There’s an art to creating your perfect home office space.
The number of people working from home in the UK is rising. This is due both to the growing freelance economy and increased awareness of the benefits of working with more flexibility. Around 4.2 million now work from home in the UK, with a further 1.8 million expressing a desire to go down this route.
Working from home does, of course, have its benefits and drawbacks. For many, a life without busy public transport and unnecessary meetings is definitely bound to leave more energy for the task at hand. But the home office space you create is key to this productivity.
Those working from home should aim to have a defined space where they can focus only on work. This tends to be the best way to keep home and work life separate.
Ideally, the office will be a room within the house or even a shed or shipping container in the garden. This will depend on how much space you have. It’s perfectly fine to have a simple table and chair setup within your kitchen, or a space in the bedroom curtained off for privacy.
There are particular key elements to keep in mind when creating your office. No matter how big or small space ends up being, it should be private, quiet and free from distractions. Let your loved ones know that they should try to leave you be when you are working in that space.
An ergonomically designed workspace that is free from clutter.
Your office space should accomplish two main goals. It should be comfortable, and it should make you more productive. To make these aims possible, consider the following:
Ergonomics – When spending hours at a computer, it’s important to have the right chair to support your back and neck. This may sound trivial, but believe me when I say that it isn’t. Long hours at a desk can cause serious back pains. Invest in a chair, and consider an ergonomic laptop stand or a standing desk.
Practicalities – As this will be the space where you work, it’s important to think carefully about all of the practical elements, such as equipment and technology that you need. The office space should have enough plug sockets, the right computer equipment, and a decent broadband connection. If you take calls, consider a private phone line, and if you greet clients, make sure you have a tidy and professional area to meet with them.
Keep It De-cluttered – A cluttered environment can negatively impact a person’s ability to focus. Keep your desk space free from unnecessary mess and disorganised clutter. You should be able to reach what you need with ease, yet not have too many items that get in your way. Paperwork is best kept away in filing cabinets, stationary in drawers and books on shelves.
Character and Personality – Keeping the space clear is crucial, but making it a happy place to be is equally important. Add splashes of your own personality with pictures, plants, and just a few sentimental items that make you smile. When it comes to colour schemes, neutral or slightly warm (but not too bright) is best for productivity. Aim to maximize the amount of natural lighting too.
Sometimes, office life is frantic and all hours are spent locked into work. Other times, you may want to retreat to your office for the purpose of browsing the internet, listening to music or playing online games such as 3-card brag on SkyVegas, Fortnite or World of Warcraft. It’s at these times that a different atmosphere is required.
The general advice is not to mix work environments with relaxing, and this is solid advice. It’s not clever to be in the office all of the time and neglect home life or to work on the sofa with the TV blaring. Your office is also definitely not a place for hosting a night at home with the lads. Yet realistically, a well-designed office space becomes the best setup in the house for using the computer.
You just have to be deliberate about how and when you use the space. Don’t procrastinate all day, and define for yourself when you are working and when you are not.