Successful homeworking is about more than a good internet signal: create a stylish home office
PUBLISHED: 14:43 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:54 18 June 2020
Interiors writer Carol Burns explores how to create the perfect home office
Before the lockdown there were around five million of us choosing to sit at our desks (onesies optional) and even after lockdown homeworking is likely to increase as more of us choose to continue to work from home. But working from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create a professional office environment or scrimp on style
I READ a story recently about a homeworker working on skype who had dressed for the part above the waist, but only remembered after getting up to fetch paperwork giving her emeeting attendees a fetching view of her pyjama bottoms.
Perhaps alongside the lack of commute, flexible working hours and some quality time with your slippers working from home has many advantages – but it has its downsides – there is the occasional jealous officebound colleague who is convinced you are watching Loose Women when you should be tied to your desk 95. And as a homeworker myself – On the contrary, I often find office hours are extended beyond the classic work day, as the temptation to just pop on the computer for a minute on a Sunday afternoon, Thursday night or while you are making that first cup of morning coffee at 7am is more likely. Think of how much time you spent on your smartphone outside the office, and then multiply it by having all your work needs available 24/7. Not that I’m complaining (did I mention the nine metre commute from my kitchen?).
But all this aside, its vital that your home working space is as fit for purpose as your employer is required to make it if you work in an office – but better still you can pander to your own aesthetic tastes, beyond bringing in your own office mug and a plant struggling to survive the recirculated air and ceiling lights overhead.
Starting a new job in an office, you would probably be slightly disconcerted if they led you to a small dark cramped space or shed out in the parking lot, so why accept these conditions when working from home. For many homeworkers the office is combined with other uses, guest room, dining room or even the hallway are pretty common. Consider what space you need – and ensure there is plenty of storage to hide things away and return the room to relative normality when you are not working. Shelving and desks with drawers will also help you maintain that Friday feeling.
Next up is to create a pleasant working environment. Although you might feel that it is work not please, your office space is still part of your home, so decorate and accessorise accordingly. Planting is a great way to improve your workspace and improve wellbeing. Colour can also help. Consider investing in a rug to mark your territory or add colour to the wall.
Companies spend millions making sure they protect the health and safety of their workforce – but working from home, we can tend to forget some of the basics. If you work in an office environment, you should ensure chairs, laptops and so on are supporting your health – you can find out more here: acas.org.uk/homeworking and hse.gov.uk/toolbox/worker
Carol Burns is a designer and interiors writer. Find out more at carolburnsdesign.com