The ONS Labour Force Survey has found that 1.54 million people in the UK are now working from home – that’s 884,000 more than ten years ago and this figure will keep on growing. With modern technology at your fingertips, it has never been easier to work from home and more and more house buyers are looking for an office space in the properties they are viewing so that they can enjoy all the advantages this brings.
Choose the right spot!
When you are considering where to establish a home office, it is best to give this plenty of thought as you will be spending a great deal of time at your desk. You will have some basic needs that must be considered such as whether you will be holding meetings or conference calls from home. Will you need just a table for your laptop or more space for printers and storage facilities too. Whilst working in a cramped area tucked under the stairs may work for some people, for others, more space and a window with natural daylight is essential. What about the noise level in your chosen area? If a noisy environment does not bother you, that is good, but if you prefer peace and quiet, you may well have to make some adjustments – a simple one can be to remove the batteries from your doorbell!
Getting Organised is the Key to Success!
You will need to have the right size of the work area so that you can feel comfortable whilst you work. You do need to have a dedicated desk as it becomes difficult to keep scooping up paperwork at the end of each day and you will need some storage space too. Position your desk so that you can take maximum advantage of natural daylight and the view from a window. Try out the space for comfort, are you sure that you have adequate light whatever the weather? It might well be advantageous to invest in a good quality anglepoise lamp that gives a good light wherever it is needed. Good lighting helps prevent eye strain and headaches. Once you have your office area laid out, spend some time dealing with any loose wire etc. to keep you safe. You need to ensure that they are not a trip hazard nor a distraction if you are trying to work fast! Better still, why not invest in some Bluetooth peripherals to make things easier?
There have been a number of studies that have found that if people are happy and comfortable in their workspace then their productivity increases, conversely if they are uncomfortable then they don’t work nearly as well! Working from home has a huge advantage that you can create the office space that suits you perfectly.
Ensure that you have a really comfortable chair that is the right height for you, if you do not, why not consider buying an ergonomic chair as this will ensure that you are sitting correctly and not damaging your spine. This is definitely an item of furniture not to scrimp on as a good chair really does make all the difference, ensuring your body is not aching at the end of the day.
Ensure your work area can be kept at a comfortable temperature all year through and that there is a source of fresh air too. A cup of coffee is an important part of every working day, are there facilities for making one that can be easily reached? Just because you are not in a work environment with regular safety checks, does not mean that health and safety should not be considered. It is important that you can leave your work desk easily to take a regular break from your PC screen.
The colour of your office can be as bright or calm as you like and it can also inspire you! True, your colour choice will have to be more conservative if you are holding meetings in your space, but if it is just you – the sky’s the limit! Choose the colour that suits you; a colour that fuels your creativity or helps you to feel serene and organised, the right colour is a very subjective choice! To enhance the colour of your office space, you can add some ambient lighting that will complement the ‘working light’ you have for your desk.
Decorate the walls with an inspirational painting or other artwork and maybe add a favourite ornament to your desk or family photo. If space is short, you can always rotate these finishing touches to mirror the changing seasons. Think of fragrance too as the sense of smell is one of the strongest of our senses, so ensure that your work area smells fresh and appealing.
Add interest with some flowers or an attractive plant! Even if your office space does not benefit from natural light, don’t let that stop you as artificial plants or flowers an look like the real thing!
Importantly, your home office space is yours and it must feel good. Plan your office space like a well-designed aircraft cockpit with everything close at hand and easily accessible. Be flexible in your approach because as your work grows or changes so will your needs and these can be reflected in your workspace. Keep it fresh and appealing as it must inspire you and encourage you to be productive. Your new home office will mark the start of an exciting new chapter in your working from home life that will get bigger and better…..