How to create a home office where you’d want to work

Home office

In the 21st century, more and more of us are becoming self-employed – and employers themselves are becoming more flexible about remote working. That means that many people now operate from home. Living and working in the same place can be hard to do – there are so many distractions; domestic chores, family, knocks at the door. To make a success of it, you might need to create a home office where you’d want to work and enjoy spending time. We’ve come up with a few ways that can help you attain this…

Home office desk and chair

Furniture

The first place you’ll want to start is with your office furniture. If you’re going to be spending an entire working day in a room, comfort is paramount. Office chairs should be ergonomic and supportive; sitting for hours at a time can wreak havoc with the shoulders, back and spine.

If you have the space, additional office seating such as an armchair or small sofa gives you more options for activities such as reading documents and having meetings etc. It also encourages you to step away and avoid staring at your computer screen for extended periods of time.

Office desks need to be the correct height in relationship to office chairs. Too high or too low and it will affect your posture which could cause discomfort and aches & pains.

home office desk with books and bowl of fresh fruit salad

Lighting

Natural light is the best for working. Have your desk face a window rather than away from it (glare from sunlight on a computer screen can strain your eyes). Besides, being in front of a window can be an effective distraction if the view is over a garden, landscape or cityscape. Staring out helps you think and come up with imaginative ideas!

If natural sunlight isn’t an option, your choice of electric lighting becomes even more important. A desk lamp is the next best thing. It can be positioned to shine in just the spot where it’s needed. If your desk space isn’t large enough to accommodate a lamp, an adjustable floor-standing lamp could be the answer. It is important to choose the correct wattage of bulb – nothing too dim or too bright – something around 50Watts.

Overhead fluorescent strip lights are not recommended as they can cause eye strain and lead to headaches.

Desk with box files

Environment

For you to work effectively, your home office needs to be well organised. As the saying goes, “a tidy desk leads to a tidy mind”. Move mess off your desk and into storage. Install shelves and drawers and put paper into filing trays & boxes. Use a noticeboard Uncluttered, ordered, distraction-free

Keeping your office environment tidy is just the start. Enhance the space with houseplants which purify the air. Keep healthy snacks, bottle of water, tea/coffee maker (just the smell of coffee can boost spirits) to hand.

Finally, you need to think about the ambient temperature. No one enjoys working somewhere where it’s too hot or too cold. There’s no recommended temperature – everyone’s different. However, a YouGov survey found that the average British person says their ideal temperature is 21ºC.

Home office with bright orange feature wall

Colour

There is a psychology of colour, it can subconsciously affect your mood. For instance, blue is associated with feelings of calm, green represents nature, growth and renewal, grey is sophisticated and practical, yellow is warm, energetic and uplifting. You can add colour to your working environment in many ways – a lick of paint, colourful furniture or pretty accessories.

Home office desk with inspiration wall

Inspiration & motivation

We all need inspiration and motivation at work sometimes; getting over the Wednesday hump or when Friday just seems to drag. There are visual and aural methods of improving your productivity – artworks, postcards, photos. Some people need complete silence to work, however, tuning into the radio, playing music or listing to recorded sounds from nature such as birdsong or rain showers can increase your work rate.

Hopefully, by following these tips, you’ll be able to create a home office space that makes you comfortable, productive, happy and healthy.

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How you can create a stylish and functional modern office

How you can create a stylish and functional modern office

There’s a lot that goes into designing or redesigning an office space, and you want to know that what you get is what you’ll want to keep for the foreseeable future. To help you consider some of the intricacies and considerations that will be made throughout the process, Penketh Group take you through some of the things to keep in mind when planning your office fit out.

Open-plan, modern office

Create some room

Open plan offices are a popular option when it comes to creating contemporary office spaces. They can make an office feel more spacious and friendly, while also encouraging collaboration, which can help your staff work more efficiently.

In an open plan office, some of the most common complaints made by employees are over sound privacy, and noise level. Thankfully, there are some modern-looking and stylish ways that you can help keep noise at a manageable level, while maintaining a contemporary feel around the office.

You could place some colourful wall partitions around the office, which can be used to keep different teams grouped together within the office, facilitating collaboration, while reducing noise level. Acoustic wall panels are another great option. They can be an integral part of your office’s design, while keeping noise at a manageable level throughout the office.

Colourful office partitions

However, a fully open plan office could likely benefit from some smaller individual offices, to help staff working on a tight deadline to focus in comfort and privacy. Instead of conforming to a stereotypical office.

Set out some individual work areas that provide a balance between comfort and functionality. Keep it enclosed so employees can work undisturbed, but keep it colourful and bright so they don’t feel demoralised. Many employees often feel like they need to take a break from their usual workspace once in a while, so the change of scenery can help keep them motivated.

Modern office in vintage industrial interior

Make it unique

You could design your office around certain themes and commitments that you’ve built your business around, which help reinforce those commitments in the minds of your customers, staff and competitors.

For example, if sustainability is something that’s important to you and your business, look for furniture made from recycled materials, allow a lot of natural light into the building, and place plants liberally around the office.

Plants dotted around an open-plan office

Or you might decide instead that cutting-edge technology and innovation is what defines your business. So you’d include video-conferencing facilities, touch-screen PCs, and a variety of entertainment gadgets for staff on their break, while designing the office with a minimalist and sleek look. The addition of such technology will help encourage collaboration and efficiency in the workspace, while helping to define your brand image further.

Whatever you decide that your business and office space needs the most, you’re sure to be left with an office that meets your needs perfectly, especially when it’s designed in collaboration with industry experts who know exactly how to help you the most.

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Price Points: Office wall storage

Office wall storage | H is for Home

We’re currently… slowly… getting our home office spruced up, cleared out and fit for work. We’ll tell you a little bit more about that tomorrow. Anyway, like the rest of of the rooms in our house – we never seem to have enough storage in there.

In the kitchen and bedroom, storage needs are primarily big cupboards and drawers; office requirements are a bit different. Shelving is the main demand with rows of (matching) box files – the tax office demands that self-employed people keep records – bank statements, receipts, invoices and the like – for at least 5 years. Even with a lot being kept online, it’s still a lot of paper to store!

I’ve always liked a tidy desk, free from piles of detritus – it keeps me sane. The best way to achieve this is to keep everything in office wall storage; off the work surface yet still within easy reach. I’d happily give wall space to all three of the modular options above which range from £36 to over £200 for the combinations shown. I love having a visible place for everything, no opening and closing drawer after drawer searching for the paper clips or the stapler, the scissors or the tape measure.

  1. Mystic modular wall storage: £8.99 per module, AliExpress
  2. Urbio Perch Biggy magnetic modules: from £3.82 for a Bitsy Organiser (this combination £94.79), The Container Store
  3. Vitra Uten.Silo by Dorothee Becker from Vitra: £225.25, Clippings

Four cinematic offices you’ll never forget

Still from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)credit

Of course, the main thing we see when we’re watching a film is the actors and their interactions; we listen to their dialogue and watch their body language to get the full import as to the movie’s message.

Sometimes, however, the environment they’re in is just as important – it sets the backdrop, makes us feel free, fearful or inspired. In films which feature offices, you’d be forgiven for overlooking many of the sets – they’re just there to provide a place to sit, to show that people are at work. Then there are the films that use the office setting as a protagonist in itself – after all, many of us spend five days a week in one of these places, so why wouldn’t these environments loom large?

Here are four films that use offices as effective – and memorable – characters.

Still from 'The Incredibles' (2004)credit

The Incredibles

Life as a decommissioned hero is a miserable experience for Mr Incredible and there’s no greater sign of this than his cookie-cutter, grey and oppressive little office cubicle. This box is where he sits day after day, trying not to deny insurance pay-outs to elderly clients, until his bullying jobs-worth of a boss pushes him too far and ends up pile-driven through each and every wall in the place. This 2004 hit gives us a worthy metaphor for busting out of corporate chains if ever there was one.

Still from 'The Matrix' (1999)credit

The Matrix

Another maze of grey cubicles in this 1999 film, and another hero breaking out of them (almost). Keanu Reeves gets a weird call from a weird mobile phone that (weirdly) arrives in the post. The (weird) call tells him to get out of his office and so he tries. However, he (probably quite sensibly) bottles it and the men in black grab him and stifle further comment by making his mouth seal over. That doesn’t happen at your average commercial property in St James, eh?

Still showing Floor 7½ from Being John Malkovich (1999)credit

Being John Malkovich

1999 was a year for surreal offices and the Mertin-Flemmer Building in Being John Malkovich was particularly strange, what with having a half-sized floor and all. Floor 7½ gives us some very memorable moments – a pastiche corporate training video which explains the story behind the half-floor being just one. Apparently, a sea captain fell in love with a dwarf and promised to build a half-sized floor in his new office building just for her. If that wasn’t weird enough, a filing cabinet on this floor hides a portal into John Malkovich’s consciousness. Would you go through it? Really?

Still from American Psycho (2000)credit

American Psycho

This 2000 film looks back at 1980s bear-pit corporate culture through the eyes of Patrick Bateman, who may or may not be a status-driven murdering sociopath. Bateman is a mergers and acquisitions specialist who hangs his entire identity and mental stability on his cool clothes, his fancy juicer and the exotic fruit he pushes through it and his moisturiser. When his colleagues and rivals show how cool and influential they are too, he doesn’t like it. When there’s a good old dinkle-swinging contest over business cards in a conference room, Bateman finally tips over the edge and then it’s nail-guns and dead tramps all the way.

What films can you think of that contain iconic or memorable offices?

The dos and don’ts of shared office space

Co-working spacecredit

Shared office space can be a hoot – it can be great for networking, creativity and for saving money on the monthly office rent. It’s also good socially; anyone who works from home on a regular basis will tell you how isolating it can become after a while. However, if you go into a shared office space with the wrong attitude, that office space in Surbiton can easily become a war zone and going to work will become a nightmare for everyone. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you to guarantee a harmonious – and productive – workspace.

Woman on the phonecredit

Do be considerate

Get to know your co-workers so you know how they operate. If they need peace and quiet in the afternoons and you’re loud on the phone, go outside when your BFF calls. If you’re a compulsive communicator and your phone and laptop ping every two minutes, set them to silent.

Messy office deskcredit

Don’t be untidy

This is an extension of being considerate and is equally important at your own desk and in shared areas. There are people who simply can’t work in a mess and so your litter, messy shelves and rows of unwashed mugs will actually affect their productivity. They may also feel compelled to clean up after you and that’s just not on. Clean up after yourself!

Working together at a computercredit

Do talk to people

A huge benefit of shared office space is the chance for interaction with people. You can chat, share a coffee and ideas, head out for drinks and maybe even collaborate.

Man shouting into a tin can phonecredit

Don’t talk too much

Keep chit-chat to reasonable levels – no blow-by-blow accounts of drunken antics, TV spoilers or inane jokes, especially if it looks like others are busy. If you’re dying to catch up on some gossip, head out for lunch instead. Also, if someone looks busy, leave them alone.

Office deskcredit

Do make it personal

You can make your desk and space your own. Of course you need to check with the leasing agent what you are and aren’t allowed to do, but a few photos won’t hurt. Don’t, however, think your favourite oil burner fragrance or your pet scorpion will be hits with everyone.

Small meeting roomcredit

Don’t just huddle at your desk

Use all the amenities – that conference room is there to be used, as is the break-out room and even that patch of garden. If you need to have an awkward conversation with someone, either over the phone or in person, take it away from your desk. If you’re having a meeting, use a meeting room – your desk isn’t the best place for a frank exchange of views.

'Put your money in the kitty' money boxcredit

Do chip in for the kitty

Give some money to the tea and coffee fund, and stick the kettle on now and then. Bring some biscuits or home-made cakes in once in a while and encourage others to do the same.

Hopefully these tips will help you to create a harmonious atmosphere in your office space. You could also use them to help others to get along, especially if they’re breaking one of these golden rules. We all want harmony at work, right?

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Get their look: Minimalist home office

Minimalist home officecredit

We’ve chosen a minimalist home office for this week’s Get their look post. It’s the best environment to think, plan and concentrate. A bright window with an interesting, ever-changing outlook to give the brain a rest when required – or perhaps provide inspiration if you’re lucky enough to have a great view. It’s got a cool, vintage industrial feel. It’s not over cluttered – a mixture of functional electrics and storage – along with decorative touches such as the big letter A and a jug of fresh flowers.

  1. Trestle table
  2. Ruark Audio DAB radio
  3. Case Robin Day 675 Chair
  4. Vintage metal ‘A’
  5. Yellow retro dial telephone
  6. Grey metal box file

How to get the minimalist home office look | H is for Home