"Creating a home office that is comfortable, ergonomic, flexible and blends with your home aesthetic is no easy feat."
Working 9 to 5…. In your home office.
Let’s face it, perching over the kitchen counter and literally clearing both bench and head space before you delve into an eight hour work day isn’t ideal!
Many of us have done just that for the short term, and now the new work landscape has evolved, meaning that working from home with structure and purpose is our new norm. Businesses and employees are embracing the benefits of working remotely.
Creating a home office that is comfortable, ergonomic, flexible and blends with your home aesthetic is no easy feat, so we have put together some ideas and inspiration for you to consider, to help create a functionally chic and totally refreshed home office space that will fuel your efficiency and sooth your soul.
So where to locate oneself?
Dedicating a room for your home office is a fundamental priority. You need a functional workspace that is solely for work, no distractions and temptations. Your effectiveness at working-from-home depends on being highly focused and productive, shutting out the normal home life and treating it as a work-space. Try to position yourself where there will be minimal distraction, natural light, power outlets and space for a desk, chair and computer.
Options could look like:
- The garage – make sure you consider heating, drafts and power source
- A spare room
- Desk in your bedroom
- Desk under the stairwell
- Desk in a nook
Let’s Zoom on into our first tip:
1. Set the stage
You are all logged in and ready for your virtual meeting, and as we know first impressions count! Consider the following for a professional backdrop:
- Curate the space around you by creating a personal vignette of decorations and accessories, ensuring it’s the visual environment you intend to portray.
- A striking pair of curtains can be all you need – however be careful not to sit with the window directly behind you – the bright light and glare will play havoc with your camera exposure and you will end up in shadow.
- Ensure you have a light source coming from behind the camera or at the side to illuminate your face. Best is from behind the screen rather than overhead to present yourself in the best light. Setting your desk up facing a window or side on to one will reduce glare, give you access to a view, and flatter your face on screen – very important!
- If you are communicating on a phone, find a tripod or somewhere to rest your phone so it is in the correct and stable position.
- Sound is crucial to a good online conversation, so a good pair of discrete ear phones or pods is ideal. Plus a quiet workspace minimises distractions.
- Dress in a more considered ‘above-the-waist’ outfit – just because you’re at home, don’t dress like a Sunday morning, visual professionalism is important. No one will know you are wearing pajama pants!
- Communicate with your family members with ‘do not disturb’ signs. Hang them up when you’re on a call, it’s important to frame your work time as work time.
2. Lighting your office
- A mix of functional and decorative is important here. You need to reduce eye strain as you are likely now having more screen time in your day, as well as looking good on screen and have a well-lit working surface.
- Well positioned task lighting is a must, so invest in a quality desk lamp that doubles as spotlights for those zoom calls.
- Fabric lampshades can cement your personal design style using pattern and colour. You can even incorporate your brand colours!
- If you are lucky enough to have an abundance of natural light, sheers can help you control glare and soften the lower angle of the sun in winter and help you control the light.
- Finally, if you’re wanting to add style and drama, hanging pendants will give your space a luxurious yet professional feel and are offered in a myriad of styles.
3. Go Green
- Breathing life into your office can keep you feeling calm and centred. Indoor plants not only look fantastic they purify the air, ensuring you flourish. Many studies have proven that plants in the home improve productivity and concentration as well as helping to reduce stress. Natural mood boosters, seeing greenery has a direct impact on a feeling of calm and relaxation.
- Depending on your available space, you can simply add a pot plant or two, or go large with lush palm varieties such as monster or Strelitzia Nicolia or have something more dainty and fragrant like a small basil or mint plant. Even a small desk can accommodate a low maintenance succulent or cactus and will be within eyesight all day.
- Air-purifiers can also be used to keep the space fresh and clean, and infusers can drift fragrance through a space, providing a sense of calm and purpose – you need to set the scene for a productive workspace.
- To keep your workstation in line with the breezy feel and natural scenery, opt for see-through materials, minimalistic textures and organic colors.
4. Get Artsy
- Adding vibrant accent pieces and accoutrements to your home-office provide a canvas for your personality to come through and some visual stimulation/interest. We all want to work in a space that inspires us.
- An upholstered pin board is a great way to contain artistic items or vital information and acts as an acoustic buffer, as well as injecting a burst of colour, texture or pattern. Otherwise white boards are great to record ideas, tasks and visually highlight the most important work for you to keep focused throughout the day.
- Create a gallery wall by using removable wall strips to hold your prints up (giving you flexibility to change out the look) this looks great in black and white for a graphic monotone effect.
- Hang up a daily calendar. When your to-do list is always in your line of vision, you’re more likely to want to cross things off it.
5. It’s all about the furniture
With the change from office to home, some businesses are downsizing their usual office spaces which means there is a lot of office furniture being sold, so furnishing your new home office needn’t be expensive.
- A great desk chair, one that is comfortable, stylish and ergonomic is vital. You need to be comfortable sitting for long periods.
- Implement a two screen system, new or used display screens are inexpensive and really make working on multiple programs easy and efficient. Use the expand display function on your laptop or PC and plug another display screen into your HDMI port. It takes a little while to get used to, but once you do you will never go back to one screen.
- A desk could be anything really – as long as it can fit what you need and is a sturdy, flat surface of a suitable height. A wooden desk top on top of two filing cabinets makes a great large desk with built-in storage. There are also some great table top workstations that sit on your desk but can be raised and lowered for optimal position, and even extended right up for sit/stand versatility.
- You may wish to opt for a standing desk, or a desk that gives you the option to be adjusted for standing, allowing you to break up your position through the day – moving between seated and standing ensures reduced back and neck pain and greater blood flow rather than remaining in one position too long.
- Storage – this could be filing cabinet, a stylish box or basket for your bits and pieces. One tip would be to minimise and eradicate clutter, you have a chance to start anew here, and we are in the digital world so ensure that your digital storage and filing system is working well for you, so you don’t have to needlessly keep paper copies. A wall mounted shelf above your desk is great to house regularly needed reference books, textbooks or files you need through the day whilst keeping clutter off the floor.