Work-it with a work-space in your home
Do you want to create a nook for household admin? Or an area to run your start-up business empire? Or just a place to study? We’ll show you how it’s possible to carve out a great workspace in any home.
With an increasing number of people working from home or incorporating flexible working practices it’s no surprise that the home office is now a family home must-have. The role of technology in our everyday lives, means a permanent space to do admin, emailing and studying has become a modern household request. The issue is, where should it live?
Space within the space
While some of us have room for a purpose built office, many of us need to ‘find/create’ office space from around the house. Start by assessing your situation. What are your prerequisites for your ideal working environment? Are you looking for a private and quiet place to lock yourself away in? Would you prefer an inspirational space that opens out to the garden? Or maybe you’d prefer a shared family workstation positioned where you can be cooking and watching the kids doing homework at the same time?
Locating your home office nook in an open-plan kitchen/living area could be a good choice for family connection. But be mindful there’s not too much distraction, you want to be able to focus. For some it could become a family organisational hub. And it’s a great place to add a pinboard or whiteboard for messages, notices, forms and reminders. This solution may even combat important notices getting lost under piles of paper.
Look for a nook
Thank goodness for advances in technology, it allows us to have small office nooks. Using smaller devices and working with laptops, not fixed monitors, you don’t need all the space you used to. If you don’t have an obvious location, look for a small, nice space around the house: in or just off the hallway, on a landing or even under the stairs. Watch out to not create a cramped space. Ideally use a width of 900mm, and don’t use any less than 700mm. Ensure you’ve got enough room to put your elbows out, otherwise you’ll feel uncomfortable and be put off using the space.
Hot desk / Hot Chair
Your desk or work surface is the first essential ingredient of the home office. But before you buy a desk, think about your needs in terms of size, storage, style and location. When your workspace is incorporated into a living space, style is really important. Avoid corporate-looking desks and instead think small and simple, with a minimum of drawers. A current trend is having a minimal home office space that connects to surrounding areas by using the same bench-top throughout your home, in the kitchen, laundry and home office.
Invest in an ergonomically correct and comfortable seat, especially if you sit for long periods. If you don’t, there are plenty of stylish and less ‘upholstered’ office chairs that still offer great support and will work well with your interior colour palette. Depending on the amount of time you spend sitting, you might even want to consider a standing desk, to save your back & space.
We got inspiration for the perfect office chair on Houzz; and found a dupe in NZ here
Office duty, off duty
The dream, and necessity for many work-from-homers – is a private, dedicated office you can close the door on at the end of the day. Why not extend the use of the room and give it double or even triple duty of office / family room / guest bedroom. Start by decorating in a similar style to the rest of your interior to create a cohesive look, add a sofa bed so it can be an extra bedroom when you have guests, add a wall mounted TV that can double as a large monitor (watch out for the ‘gamers’ in the family, they may want to commandeer this for gaming sessions), find a small, simple desk or table that works with the decor, and finally add some clever storage to hide away paperwork and office equipment.
Ordered workspace; ordered mind
Everyones storage needs are different, but make sure you have enough to keep clutter at bay. Think about your workflow, what you need within arm’s reach and what can be hidden or archived. Choose paperless options for admin if you can. Go for storage that can be changed up as your needs evolve. Look for wall strips, which can hold a flexible configuration of shelves, drawers, trays and baskets. Or incorporate wall cubes to store and display office accessories. Of course, storage also comes down to personal tastes.
Natural light creates a happier and healthier working environment, so its ideal if you can position your workspace near a natural light source. But remember to prevent glare on your screen by positioning your desk to the side, rather than directly behind or in front of the computer.
Task lighting is essential. Pick a lovely desk lamp to be a feature. Or, if you’re tight on desk space, you can always use strip lighting or an LED downlight integrated into your cabinetry. Don’t neglect general lighting; warm, dimmable light helps counteract the blues of electronic screens and reports show it’s less disruptive to your sleep cycle.
The NZ Ministry of health recommends “minimising Blue light by choosing LED or CFL bulbs with a ‘warm-white’ colour, rather than ‘cool-white’ or ‘blue-white’. Some bulbs are labelled with a ‘colour temperature’ – choose them with a temperature of 2700 or 3000 K.”
Home workspace styling tips
Steal your style: Create a cohesive look by using colours and textures around your home in the office.
Go green: Introduce flowers or plants into your space to create a calming effect. You can even use artificial greenery or pictures of plants and trees.
Double duty: If your workspace is performing double duty, we suggest choosing storage that looks like it could fit in with your home decor and not purpose built industrial solutions. Floor standing or wall mounted cubes are great; use them for shelving and general storage. Also think outside the box by repurposing chests of drawers and shelving units.
Use it to tame family tech: Create mellow mornings and screen-free nights by keeping the family tech organised at a multi-port docking station located in the workspace.