Home Work: Office Inspiration
With the sudden switch to working from home, many of us have set up a laptop on the kitchen table and carried on, as the family ebbs and flows around us and the dirty dishes vie for our attention. But with remote working set to continue, this is not a long-term solution.
Words by Natasha Were. Photos courtesy of A Squared Away Cayman. Renders by The Electric Drawing Board.
Creating a workspace within the home – one that fosters focus and productivity – is essential. There are a number of principles to consider when setting up your home office, but the main objective is to create a calm, inviting space that you want to spend time in.
In an ideal world, your home office occupies a separate room – a spare bedroom or storage room, perhaps – in order to create a clear division, both physical and mental, between home life and work life. If that’s not possible, carve out a work nook in a space under the stairs or in one corner of a room and use drapes or room dividers to create a sense of separation (and use noise-cancelling headphones if you need quiet to concentrate).
Multiple studies have found that natural light boosts productivity, so choose a space with windows whenever possible. Positioning the desk in front of the window prevents glare on your monitor and provides a pleasant view when you look up from the screen. Translucent blinds help to reduce glare if sunlight is streaming directly through a window. You’ll also need a good task light, such as the stylish Twain Table Lamp, available at Huis, to illuminate your desk space.
Whilst conventional offices have a tendency to be functional and spare, a home office need not be. Adding natural materials – wood, leather and textiles – will create a warmer, more inviting atmosphere and a potted plant or two (choose from a wide selection at Vigoro) will both bring the outdoors in and help to purify the air.
Every office needs a desk, but the size and type will depend on the work you do and the space available. Workplace Environments offers everything from standing desks like the Potrero415 Light to corner desks, adjustable height and folding desks, the choices are endless. Often a simple hardwood table, that can double as an extra dining table would work. Living.ky’s Ethnicraft Teak Slice Dining Table is one very versatile option.
As you’re likely to be spending around eight hours a day sitting down, a comfortable chair is well worth investing in – but it needn’t look like your typical office chair. The Nixon Dining Chair (available at Living.ky), for instance, is curved and padded and swivels the full 360 degrees, but can be upholstered in fabric or synthetic leather, to add some home comfort to your workstation.
For those whose workday is fuelled by caffeine, having an espresso machine close to hand avoids interrupting the flow with repeated trips to the kitchen. The compact Oracle Touch coffee machine (available at Bon Vivant) makes café-style coffee at the touch of a button, and its brushed steel finish adds a sophisticated accent to any space.
Laptops were never designed to be used for full working days, and doing so can lead to poor posture, carpal tunnel syndrome and eye strain, among others. If your home computer is a laptop, it’s a good idea to purchase an external monitor which can be positioned at eye level and a wireless keyboard and mouse to create the most ergonomic set up for you.
Screen breaks are crucial wherever you’re working, and if that’s from home, why not allow yourself a comfy seat to curl up in a while, to read a report or do some serious thinking? The space-saving Zardoni Love Seat available at Ashley Furniture is a cosy two-seater perfect for smaller offices.
Even the most paperless office needs some storage to keep your desk clutter-free. For important documents and office accessories, the neat two-drawer Jiro File Cabinet available at IDG, covered in bonded leather, tucks neatly under a desk or into a corner. When it’s books, printers, shredders and more you need to keep organised, consider having cabinets, cupboards or shelves made to measure by the professionals at Pooley Cabinets.
A few well-chosen accessories will turn a functional place into a homely space that you look forward to spending the day in. Hang a piece of artwork above your desk for inspiration and a shot of colour; choose an attractive clock, like the circular Tait Desk Clock (available at Design Studio), to help you keep track of time and ensure there’s a fresh, clean fragrance with a Verbena
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