With 1.5 million of us choosing to work from home in 2015, and with trend suggesting that this number was topped in 2016, opting for flexibility and convenience over a traditional office format has become an increasingly appealing way to boost workforce productivity.
Whether you’re working the 9-5 or just doing some overtime, creating the ideal home office space is never an easy task - but from getting creative with lighting choices to using warm woods to create a cosy environment, our tips will give you all the inspiration you need to design the perfect home office.
1. Think functionally
Home offices serve a variety of purposes, so it’s important you consider what it is you’d like your space to do. Are you intending to have clients visit? Or do you just need the bare basics? Keep functionality at the front of your mind when planning your layout and features - or face having to change up your place at a later date.
It’s better to think ahead, and contemplate what you might need the space for in the coming weeks and months. If you’re just starting out but know you might host client facing meetings in the not-too-distant future, it might be worth preparing your office in advance to save any last-minute aggravation.
2. Design to your style
Although it may be tempting to replicate a showroom design piece-by-piece in your own place, we’d recommend putting your personality at the forefront of your home office interior. If a particular aesthetic appeals to you, try carrying this into the room so you feel more comfortable. Professionalism will remain important - but creating a characterful room will help you relax and stay on-track.
Whether it’s flooring options or wall art, when it comes to your office colour palette, we recommend shying away from dark-hued hints and drawing inspiration from lighter shades - to keep the space open and your mind unrepressed. Stay away from eclectic mixes of loud colours and keep consistency in the shades you use - to allow your creativity to flow without distraction.
3. Look for the right equipment
An often overlooked aspect in home office design, the right equipment can save time and money, ultimately boosting productivity in the long-run. A computer that runs efficiently can cost a little more, but total up the minutes you spend waiting for a file to open, your browser to load or your software to reset after a crash, and you’ll soon see the monetary benefit in upgrading your machine.
You should also consider investing in a phone that has conference-call capabilities, and wireless WiFi to keep your computer running at its optimum speed. If your budget is tight, try looking for used equipment on sites like Gumtree - or in places like charity shops - to save you money in the short-term.
4. Put privacy first
Maintaining a boundary between home life and work is all the more important if your livelihood depends on it, so ensure you create a private place that’s free from temptation so you can focus on the tasks at hand. If possible, your office should be in its own room away from living areas, or in a place that can be locked off from the rest of house. If you live in a particularly noisy neighbourhood, double-glazing can help to block out traffic noise - so if working remotely is part of your long-term plan, it could be something worth considering.
5. Furnish effectively
An often overlooked aspect in interior design, lighting plays a pivotal role in productivity, so it’s worth ensuring that your office stays illuminated enough to stay focused - by day and night. If you’re not blessed with swathes of natural light, place lighting in dark corners of the room, and use dimmers where possible to take control year-round. Desk lighting is also important in the darker days of winter, so invest in suitable lights so you can see clearly when it comes to working unsociable hours.
Ergonomics get a special mention, as taking proper precaution when choosing your office fit-out is as critical as any other consideration in this list. Make sure you choose furniture that won’t cause damage to your body in the long-term by opting for reputable suppliers and manufacturers that have proven their dedication to the health of computer users - and always check if you’re unsure.
As remote working becomes increasingly more appealing, the spotlight in home design continues to shine on home offices. Creating a space at home that promotes productivity and efficiency can be difficult, given the different distractions homeworkers can face. But, with data suggesting that home working can actually be less distracting than traditional office working, there’s no better reason for employers to provide flexible working as an option for their staff - so follow our 5 tips and create the perfect home office to work in this year.
Author the author
Mark Haskell is Retail Support Manager at Flooring Republic, factory outlet showrooms providing solid and engineered hardwood flooring.