by Laura McLoughlin
WFH has become a commonly used acronym, which must mean that Working from Home is now an official strategy in business. The gig economy and the internet started a trend away from the office. Now, COVID-19 has cemented the need to work from our personal space.
There are all sorts of compromises that WFH can make to our personal life. Literally, the boundaries between home and work have been shattered. Our living space is limited, and the invasion of work could be wholly unwelcome and disrupt your productivity. There is a strong argument for distinguishing space for work. Mentally, you need to transform an area to be the place where your work activity takes place. Then, when you leave this area, you leave the work behind, and you are permitted to relax and play.
The design principles
While you might not have enough room to set up a dedicated office, there are still some factors you should consider that will delineate this area in your home. You need to decide what is the best position for this workspace. Consider: the levels of comfort you need to work effectively; the lighting that will help you complete your duties and maintain your wellbeing, and the overall look and feel you want for this space.
The ideal solution for WFH is a dedicated space in your home with a door you can lock at the end of the day. For instance, it might be possible to convert a spare bedroom into an office space. This room will allow you the big screens, or maybe even two, you need to successfully complete your role.
Obviously, this is not an option available to all of us; therefore, we have to be creative in how we design this space. You need to look at your home and consider where there is a spare area for your desk. If you have more than one option here, choose the one towards the back of the house or the place where people do not congregate.
Two considerations here: first, whatever position you choose for your working area ensure that there is enough natural light. Second, you don’t necessarily need a table to work at. There are joinery solutions that mean your work area can disappear into a cupboard at the end of the day. Alternatively, choose a multifunctional piece of furniture that can transform itself once you are done.
It is easy to discount the need for comfort when designing your workspace. However, you are going to be effective in your role if you can put in the hours in the office area of your home. You need to be able to control the ergonomics of sitting for a long time.
Most importantly, consider the storage it will take organise your work materials. Storage is often the last thought of the person working from home when, in reality, it should be at the top of the list.
When you sit down to plan your WFH space deliberately plan out what you need to be successful. Maybe you will need a pinboard or a whiteboard to scribble notes and reminders; a clock might need to be prominent and something as simple as a coaster for your work mug.
Light and Look
This work area is still part of your home. Therefore, you still should feel entitled to make it look as stylish as possible. You can separate your work area with a completely different design aesthetic – somewhere where you are proud to go. It is especially important to consider the look of this space if you are going to be inviting clients into your home for meetings.
When you are choosing your style, make sure lighting is at the core of your decision-making. We have mentioned it throughout the article – but, working in low light for long periods is terrible for your mental health. Lighting is also a critical feature of any design aesthetic. Deciding what is ambient light, task light or where your natural light is coming from is all part of these style choices.
You may find that you would prefer to update a part of your home to be your home office. This may be as simple as adding a few pictures or motivational posters to the wall, as mentioned previously, or furniture such as a new desk or armchair, or a little more complicated, such as adding paint to your walls.
Paint, in particular, can make a big change to the work space environment. Colour theory, for example, indicates that the colour helps to add calm to your space, while yellow a sense of creativity. Both of these colours, therefore, are excellent for rejuvenating your work space.
There are two messages to take away from this guide. First, you need to find a way to keep your work and home-life separate. Who wants to feel like they are still at the office halfway through movie night with the kids? Second, to enjoy working from home, you are going to need to like going to your workspace. Make this area somewhere you like being.
Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR with past experience as a website editor and writer. Away from the keyboard, you can find her binging nature documentaries and dreaming up travel plans. Laura works with Glaze Digital in Northern Ireland.