With the world being the strange place that it is at the moment, you maybe have been suddenly forced into working from home, with no time to plan or prepare for it.
What it has shown is that a large number of people CAN work from home, and may continue or decide to do so in the future when life returns to “normal.”
HOW ARE YOU WORKING FROM HOME RIGHT NOW?
The likelihood is that you’re probably working from the kitchen or dining room table, the sofa, or dare I even think or say it- your bed!
But do you have a space within one of these rooms where you can rejig the furniture and create some designated desk space to allow you to try and separate your work and home life?
HOW COULD YOU WORK FROM HOME IN THE FUTURE?
Maybe you have a spare room that was once a storage dumping ground, an existing garden shed that can be converted or if you’re lucky enough- space in the garden to erect a gorgeous log cabin to create a home office on your doorstep?
WHAT YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO WORK FROM HOME.
Every person, job role and company are different- but the main things you’ll need are a desk, a chair, good lighting, storage and the ability to separate your work and home life.
START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE.
The shops are shut, so you might have to get creative right now and make the best of what you already have. Try and separate work and home life though. Get up at the same time you normally would and reserve the lie ins for the weekend. Get dressed as if you were leaving the house to go to work. By keeping these small routines you’ll be able to get into “work mode” a lot easier. Stick to your normal breaks, your meal times and try and ignore any distractions. Set timers instead of clock watching. We all need to keep as much normality as possible at this time and this will help us keep our head in the game. If you’re missing out on human interaction then make video calls to friends or family during your breaks.
WHAT CAN YOU GET NOW?
A lot of companies are still open online, but with deliveries increasing so are the lead times. Are online purchases necessary or essential? A lot won’t be- but I also think it’s important to try and keep the economy going too if you’re lucky enough to be in a position to.
Maybe you have more downtime at the moment to look, research and shop for the components required to create yourself an office at home.
A DUTIFUL DESK.
The type, style, size and shape of your desk will depend on what you need it for. Always try and keep it clutter free though- a tidy desk will equal a tidy mind.
If you’re a crafter then you need it large and level, if you’re a writer or work mainly on a computer then a nice bureau style desk will maybe suit you better.
You can choose ready made desks, or arrange a bespoke desk to be made- when you’re allowed to. You could even DIY your own desk with some scrap/salvaged wood and hairpin legs sourced online. Wood will add warmth to your scheme and will match any colour scheme you decide on.
Measure up your room and decide how big your desk actually NEEDS to be. If you have a desk bigger than you need then you’ll find the clutter will creep in!
A CHAMPION CHAIR.
You’re probably going to be sitting in this chair for prolonged periods of time so make sure it’s comfy and if you have a bad back then make sure your choice of chair supports you properly. Depending on the style you’re looking to create, a typical (black) office chair with swivel legs and a high back might appeal to you.
But you don’t HAVE to have a designated office chair in your space. Think about how you actually work, how you’d like to work and see if a cocktail chair with more luxurious feeling fabric, or bar stools to match your chosen desk height would suit you better. Have fun with it, and maybe choose a stand out colour that makes you smile?
SHELVING & STORAGE SOLUTIONS.
You’re going to need somewhere to store your books and business related items. Maybe some plants and decorative accessories to inspire you too. If you’re a neat person then open shelving will suit you and help create a tidy structure where you know where everything is.
If you’re a messy pup, then think about shelving with doors so you can hide your mess away and it won’t interfere with you psychologically.
Do you need floor to ceiling shelves- allowing you to maximise the height of your space and make the room look taller? If you have high ceilings then how about having a cute little library ladder to help you reach (I’d LOVE this!)
Or would a couple of open shelves or shelf units above or near your desk suffice? Do you want to create modular shelving combinations as seen in that Swedish furniture showroom we all know and like for example, or would you like something a little more upmarket and bespoke- with cupboards on the bottom to help hide clutter? If you’re buying flat pack and want to add some personality then wallpapering the backboards of your shelves is a good way to cheaply add interest and personality.
You could go with full width wall shelves to increase your storage and display area and this will also make the room look wider.
Chests of drawers will hide away a multitude of sins and create extra surface workspace if required. If space is an issue then a tallboy unit will maximise the height available without taking up too much floorspace.
Hide as much away as possible. Use old industrial or upcyled filing cabinets for organised paperwork, magazine files, stacked boxes (preferably not see through) or vintage trunks. Label them so you know exactly what’s in them and always try to put things back where you found them so you’re not wasting time in the future.
Use peg boards or corkboards above desks to organise your day and to display any important paperwork that needs your attention so it’s right in front of your nose.
LIGHT UP MY SPACE.
Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, the lighting in your room will make a massive impact on your productivity. One trick I’ve told clients in the past is to get a large mirror and place it on the wall opposite the window. When the natural light enters the room, it will bounce off the mirror and reflect around the room. Go as big as you can, and if you’re a dab hand at upcycling (or want to give it a go) then an old, ornate mirror and paint it in the colour of your choice (go as bold and brave as you want!) is often a cheap and cheerful choice. You can pick up old mirrors on online selling sites/pages or in charity shops and flea markets. Just make sure you fix it to the wall properly!
For your main overhead light, work out it’s location on the ceiling and consider where your desk or working areas are going to be, as the light will need to reach it and this will define which type of pendant or lampshade you choose. Also get yourself either a desk lamp (if your desk is big enough) or a floor lamp near your desk. Make sure that you flood your room with as much light as possible at the same time to stop your eyes from straining too much.
As you may know, colour psychology is very much on my radar- and for good reason. Take some time to work out which colours you like the look of- but also how these colours make you feel.
You need to be as productive as possible, perhaps more than ever now, and the colour you surround yourself with is so important. Figure out how you need your home office to make you feel- energised, happy, relaxed, positive, productive? And then choose a colour that works for you, not against you.
There are so many factors to consider when planning or rustling up an office space within your home but hopefully this article will cover the main points. Everyone is different, and this will be very new and no doubt quite overwhelming for some people.
I’m now doing home office consultations online, but if you want to give it a go yourself then I recommend the following online stores as a starter for ten. Whatever your budget you can browse them for inspiration: Argos, Dunelm, Ebay, H&M Home, Habitat, Heals, Homesense, Ikea, John Lewis, La Redoute, Made.com, Maisons Du Monde.
Also scour Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and to see what’s possible- just type in “Home Office.”
Quirk & Colour Ltd