One of the very few positives to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic has been the upsurge in home working. Many of us have become equally as productive at home as we are in the office, if not more so.
When combined with the benefits of saving endless hours and expense on daily commutes, with the bonus of sharing more family time, it seems that even once the pandemic is over an increase in permanent home working is here to stay.
Large organisations have begun to recognise this too, office buildings are being closed permanently or consolidated into smaller premises while many are giving assistance to staff to help with home working.
The home office has therefore become one of the most important rooms in the house, the one we are probably going to be spending more waking hours in than any other.
What are the six essentials for creating your perfect home office?
Design the whole space
With the leap into home working having happened suddenly for most of us our reaction was to simply cobble together a set up that worked at the time. Now home working is here to stay it’s worth taking stock and looking at permanent solutions for your home office.
Now is the chance to take an holistic view of your home office, ask if the cobbled together solution really works and to create a comprehensively designed space that accommodates everything you need from the colour of the walls and design of furniture to use of natural light and even whether you need a coffee machine.
Not all of us have a whole room that can be turned into an office but it’s still possible to optimise a space even if it’s an alcove, under the stairs or corner of another room. The key is to make the space your own so it feels like a place of work.
The beauty though is that you are not at the mercy of bland corporate design – the space really is your own so you can design the office you’ve always wanted.
It may be worth working with an interior designer to bring your ideas to life, or our designers at Langstaff-Ellis have a lot of experience in realising customer’s ideas, bringing them to life with intelligent design solutions.
From an aesthetic point of view you should consider what surroundings you’ll be comfortable working in every day, are you minimalist, rustic, old school or Scandinavian. Do you like big statement colours, warm woody tones or have a preference for an understated colour pallet? Whatever your style there are some fundamentals to get right.
A great desk
Your desk is where you spend practically all of your time in the office so it has to meet your needs, with plenty of space for computer, monitor, paperwork, phone charger, lamp, filing and maybe a plant or photo. It’s where you need to be your most productive so it has to be comfortable too with everything in easy reach.
Style and convenience aren’t the only considerations though; you need to think about the way you work. We all know someone who is always surrounded by paper and clutter at their desk, it doesn’t seem to bother them and they’re still productive. For them desk drawers are a waste of time, that stuff is always going to be lying around, they just need space. For others clutter is total anathema, they like to file and to store work in convenient spaces, knowing exactly where they can locate files, so desk cabinets and drawers are essential.
The location of your desk is often dictated by the size and shape of your office, in many cases there is no choice but to abut a wall or fit into a corner, but for larger spaces there is more leeway so our advice is always to consider where you and the desk will benefit from natural light. It doesn’t have to be close to a window but in a space where daylight can illuminate your working day.
Our experience of desk design says that you need to design the desk that suits your working style just as much as your aesthetic style, but whether it is minimalist or bureau style, corner unit, stand-up desk or statement furniture, a bespoke desk will always be the hub of your home office.
The right chair
Having the correct posture while working is so important in preventing back pain, but since regularly working from home how many of us have invested in an ergonomic office chair that provides support in all the right places?
Good office chairs until the pandemic were widely available. More recently there has been a shortage with orders often taking months to fulfil. However there is a solution, get one made.
Chair making is a discipline all of its own and something we are not specialists in however, we work with some very talented chair makers who are masters at designing and building beautiful unique chairs.
Whichever route you go down it’s important to remember that you spend a huge amount of time sitting in that one chair so it’s an item of furniture that is worth properly investing in.
Plenty of workspace
Your working style and of course what you do for a living has a great deal of bearing on how much space you need.
We know designers with very large monitors and day traders with multiple screens but also consultants who have various laptops supplied by their clients, so need extra accessible space. There also needs to be a convenient location for a printer, close enough to your desk but not actually on it.
The solution is to extend the desk space with additional worktops, either as part of your desk perhaps in a credenza or as extra units to run along adjacent walls. These can be as part of built-in storage solutions or as floating benches if you prefer something minimalist.
The one major conclusion we have drawn with workspace is that you can never have enough of it!
Maximise your storage
If you’re working in a restricted space or a well-proportioned study good storage is essential. Office files, projects, financial statements, plans, supplier and client information all quickly grow and need dedicated storage areas.
Some of this storage can be inbuilt into a bespoke desk with cabinets and drawers and while that will suit immediate needs the extra storage space offered by dedicated built-in units quickly becomes invaluable.
This is where you can really indulge yourself with bespoke floor to ceiling storage units that can integrate worktops, cabinets, shelves and drawers to combine all of your major office needs.
Design of cabinets can reflect or contrast with your desk, they should be designed in unison for a fully integrated feel. You may like to finish cabinets in bold colours, we recently made a large storage unit finished in Royal Blue to contrast with the oak shelves and worktops, or if the space is smaller use light colours to give the space a brighter glow. And as we love the look and texture so much, you can always let beautiful wood speak for itself, especially with oak, maple, cherry and walnut.
No matter what the finish, if your office is large enough and somewhere you intend to hold meetings you can create a bespoke conference or coffee table and build in a discreet coffee and bar unit.
Perhaps most importantly in the current climate, a great storage unit makes a Zoom background to be proud of!
Lighting is another area where you can impress on Zoom. We’ve all had meetings with colleagues who seem to be hiding in the shadows, but an integrated lighting plan incorporating uplights and downlights into cabinetry and even into the desk can transform both your workspace and look on Zoom.
We may not all be able to flood our office with natural light, especially in the winter months but subtle and effective lighting is now an integral part of cabinet making design.
The perfect office should also have high-quality WIFI, plenty of power points, natural ventilation, heating and even air conditioning for the warmer months.
An investment for everyday
The home office is here to stay, it’s going to be the place where you spend more time than anywhere outside the bedroom, so creating your perfect office is an investment in your home and in the comfort of your working day.
For more information about working with Langstaff Ellis to design a perfect home office or to integrate our designs into your home please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.