More and more people are working from home nowadays, especially after lockdown either forced the change or inspired people to cut the commute for a meter work/life balance. But just because you might theoretically be able to work from your bed wearing a smart top and PJ bottoms, doesn't mean you should. Most people agree that working in a comfortable but professional environment is most conducive to productivity whether that is a home office, a shared workspace or your firm's workplace.
I hated my office experience with low budget furniture, cramped desks and no privacy or space for downtime my daily misery. When, through my blog, I visited offices belonging to Facebook, Innocent and Google I was blown away by how their office designers had considered the employees every need resulting in spaces I'd certainly be happy to work in.
Meanwhile, running my own business from home I know that I am certainly less focussed when I'm not in my designated work spot. Working from home especially it's so easy to be distracted by the laundry, TV, social media, the contents of the fridge....
If you took part in any work-related Zoom calls during the pandemic I am sure you noticed that not everyone has the most ideal working environment. People were incredibly adaptable and sacrificed kitchen tables, understaffs space, spare bedrooms and sheds to make home office space. My own home was packed to the rafters with my older children home and we utilised our conservatory (hot during that warm summer!) and even our caravan on our driveway to accomodate home school and WFH.
My son has moved back to his own home now but is still only in his company's office part time, working the rest of the week from home. He's created a small workspace in his bedroom with a proper desk, good chair and everything he needs to separate work from leisure time.
He is not alone in wanting to spend less time commuting, especially with the terrifying rise in fuel prices. If you are also wanting to carry on or start working from home (or you are an employer wanting to make your office space more appealing to attract great candidates) I have some top tips for how to create a cool, contemporary office space.
1. Location. Consider how long you will be at your desk, what time of day you might be working and if there will be other people around during your working hours. I tend to work while most of my family are at school or work but my son has to make sure he can make professional phonically without his 9-month old son "helping."
A spare room or outside garden room/office is obviously ideal for this but if you are still worried about being distracted or disturbed you could maybe consider a soundproof work pod which can be installed inside or outside. This works for "proper" offices too. For those important meetings or calls when it's vital to hear and be heard or to avoid anyone eavesdropping a soundproof area is a must. Contact a specialist office furnishing consultancy like Après Furniture who will help you find the best solution for your space.
2. Choose a desk to suit your needs and style. WFH people, it's easy to pick up a desk quite cheaply or even for free if you check online auction sites or Facebook marketplace but considering this is going to be the centrepiece of your office and maybe part of your home decor it's important to buy something you love.
That massive antique leather topped Captain's table might look stunning in the auction but will it suit your Scandi-style home? Matchy-matchy is not necessary but if you look at the textures, tones and style you already have in your contemporary home you should be able to find something to complement your space without it necessarily looking too officey.
Think about storage, whether you (or your employees) will be using a laptop or PC and if there's room for an extra monitor and landlines. Make sure you choose a chair which as well as being supportive and comfortable will ensure you are at the right height at your chosen desk for comfortable typing. A sore back is not conducive to productivity.
3. Aesthetics. As I mentioned earlier the offices I worked in when I was a print journalist were frankly grim. Whether you are working from home or heading into a shared space the extra best which define the vibe can make all the difference to your mood. Plants, whether real or good quality artificial are a great way to soften a room along with the addition of soft furnishings like sofas and armchairs for breaks and visitors.
Screens and dividers can help with privacy or to break up larger spaces. WFO you could use a divider as a backdrop so your video calls don't feature of your bedroom or kitchen in the background. However workspaces down have to be bland - bring a piece of yourself or your company's ethos to the party with some well chosen art, ornaments or lighting.
Life is short and an awful lot of it is spent working so it's worth making sure your working environment is one you enjoy as much as possible.