Since the turn of the century, workspaces — and work life in general — have undergone an unprecedented transition. The traditional office space and the stringent nine-to-five work routine have declined as more and more employers begin acknowledging that flexible working is increasingly important for a healthy work-life balance.
Technological breakthroughs such as video conferencing, cloud sharing and the plethora of online communication tools and applications that exist today have paved the way for this flexibility. Working no longer has to be limited to one room or building, and instead, workforces can work just as effectively from different locations around the world.
For the vast majority, this is a welcome transition — less time spent commuting and more time working from the comfort of your own home is something few would turn their noses up at. Herein, however, lies a problem. Companies may question if this arrangement is better for both them and their staff. Are employees as motivated at home? Are they too comfortable? Are they less or more productive? To ensure that people remain productive at home without their senior looming over their shoulders making sure they get their work done, employees need an adequate working space. What we need is a dedicated home office.
Here, we look at some modern home office design ideas and how to create the optimum home office.
Starting with the Basics: Your Space and Surroundings
There’s nothing more important than giving yourself a designated working space that is specifically dedicated to your work life. Working from home can be a blessing, but it can turn into a disaster if you’re constantly distracted and get through only half the amount of work you would do at a company office.
It’s not sustainable to work from the sofa or kitchen worktop when you’re working from home for serious amounts of time — the home office starts with its own space. This cannot be emphasised enough if you share your home with others, but it is relevant regardless. Once you have a room, or part of a room with a desk and designated spot to focus, you will be able to get on with your tasks without distraction.
This means creating somewhere that is comfortable, away from areas of constant activity in the house and, most importantly, with a door. Of course, the ideal scenario is that you can dedicate an entire room to a home office, but you can create just as fantastic a home office in a spare room and bedroom too.
The Home Office Essentials: Desk Diagnostics
Once you have your canvas, so to speak, it’s time to start selecting the essential members of the modern home office. It’s quite obvious that the first things you need in your home office are a surface to work from and seating, but there is more to the desk-chair combination than you might expect.
Working from a home office can be the most productive work arrangement but only if productivity and comfort are maintained. A sturdy desk at the right height and a chair that is ergonomically kind to your back and overall posture are the two musts that will dictate how successful you are working from your home office. Modern home office design ideas will flick between various trends and styles in the years to come, but ultimately, it is these two members of the home office that need to be chosen with the utmost care.
Making It Your Home Office: Personalisation and Organisation
Of course, no home office is going to be complete without a few extra additions. This will depend on your profession and personal requirements. That being said, there are some key items you should consider for your home office, from more modern gizmos like wireless functionality to age-old talismanic apparatus like paper trays and shelves.
Even the anti-minimalist should keep things in place and avoid cluttering. A wireless mouse and keyboard keep the desk simple and allow you to focus on your work. You might think it costs a little more, but in today’s market, it really isn’t much and it prevents you from being distracted by unsightly cables.
Whether you use a lot of paper and files or not, a paper tray and a floating shelf offer space for you to keep organised and avoid piles and mess accumulating. A tidy home (office) is a tidy mind, so keeping away the clutter will allow you to better focus and stay productive.
The Finishing Touches: Lighting, Plants and Decoration
Once you’ve kitted out your home office, the next step is to put up the finishing touches to make it a relaxing and enjoyable place to be (as much as possible — you are working, after all!). When you’re working in a confined space for hours and hours, even in your home, it is easy to begin to feel isolated and lonely.
This means an ideal home office is not complete without two of the most important things to tackle this — lighting and nature. Office plants can be bought for very little and bring a literal breath of fresh air into the room. There are so many plants that purify the air and boost your spirits — as well as your motivation and productivity levels.
Once you have a couple of additions of vibrant greenery (but not too much), you need to think about lighting, for both you and the plants. Access to natural light has an enormous impact on our emotions and being in one spot for hours on end can be particularly soul destroying when there is little light. Whatever windows or access to the outside world you have at your disposal, take full advantage. Remove things from window shelves, move obstacles that might be hindering natural light and make sure you have the right curtain or blind set up to fully let all the light in. Mirrors also do a wonderful job of bouncing light around the room and come at little cost.
Of course, the home office is not somewhere you want to be overly decorative or bursting with colour, but a little art or sentiment goes a long way to making it a space you look forward to working in. A piece of art that injects a little colour and character makes your home office a more positive place that reflects you, while a bit of greenery keeps things simple and professional.
Interested in seeing our built-in home office designs? Visit our Ashford Kitchens & Interiors showrooms in Ashford, Middlesex, and Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire. We’re open Monday to Saturday from 9.00 am – 5.30 pm, so come and take a look, or get in touch on