One of the benefits of living in the digital age is that many of us are now able to work from home (I'm one of them!). Once only available to the self-employed, remote working has become a viable option for employees too, and so a home office is not only a practical solution to the change in working practices, but it can also provide a great return on investment when you want to sell your property.
Looking online for inspiration for your home office is all good and well, but you need to look beyond the slickly designed chairs if you really want an office that functions efficiently for your needs. The choices that you make should also provide comfort. For example, follow ergonomic rules over fashion trends. Your office chair should support your back properly, and your computer should be set up so that the screen is level or a little below where your eyes naturally look, to avoid eye and neck strain. Take advantage of natural daylight, and place your desk parallel to your window, rather than in a dark corner. Meld practicality with aesthetics by installing a small ceiling fan from designers Fanimation or Emerson Fans, which can be used to keep you cool in summer and circulate the air in your office space. Comfort is key to the success of your home office; you won't get much work done if you don't want to spend time in there.
Before you start planning how to make the office space work for you, it's a good idea to consider the following points:
- What are you going to be doing in the office? A computer is probably a given, but do you also need free wall or table space to display printed materials, for example?
- Are clients or customers going to be visiting you? If yes, you will need space for a meeting table and additional chairs. You will also need to think about storage – you will need to keep your office a lot neater if your office is open to receiving visitors.
- What equipment do you need? The demands of your job may require you to have access to specialist equipment in addition to the standard office equipment that one would expect, and your office needs to cater for it.
- Are you going to be making video conference calls? If your home office is going to be broadcast on video conference calls, you must provide a suitable backdrop. Drying laundry in the background, for example, will not do anything to promote your professionalism, and so you have a space behind you that presents you in the best possible light!
Once you have thought through these questions, you will have a deeper understanding about the practicalities that your home office needs to satisfy, but design is more than just being
practical. If you are going to spending 50 hours per week in this space, it needs to be a space that you want to work in, and that means being in a comfortable environment!