably affordable cushions specifically for back support on desk chairs.
Legs should be at just over a right angle, and your arms at a right angle over the desk.
To avoid straining your neck, working with a separate keyboard and a monitor or laptop on a stand straight ahead is preferable.
6. Think about lighting
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Lots of natural light will help keep you focussed and headache and eye strain free (remember to keep drinking lots of water too!).
However, your chosen room might not have as much access to natural light and, with still reasonably dark evenings, it's important to consider other light sources even if you're right under a skylight!
A desk lamp is great task lighting in addition to a larger room light, whether it's a central pendant or spotlights, for darker mornings or evenings.
7. Stylish storage
Image credit: Monika Hibbs
Storage is super important for all the files, documents, chargers and stationary that you might need nearby. However, there is nothing more pleasing to the eye than a perfectly styled shelf.
Leave some open shelves to display some of your favourite things - these items will make you feel content and safe in your working space.
8. Home comforts
Image credit: Design The Furniture
The benefit of working from home is you can enjoy comforts that you wouldn't necessarily have in your office.
Make the room cosier with cushions and soft furnishings. Maybe create an inspiring gallery wall or frame some family photos that make you smile. Basically, make yourself feel as at ease as possible, without having to collapse into the sofa or wrap yourself in your duvet.
9. Add greenery
Image credit: Homes To Love
Indoor plants are the unsung hero of interior styling: they're affordable, they add life to lifeless corners and they look fabulous too.
Not only are they easy on the eyes, they also have brilliant health benefits too, which are perfect for home working. Greenery is proven to improve focus, boost mood, reduce anxiety, all whilst purifying the air.
A must for your home working area!
10. Make it personal
Image credit: Camille Styles
Your home working space is all about what works for you. There is all kinds of research on what colours are best for productivity and mood, but really you should paint the wall a colour that makes you personally feel happy - for some black is their happy colour.
Add notes to yourself, vases, trinkets or pictures that keep you inspired and content. Anything that makes hard work feel a little less like hard work.
11. Fundamentals in reaching distance
Image credit: A Fabulous Fete
Make sure you have all your stationary and organisational items near - you don't want to have to keep interrupting your 'flow' to go and get something.
Also, always have a glass of water or drink close by! Dehydration can really slow you down, plus it gets rid of another excuse to get up from your desk and be distracted by what's in your food cupboard!
12. Hide the clutter
Image credit: Digs Digs
It would be a good idea to incorporate some closed storage solutions, this way you can hide away unsightly stacks of folders or boxes of tangled wires.
A clear work space = a clear mind!
13. Never miss a note
Image credit: Burkatron
Noticeboards, pinboards and magnetic chalkboards are a great way to leave notes in plain site, so they're really difficult to forget about! Not to mention, this is another opportunity to get creative.
As well as reminders, you can also clip or pin photos, inspirational quotes or even very light plants and accessories.
14. Go bespoke
Image credit: Regard Set Maisons
Many of you might not yet have a dedicated home office set up and ready to go, so it's worth considering where you could possibly work one into your home. Alcoves are a great space to fit in a desk and some bespoke shelving.
Even if you have an entire room to play with, bespoke shelving, built-in bench or custom desk are all a great way to incorporate as much storage as possible, whilst looking completely cohesive and super sleek.
15. Renovation or conversion
Image credit: Est Living
Fancy a BIG home update? Well, go big and stay home. If you have an unused garage that needs some TLC, a falling apart playhouse or a big enough garden to build either an outdoor cabin or even plan an extension, then you could build your home office from scratch.
This requires a bit more time, effort and money but the results can be seriously stunning. We love this outdoor cabin, abundant in smart glazing to make sure the space feels open, light and fresh. Perfect working conditions!
16. Embrace awkward spaces
Image credit: Man Like Marvin Sparks
We've touched on utilising alcoves in the home, but what about all those other awkward and transient spaces, such as under the stairs?
Until now, these areas were considered useless and a waste of space. Not anymore! Transform that cupboard under the stairs (sorry, HP) into an open working area, and voila - your own home office.
17. Remove distractions
Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel
There are way more distractions at home than there are in the office, fact. Other than people, we have access to all the distractions that we can get are hands on.
To remain focussed we must do two things: 1. Use all the willpower we have. 2. Hide distractions.
Make sure your workspace is free from things that can make you stray from your work. Don't have your phone out unless you absolutely need it for calls, if so, put it on silent. Don't have a TV on in the same room. Hide away anything that might weaken your willpower!
18. Have a space for everything
Image credit: The Every Day
Finally, to work successfully from home, we need to be organised. Organisation starts with your home design. Make sure there are files for loose documents, boxes for cables, a place for your books and shelving or a cabinet to store all of the above.
Basically, make sure you have a place for everything. This way, you'll know exactly where something is when you need it and can save time and stress trying to find it!