Today – Improving Your Home Office on a Budget
In recent years, working from home has become more and more common. Technological advances and a more relaxed employer attitude have allowed employees to work remotely for part of the week or longer. In fact, the digital era has reached such a peak that some companies are now entirely location independent and manage everything remotely. In the years to come, more than 50% of US and UK workforces could be working entirely remotely.
Video conferencing, file-sharing software and huge advances in online communication make this mostly a smooth operation, but with this style of management also comes complications. One thing that is needed to make this a success is a complete trust in employees to effectively manage their levels of productivity from a separate location.
The numerous perks are for nothing if employees are not as efficient at home as they would be in an office or workspace. It is essential, then, that remote workers have a space they can work that encourages maximum productivity in a setting that is comfortable and efficient.Unfortunately, not everybody boasts the financial flexibility of a company and can afford to kit themselves out with a state-of-the-art office at home. We can easily, however, customise a space that supports us day in, day out. Here are a few tips on improving your home office and getting the essentials right without having to empty your pockets.
Home Office Foundations: Optimising Your Space
The first and foremost thing to think about is the space you work from at home and how you build around it. An entire office room is better, but it’s not always essential. Provided you have a space that is not situated smack bang in the middle of any home activity and is instead somewhere you can shut yourself off from distractions, you are good to go.
This could be a desk or table in a bedroom, guest room or kitchen, but it is important to identify a working area from the get-go. Once you’ve chosen your space, consider the best possible conditions and layout. Natural lighting, for example, is of vital importance. Spending hours on end working from inside the four walls of your home can have a negative impact on your mental health. You can start to feel shut off from the world outside, making natural light essential for keeping spirits high and boosting productivity. This could mean reorganising a room or simply swapping from curtains to blinds in order to maximise the amount of natural light in your room.
Home Office Essentials: Desk and Chair
Your desk and desk chair are, without doubt, the most vital components of your home office setup. This is the combination that drives your productivity. With some digging, desk chairs can be bought as cheap as chips, but be sure to stay away from a standard table chair. You need a chair that provides support for your back and encourages good posture. Desk chairs can be found in markets, second-hand stores and online, and will make the world of difference to your comfort while working. Buy one with strong back support and proven ergonomic benefits to prevent you from slouching during long periods of sitting at your home office desk. An adjustable desk chair is also advisable so that your sitting position is adaptable to suit your height and make working from your desk comfortable.
A desk, on the other hand, will largely depend on the space you have at your disposal. Make sure you have enough space on the top so that your arms can rest comfortably. Drawers either side of you are handy, but storage can be created using shelves, cabinets or tables. The most important thing is that you can sit and work in comfort all day.
Home Office Accessories: Finishing Touches
With the right space, lighting, desk and chair, you have all the foundations and essentials of a perfect home office, but there are still some vital finishing touches you need. To be as organised as you would be at work, there are a few additional pieces of furniture and accessories to consider.
The first of these is preparing to keep your home office in tip-top condition without letting clutter or disorganisation get the better of you. With nobody around to judge, it can be quite easy to leave your home office in a worse state than you would ever let your office desk get into. Don’t put off ordering and organising — a tidy desk is a tidy mind and it is essential that your setup allows you to be, at the very least, adequately organised.
File cabinets, paper trays and a conveniently placed shelf are the unsung heroes of the home office. A paper tray for pieces yet to be filed helps you feel on top of everything, while a file cabinet or shelf for folders keeps everything neat, tidy and meticulously organised. These can be bought from cheap stores in every town and city. Even supermarkets sell folders and paper trays for next to nothing, so there is no excuse not to be on top of your home office space.
The final step is introducing a bit of colour to keep your spirits high and stop you from being sat in a bleak neutrally-coloured office. You can inject colour with folders, photos and other customisable items around your desk and this is, of course, largely down to personal taste, but be careful not to overdo it — you don’t want your zany artwork to become a distraction. One way you can never go wrong, however, is by bringing some plants to the party. Customising your home office is all about boosting productivity and this can be achieved simply with light and air. Plants — like natural light — boost mood, concentration and productivity, as well as inject some colour and vitality into a setting.
Stephen Flower works for Ashford Kitchens & Interiors, a quality provider of bespoke home offices, luxury kitchens and customised bedrooms. They have been redesigning and renovating homes in and around London for over thirty years.