The rise in remote working has changed the way people work forever. Whether by necessity or choice, more people have started to work from the comfort of their own home. There are pros and cons to this, but once the decision has been made, we believe you shouldn’t waste any time in adapting your home to the new reality you’re embracing.
More time spent at home, the place you’ve created and crafted into the perfect haven from the outside world, sounds like a great idea. However, you shouldn’t work just anywhere. You don’t want what happens at work to impact or affect how you feel about your home, but there are ways to help with this - the most common is creating a home office.
We’ve looked at why you should think about having a home office, what you need for one and how to go about putting it together. Once you’ve finished reading this guide, you’ll be ready to put your workspace together so it does exactly what you want it to.
Why Would You Want A Home Office?
There’s a belief that a home office should only be used for time spent working, or when you have to work from home. The truth is, though, many homes have had an office for years - even if it has gone by a different name or thought of in another way. In the current trend, the home office is defined a certain way, but any space that lets you focus purely on a task or project could be seen as a home office.
Think of when your kids are doing their homework, or you're sitting at a desk and working on a project or hobby, for example. What we’re saying is, there’s more than one reason to have a dedicated workspace at home.
Working From Home
The most obvious reason to create a home office is to have a place to work from when at home. You might be a fully remote worker or have a hybrid schedule, but having a dedicated space to work from will make you more productive than sitting on the sofa - which is where you will be once the working day is over, too.
Not having an actual workspace means you likely won’t be in the best position, or have the best base and heights for your equipment - for example, the top of your monitor or laptop screen should be at eye level and 50-100cm away from you. This level of ergonomics is taken into account in the workplace, and ensures you won’t injure or hurt yourself over the long period of time you’ll be working.
A big advantage of a home office, or at least a dedicated workspace, is that you can minimise distractions. Even at work, there are distractions, but these are different from what you might find at home. Some will be things you can deal with quickly, while others take more time and effort. Some examples of what might distract you at home include:
- Answering the door
- Cleaning and other chores
- Kids and family members.
The temptation to just take a few minutes to deal with something that’s just occurred to you, or that you can see from where you’re sitting, is real. A home office can help you stay focused on the task at hand, even if it’s not a separated room.
Keeping Work And Home Life Separate
One of the biggest problems with working from home is not being able to switch off once the day is over. When you remember another task that needs to be done, even if it only takes a minute, you’re losing the work-life balance that’s easier to define when you go into a workplace for each shift.
A home office can help with this, as once the day is done, you can turn off your equipment, close the door and ignore it until you are due to start working again. Even if you don’t have a separate room, confining your work to a desk or area makes it easier to switch off and really enjoy your personal time without being overshadowed by the looming presence of work.
Other Ways To Use A Home Office
A home office doesn’t have to just be for working. The concept of an office is, at its most basic, a place to complete tasks with minimal distractions. You can create it in such a way that helps your productivity, which also makes it perfect for hobbies or projects where you need to focus.
Perhaps you're an artist looking for a place to zone out and create those masterpieces living inside you, or you're a writer trying to coax out the story in your head. You might be a student who needs quiet to focus - what we’re saying is that a home office or workspace can be used for much more than work, and a good setup can make it easier to focus and get things done.
Choosing Your Home Office Furniture
Once you’ve decided on creating a workspace in your home, you should think about the home office furniture you need to make it a functional space. This includes a desk, chair, and storage pieces that let you do everything you need. You can add to this with accessories to make everything suited to your needs, inspire you and create your optimal working conditions.
Look beyond its function, though, and find a style that appeals to you. This can be wood office furniture, metal items, or even wood and metal pieces for the perfect balance. You’re going to spend a lot of time with your home office, so you want it to look good as well as be functional. You can find home office furniture that fits into your decor, whether it’s a dedicated room or part of another one.
As probably the most important piece of home office furniture, the desk is the backbone of any workspace. It provides a surface to work on, whether that’s for handwritten, crafted, drawn, built or another hand made method, as well as a place for your equipment, such as computers, monitors, stationary and even more.
Wooden desks are the most common, but you don’t have to go for a traditional desk. There are L-shaped desks, which are perfect for both corners and walls, as well as standing desks for when you don’t want to sit all day.
There are also metal desks, and metal and wood desks, so you can find an office desk that’s functional, but stylish, too. By seamlessly fitting into your room, you won’t feel like it’s an eyesore and you’ll enjoy using it every day.
To go with your computer desk, you should invest in a great chair that is comfortable to sit in for hours at a time - but also provides the support you need during the working day. There are ergonomics to consider, too. The top of your monitor should be at eye level, so the height of your desk, and your chair, will help determine if you’re in the optimal position.
Making your chair’s height adjustable is also a good idea, especially if other people in your home might use the workspace at different times. This lets everyone find the best seating position. To go with this, we’d suggest a chair on wheels with five legs to distribute the eight evenly, for maximum support.
The Importance Of Home Office Design
Once you’ve identified what it is you want for your home office, you can look at putting it together in the best way - and what other aspects come into play. This is where home office design comes into play, as you want the home office furniture to match and fit the decor trends that you like.
Even the layout of your home office matters, allowing you to maximise your working space or make sure it doesn’t take over your home too much. This is a balance unique to you and your needs, and you can change this over time so don’t feel you need to get it right on the first attempt.
We’ve looked at some of the common questions people ask about home office design,
Where Should Your Home Office Be?
Finding the right place for your home office isn’t a decision to rush. Put a lot of thought into how you use your home, the rooms you spend a lot of time in, and the places where you could avoid some of the distractions that come from spending all your time in the house.
The living room, for example, isn’t a great location just because you’ll be in that room after work, and anyone else living in your home will also use it. That means there’s going to be noise and activity you don’t need. In a similar vein, avoid the bedroom where possible as you don’t want to wake up and instantly see your workplace - or have it be the last thing you see before you go to sleep.
A separate room is ideal, as you can close the door to what else is going on in your home, but a dining room can also work well, as it’s only used at meal times - and sometimes only one meal a day.
The Best Layouts For A Home Office
The layout of your home office has a bigger impact than you might think. Finding where to put your desk, the angle it should sit at, and where any other furniture sits in relation to it, can affect your productivity and efficiency while working at home.
Where possible, have space on all sides of your desk, so you don’t feel cramped and can move about easily when needed. You can place the desk against a wall, but depending on the size of your desk, you might not have the leg room - particularly if you’re tall!
Have enough room for your chair to clear the desk before sitting and standing, too. This means, if your back is to a wall, there needs to be plenty of space to move back and forth. Of course, make sure the door to your room won’t hit or damage you, your home office furniture or the equipment you need.
For a workspace, it’s tempting to choose corner, especially with an L-shaped desk that gives your extra surface space without taking up too much of the room, but depending on the your home’s layout, you might not have enough natural light, or the room for furniture to store your equipment and supplies, so think about this carefully.
How Much Space Does A Home Office Need?
The space you need for a home office depends on what you need it for, and how many people will be using it at a time. A room where multiple people in your home can work will need more space, with one large desk or multiple smaller desks for everyone to use. Then there are the chairs and storage furniture for each desk, too, and enough room to walk around easily.
You also need to take into account the equipment needed to complete your work. Are there multiple monitors, or extra supplies you need? Are there other tools, such as a printer or scanner, that help you complete your work? Does your desk need to be large enough for written or hand drawn tasks?
Think back to the size of the desk you had at the office. Was it too big or too small, or was it the right size? This will give you an indication of what you need, and then the extras can help finalise the exact size.
Small Home Office Ideas
You might be thinking that you don’t have the space for a home office. Perhaps the spare room is too small to feel comfortable, or you don’t have a room to dedicate to this at all. That doesn’t have to be the end of your plans, though. There are plenty of small home office ideas that make clever use of the space you have available.
When you don’t have much space, a small office might seem like a luxury, but as we’ve said earlier, the versatility of a good workspace can add so much to your home that we don’t think many homes can be without one. It’s still better than sitting on the sofa from the moment you wake up until you go to bed, and being able to separate your time at work by keeping it to a certain room or area of your home will do wonders for your mental health.
How To Make A Home Office In A Small Space
The first thing to do when making a home office in a small space is to measure the space you have or want to use. There’s no point in buying a desk that ends up being too big, or a chair that doesn’t fit under the desk. Storage is also a factor - what storage do you want, and where will this furniture go?
Once you’ve measured the space, you can find a desk that fits. From here, you can then look at storage, whether it’s a cupboard or drawers that fit under the desk, or to the side. Another option is to put shelves on the nearby walls, or over the desk for easy access.
Think about the equipment you need, and what the power requirements are. Cables and wires can be a trip hazard, so finding a way to keep this tidy is a concern, too. The lighting is another factor, with natural light being best but a lamp also being a good choice - however, this takes up space if you need one.
However you create a small home office, always remember what it will be used for and what you need to accommodate. With that in mind, you can be happy with what you decide.
Can You Have A Home Office Without A Dedicated Room
While a lot of talk has been about a home office as a separate room in your home, not everyone has this luxury. You can create a home office as a workspace or area in your home, a place that you can dedicate to work or other projects, while still giving you that separation at the end of the day.
To do this, think about what rooms have an area you can use. It might be a corner of a larger room, or a room that’s not always in use, like a guest room. The same considerations apply when creating a home office, or a small home office, when creating a workspace in another room.
What space do you have, and what can you fit in it? The extra part of this equation is the wider purpose of the room. For a guest room, you don’t want to remove the bed that guests sleep on, for example, or the furniture they need to feel comfortable. This is why a dining room is also a good choice for a workspace, as there can often be a corner or area of this room you can use.
Want To Know More About Making The Perfect Home Office Space?
We’ve covered a lot of things you should know about home offices, what to put in them, where they should be and how to design them, so we can understand if your head is spinning a little right now. With all of our expertise and experience, we hope you now have a good place to start from, and you can start planning your ideal workspace.
When creating your home office, you don’t have to do everything at once. Take your time and identify where your workspace will be, and identify the most important pieces of home office furniture to buy first. This is normally the desk and chair, and then add to it as time goes on. If you plan to use this space for more than just work, think about what you want to do and what space or equipment you’ll need to do it comfortably.
If you’d like to know more about creating a home office, or improving the workspace you already have, we’d be happy to help - and you can see more room inspiration and product tips on our blog. We’d also love to see what you’ve done to bring your home office to life.