After the intermittent lockdowns, strict restrictions, and ever-changing working arrangements of the past 2 years, it seems we are tentatively moving towards a new ‘normalcy’.
Working from home certainly doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. With 44 percent of British workers saying that their ideal work set up is ‘hybrid’ working, and of those, 44 percent would prefer a 50/50 split between home and the office. For many, it appears that the home working option feels like a small pandemic victory in the pursuit of a better work-life balance.
Having reworked our homes to accommodate home working, navigated dodgy broadband and mastered Zoom etiquette, let’s look at how we have learned to make our work-from-home offices as productive as the pre-pandemic, work-from-work office experience.
Here are our top tips to enhance the productivity of your home office.
Whether it fits snuggly into a quiet nook or has a dedicated room of its own, this area needs to be both functional and fit for purpose. Get creative and blend your workspace with your living area where space is limited. The best place for a home office is somewhere quiet and tucked away from distractions. Living rooms and bedrooms lend themselves well to adaptation and multi-functional use.
Your office space can become a feature of your living room if you dress it up correctly. We designed the workspace as a functional and decorative addition to the open plan living space at our Eaton Mews redesign. We defined the work area by adding a rug underneath the desk area; this helped create a sense of separation without compromising floor space or adding clutter.
The addition of a comfortable chaise or chair creates a ‘time-out’ space that lets you take a rest and step away from your desk. Allow yourself regular breaks, make drinks and eat away from your workspace to provide a chance to destress and recharge.
You can easily hide your office space away by adding a beautiful pocket door that encloses your office when it’s not in use. In our Richmond project, the client requested a hidden workspace, so we designed a sleek pocket door to neatly slide away and reveal an elegant yet functional desk area and additional storage. This was the perfect solution in this busy family home, and the client appreciated being able to shut the office away and focus on family time at the end of the working day.
Incorporating the outdoors into your working environment has well-known physical and mental benefits, helping reduce stress by improving mood and concentration. The stimulating colours, energising aromas, and oxygenating abilities have been proven to boost memory and cognitive skills such as creative thinking and spatial processing. If you find your memory and focus decreases while working from home, consider placing a few small indoor plants around your home office space.
Start your venture into the world of house plants with forgiving low maintenance varieties that require minimal watering and low light, such as; spider plants, succulents, or cacti. Unlike other home improvements, Houseplants require few tools, and there are many choices to suit every budget and skill level.
Live plants can feel like a commitment. Realistic artificial plants or dried flowers are a great alternative and can recreate delightful displays with the same luscious look and create interesting focal points in your home.
Maximising exposure to natural light in the working environment is vital for our general wellbeing and supporting our circadian rhythms. These internal processes help us maintain healthy wake-sleep patterns, improve energy levels, alertness, and productivity, and importantly, allow us to wind down successfully for restful sleep at night. So the closer the natural light source, the better.
Positioning your desk by a large window will keep your body in sync with the daylight; you can also open the window during warmer days to allow fresh air to flow through. However, where natural light is not an option, make your lighting work harder by introducing layers of task and decorative lighting options that can be adapted to boost light levels throughout the seasons.
The quality and location of your light sources are essential as too high or too low levels can be detrimental to productivity. Follow these top tips for the ideal lighting solutions:
· If the primary light source is directly above your desk, consider moving it so that the light filters from behind it or add table and floor lamps to soften harsh, poorly angled lighting instead.
· Avoid harsh lighting that reflects off your computer screen or creates glare to protect your eyes from damage.
· Working on a screen all day can strain on your eyes, introduce an anti-glare screen filter to your computer to reduce stress on your eyes and prevent headaches.
· a portable desk lamp can be the perfect addition to provide flexible task lighting that can be neatly stored away when not in use.
We could all benefit from an ultra-zen work zone, with a place for everything, and everything is in its place., but for most of us, the business of doing business is a messy affair.
Electronic devices, paper, pens, and charging cables all work against the clutter-free workspace of our dreams. Overcome common issues with these handy suggestions:
· Placement is paramount – No one feels great working cocooned in a corner or facing the wall, the optimum position for a desk is in the eye line of the door; this helps to minimise distractions and the need to turn to face visitors.
· Choose a desk that works well in terms of proportion and design. It should be large enough to house all your necessities without overtaking the space.
Ensure that your chair is well designed, supports good posture, and accommodates long seated sessions.
· Give potential clutter a home out of sight by introducing plenty of functional storage to help maintain an organisation.
We’d be happy to provide design direction and help you make your home and office feel more productive. Contact us today to discuss your home renovation project.
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