Working from home, or ‘WFH’ as is now the trend, is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity and part of the new ‘normal’.
After a while, however, the novelty of working with your laptop on your knee while watching daytime TV, or being constantly distracted by household chores, wears off. As with the desire to have a garden or more outside space, a comfortable workstation is likely to become a must-have for home movers.
If you’re a vendor, it’s time to show how versatile your home is in accommodating a WFH area. And if you’re currently evaluating how to utilise the space in your own home, here are some ideas for creating a home office anywhere.
All you need is a desk space and some imagination to create the perfect and most productive environment to work from home.
The ‘other’ room
We say ‘other’ because no room in any house is ever spare for very long. Either you’ve already made it into an inviting guest bedroom or perhaps a walk-in wardrobe. Most probably, it’s become the junk room – a hoarding place for everything and anything.
Whatever the case, it’s time for a clear-out and rethink. This doesn’t mean that your guest bedroom can’t double up as your office or you can’t store an overflow of belongings in some well-placed furniture. It’s about being creative with the space you have so it becomes multifunctional.
If you have the room, it might be as simple as swapping the dressing table for a trendy desk. If space is a little tight and your budget allows, then consider swapping the double bed for a sofa bed. If there is barely room for anything other than a bed, then there are some innovative flip-down wall-mounted desk options.
For those lucky enough to be able to use an entire room as their office, the world really is your oyster. Have fun decorating and browsing for the right furniture and accessories (more on this later).
Communal living spaces
There’s absolutely no reason why the breakfast bar in your kitchen, table in your dining room or coffee table in your lounge can’t facilitate your laptop from time to time.
If, however, working from home is likely to become a more permanent fixture in your professional schedule, then you should think about creating a dedicated area – even if it’s temporary.
Fold-away desks, C-shaped and pop-up coffee tables (perfect for the living room) are great and can be pushed aside at the end of the working day. You can even get desks that slide out from under your breakfast bar and use kitchen cabinets and tall cupboards as secret office spaces.
If you have no choice but to work from the surfaces available and sit on the sofa with a lap desk (not recommended), think about getting an increasingly popular stand up desk. They are quite small and will give you that much-needed break from sitting down all day.
There are probably plenty of corners, cupboards and cubby-holes in your home that you could transform into a workstation.
Some are easily modified while others need full conversions but under the stairs, alcoves, landings, hallways and larders are just some areas you could make your dedicated office area. Here’s a great example of an office under the stairs. And if you have room for a sideboard, could you trade it in or adapt it to become a desk?
Corners are also highly under-utilised, used mostly for lamps and collecting cobwebs, so a corner desk could be a great investment. The same goes for under windows where slim desks would help create a workstation with a view.
Final tips & touches
So, you’ve now found the ideal location in your home for a workstation but is it productive and safe?
You will find you are more productive when you’re relaxed and have all the tools you need. This means not being distracted by the pile of dishes on your kitchen worktop or slowed down by your laptop’s touchpad.
Ensure your working environment is clear of clutter and distractions so you can focus on the task in hand. You could even invest in a decent lamp and maybe a house plant. Also try to mimic your usual working style when in the office – using two screens, a mouse and a keyboard, if that’s what you’re used to.
Mundane as it sounds, a workstation self-assessment will help you avoid any long-term physical strains from inadequate home working set-ups. Your physical health is important too. Slouching on the sofa or perching on a bar stool all day is not good for posture. Get yourself an ergonomic chair or sitting aids like wedges.
And let’s face it, the working-from home trend is unlikely to go away any time soon, so it’s time to get comfortable.