‘Work from home’ might possibly be three of the most welcome words ever to fall on an office worker’s ears. The bliss that comes with being able to plonk yourself on the sofa, laptop on lap, cuppa in hand, is unrivalled on the scale of Little Work Pleasures. But there’s a catch. Working from home sounds great because a) you don’t have to get dressed, b) you can spend the day in the unfettered comfort of your own home, and c) you can watch the telly as you tackle your spreadsheets. But wait a minute – how easy is it really to work on mind-bending sums, stress-inducing roadmaps and in-depth articles with This Morning on in the background? And was it such a good idea to spend two hours having breakfast in bed when really you should have been preparing for the call you’re now floundering on?
Working from home is all good and well but the thing that catches many people off guard is the fact that they actually have to, well, work from home. And that, in short, is not as easy as it sounds. Whether it’s the temptation to get on with household matters – may as well do a couple of loads of washing while you’ve got the chance – or the dog’s persistent whining due to unexpected daytime company, it can be hard to get your head down and just crack on.
In today’s increasingly flexible environment, where remote working is becoming – dare we say it – the norm, creating a home office that keeps distractions at bay is key. Read on to find out how.
DON’T go for a purely functional space
It’s true, the primary use of your office is to provide a space for you to work in. But the beauty of working from home means you don’t have to go for just any old run of the mill, cheap-and-cheerful décor. You may as well invest some time and effort in creating a space you actually enjoy, and that complements the rest of your home’s interiors. Think stacks of books, glossy lamps and chic rugs. Layer accessories to create a space that feels textured and personal, all the more tempting to settle in to first thing in the morning. Next, add lots of lovely house plants to rid the room of that stuffy feeling, and yourself of ‘cabin fever’. And finally, hang plenty of eye-catching artwork on the walls. Eradicating that blank, half-finished look will give you the satisfying sense that your office is a permanent fixture of your home.
DO get a chair with good back support
Granted, there are a lot of very ugly office chairs out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to do your back in by using borrowed chair from the dining room. Shop around and get a proper, working office chair that’s looks gorgeous too, to save yourself from doing yourself – and your interiors – serious damage. As tempting as it can be to go for something big and squishy (one of the perks of working from home, right?!), you’ll soon find yourself with a crick in the neck and a serious dint in productivity if you don’t go for something with appropriate back support.
DON’T discount lighting just because it’s an office
True, you’ll want a good set of overhead lights to keep your office space well-lit during the day, but it’ll pay to have a variety of lighting for possible late-night shifts too. Invest in a decent desk lamp, plus a tall floor lamp so you’ve got a variety of options when it comes to getting the room’s ambience right. If you’re doing a bit of evening reading prep for the next day, for example, you might not fancy sitting under the harsh glare of spotlights – especially if it’s a dark, wintery night. Having different levels of lighting will also help you to start winding down too, should you need to work late. That way, you won’t feel as ‘wired’ when it’s finally time to leave the office and head to bed.