10 Feb Working from Home: Creating the Perfect Office
Working from home is the norm in my line of work and after spending 8-10 hours at my desk everyday for years, I’d say I’m more accustomed to it than a lot of people. The pandemic has pushed many of us into positions where we have to work from home but it was inevitably going to take on anyway, the evolution has only been sped up by the current crisis. As such, many of those who are currently working from home will continue to do so even once this is all over. That means we should stop seeing it as a temporary solution but a more permanent transition.
We need to start prepping then and build the required facilities to make working from home a true place of work and not just a stop-gap. These changes can range from a full blown extension down to simply setting yourself up with a decent keyboard (I’m looking at all of you still typing on your laptop).
This post isn’t just for those working from home, however, it goes for students too (university and secondary school) and to parents of students who need to encourage their children to take care of themselves. I’m not exaggerating when I say there can be serious health risks from working at a desk 6-8 hours a day without the proper equipment.
Big Changes That Help Separate Work From Home:
These big changes aren’t for everyone but if it is a possibility then they can be strongly recommended. Having a dedicated area to work will do wonders for your mental wellbeing as well as improve you work efficiency. With that said, they are expensive changes and for those looking for a cheaper/quicker solution or if you’re a student, there are more detailed options which you’ll find further down the post under ‘medium’ and ‘small’ changes.
In this section, the two major options we’ll discuss for creating more space are loft conversions and extensions. Each has its own pros and cons so we’ll take the time to go over each to find the best option for you. Before we continue you on, we’d like to remind you that construction work is, of course, our speciality so if you’re looking to make big changes then you can get in contact with us via:
- Phone – +447399382445
- Email – Tobias@innoconstruction.co.uk
- Social Media – Facebook
- Through our website – www.innoconstruction.co.uk
Alternatively, our partner company The Estimating Expert offers one of the fastest and most cost efficient ways in the country to get a quote on your project. Find out more here: https://estimating-expert.com/
Loft conversions are perhaps the best method for creating an entirely ‘new’ space, separate from the rest of the home. People tend to overlook the day to day rituals but the act of physically going to/leaving work is incredibly important for creating a sense of distance between work life and home life and this is something many having been struggling with during the current pandemic. It also makes decorating and designing the space less burdened by other parts of your home. The downside to this is it can be a little more expensive than an extension as well as being more intrusive on your home. A loft conversion can affect the use of the entire first floor so this is something to really consider before deciding.
An extension is the way to go if you’re looking for something less intrusive as most of the work can be done before opening up your home. Extensions are still able to create a ‘new’ space, even if it’s slightly less effective than a loft conversion, but this comes with the added benefit of being cheaper and less intrusive. Deciding where to have the extension can be a difficult situation as extending from your bedroom for instance might seem like a good idea but the close proximity of rest to a place of work might come back to bite you later. In the end, neither option is a bad one and any troubles you might encounter can always be solved with a bit of thoughtful design and decoration which brings us to the next section.
Medium Changes That Bring Focus When Working From Home:
The medium changes are those more applicable to the general population, changes which require less time investment or major commitments but still require some level of space or change.
With these medium changes, one can really see the benefit of working from home as we all get to decide the style and design of our work space, maximising our comfort and inspiration to work. The often uniformity and soulless feel of an office space can be replaced with your perfect work environment. And the best part of this is that it doesn’t even have to be expensive.
When creating a work space at home, decorating can be a cheap solution to give you the feel of a new environment without causing too much chaos for the rest of the household. Something as simple as a feature wall behind your desk, painted in a well-chosen colour, can create an immersive environment, separated from the rest of the room. The idea is to create, within your field of vision, an entirely focused space of work, separate from the home. You might also consider hanging some pieces of art or even introducing some plant life so that the room does not feel partitioned when you’re not working. Incorporating this area into the room and making it feel separate at the same time can be a challenge but nothing a little bit of planning can’t overcome.
Continuing on with this idea, we’re trying to avoid falling into a logical trap. We are so used to thinking of an office as white walls, light wood desks and grey carpets that we have come to associate these images with a working environment. We must be weary then we’re not creating a home space which resembles what we’ve come to know as a ‘place of work’ instead of creating a place we’d like to work. Just as your home is an extension of yourself, then so too should you work space be an extension of your working-self. No-one can tell you what this should be except you but we can remind you to give it some thought and try to imagine a place that inspires you to work.
E.g. In my home office I have used a calming deep blue coupled with white furniture and desk, then I added just a few touches of art deco pieces in a lamp and a mirror for a little bit of extra personality. It maintains a clean and professional feel but it also still has a sense of warmth and comfort that helps reduce the burden of work as I honestly like being in my office now.
Personally, it is the choice of furniture that really highlights the benefits of working from home most of all. We all have different needs and different tastes as we have just been discussing yet your typical office is going to be full of generic desks built as a place to work and for cost efficiency, not as a place to inspire and feel comfortable. The luxury of working from home means you get to find something unique to your needs and desires. Do you like solid wood and a hundred drawers, each for their own specific items? You’ve got it! Or you’re a minimalist; you want a plain white desk, steel hairpin legs and completely concealed cabling? You can have that. The most important thing is creating a space that you feel comfortable to work in. It doesn’t have to stop at typical office furniture either. If you spend most of your day reading through documents, find a comfortable arm chair and coffee table for your work space so you can work in splendour or sneak a foot massager under your desk just because you can.
Small Changes That Ensure Working From Home is Comfortable & Safe:
These small changes are ideas which require no time or work, although they can sometimes be expensive.
One issue that seemed to crop up a lot for me was the level of intrusive noise if you’re living with others, you have dogs or frequent traffic in your area etc. There’s nothing quite as demotivating as being in the zone and suddenly getting pulled out by some noise or other. If you’re in a position where ignoring the noises is a viable option, then noise-cancelling headphones is a worthwhile investment.
Here’s a bunch of solid options all with very capable Noise Cancelling functionality:
- Airpods Pro – £200 (Amazon)
- Bose 700 – £250 (Amazon)
- Sony WH-1000XM3 £230 (Amazon)
- Sennheiser Momentum 3 £340 (Amazon)
For those of you working off a dining chair, an arm chair etc. this is not an option but a plea. Please, go out and buy yourself a decent desk chair to work from. Your spine will thank you.
For those already working at a desk, your standard desk chair will make do for now but you should really consider spending the extra bit of cash and getting a proper ergonomic desk chair when you can. It seems crazy that a day sat at your desk can be more demanding on your body than a full day on your feet but it’s true. A day at your desk can leave you with tired muscles, stiff joints, aching neck, shoulders, back, wrist, knees etc.
Whilst something like the Herman Miller Aeron (THE classic office chair) can set you back an eye-watering £1500 brand new, you can find them on eBay all the time for £300-£400. It might still seem a lot but if working from home is going to be a permanent change, this purchase will make sure you’re not suffering in 5 years’ time from health issues.
Much like the dining chair workers, I know there’s an army of laptop users out there working away without a second thought. These people too are liable to wrist and forearm pain as well as longer, on-going issues such as RSI or carpal tunnel. The price of a keyboard can range from £20 to £150 but investing in one will allow you to sit more ergonomically, and protect your wrists/arms.
In addition to a decent keyboard, wrists rests can help your posture and physical wellbeing. There is a huge selection on Amazon and they all cost about £15 but if I had to recommend something I’d suggest something like this (Amazon). Foam rests will eventually split, they lose their firmness and absorb a lot of your sweat so on hot days, can be pretty horrible to use. The gel rests keep their firmness longer, aren’t as prone to breaking and are cool to the touch which is a nice extra.