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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Loving our new Frankie day bed

Frankie day bed | H is for Home

The kind people at Happy Beds sent us their Frankie day bed with single mattress to try out this week – and we’re loving it!

Frankie day bed components | H is for Home

It arrived in five well-packaged boxes, each containing the essential components ready for construction. The fact that it comes in pieces will certainly suit those people who live in flats – or have some tight corners or doorways to manoeuvre objects through and around.

Arched slats on the Frankie day bed | H is for Home

Putting the day bed together was really straightforward. We followed the enclosed instructions and it was up and ready to go in approximately 1½ hours. Adelle actually loves doing that kind of flat pack construction type thing! Don’t worry if you don’t have a tool box, it comes with its own double-headed (Phillips on one end and standard on the other) screwdriver for assembling.

Detail of the fabric on the Frankie day bed | H is for Home

It’s very solidly constructed and has arched, flexible wooden slats for extra comfort. The detailing and finish is very good too. We really like the fashionable, soft grey, Hessian-like textile. It sits very nicely against our slightly darker grey walls – and also works well as a backdrop for pops of brighter colour.

Frankie day bed with blanket | H is for Home Frankie day bed with fabric throw | H is for Home Frankie day bed with vintage tin side table | H is for Home

We’ve been experimenting with various accessories and soft furnishings to dress it. So far, bright yellow has been our favourite. The grey/yellow combo is a bit of a classic, and was the obvious starting point if you look at the huge painting which hangs on the wall above it.

Frankie day bed with drawer pulled out | H is for Home Frankie day bed with blankets stored in under-drawer | H is for Home

The Frankie day bed has another nice design feature too. The under-bed, pull-out drawer is the exact dimensions as the mattress above. This means that, if you decide to house a mattress in it, you can have two single beds at slightly different heights – a great option if you have people staying over and need to maximise sleeping berths. Alternatively, it makes for great storage. You can get absolutely loads of bedding, clothes or shoes tucked away neatly and out of sight.

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Why you should hire a skip instead of travelling to the tip

Why you should hire a skip instead of travelling to the tip

A lot of hard work is involved in getting rid of large amounts of household waste. There are many options available to make this task less stressful with the two main ones being either to hire a skip or driving the rubbish to the tip yourself.

When it comes down to choosing an option, a decision needs to be made about which choice is practical for you. We’re going to go through some reasons why hiring a skip can be highly efficient and environmentally friendly.

Skip in front of a row of terraced houses

1. Convenience

The disposal of large amounts of waste can be much more convenient when choosing to hire a skip rather than doing it yourself. The clearance company will arrange and deliver the skip – and then you decide when it will be taken away. All you have to do is dispose of the waste at a time that’s convenient to you.

To many, it may seem like driving waste to the tip is a cheaper option, however, once you factor in time and fuel everything adds up – and you pay a lot to just get rid of a few bags. Breaking the waste down and placing it in the designated containers uses a lot of precious time that you may just not have. This task can be left to a reputable and responsible waste company. It can become even more costly if the tip is far away from your doorstep as the cost goes up with every return trip you make. Also, you may not have access to transportation, meaning this complete service could be a total godsend.

By hiring a skip from websites like Envirowaste.co.uk who can deliver and collect at a suitable time to you could be very beneficial – freeing yourself from all the hassle and strain of doing the job yourself!

Skip beside a red brick house

2. Affordability

Affordability is another major reason why people opt for skips, especially if you think of all the trips you are going to make if you have a lot of waste. Driving to and from tips will not only cost you money in terms of fuel, but waste time as you will also have to load and unload the items in your car, sort recyclables and deposit the waste in the correct areas. The weight of the waste in your car can also impact fuel consumption.

Many consider the cost of hiring a skip is only offset by the convenience it brings, but it’s worth noting that there are many competitive skip hire companies offering a variety of services at highly affordable rates.

Skip full of plastic VHS video tapes

3. Type of waste

You need to consider the type of waste you’re moving and throwing away when deciding between a skip and a tip. Dirty and dusty waste can easily find its way into the fabric in your car and be a potential source of permanent damage. As this is not a one time job, days of moving around with the waste can result in holes and tears in the seats and leave them stained. Added to that, loading and unloading heavy objects can cause scratches and dents in the paintwork.

Hiring a skip is a stress-free service that gives you peace of mind and saves your vehicle from potential damage.

Skip full of domestic waste

4. Sanitation

Dusty and dirty waste can leave your vehicle filled with unwanted germs and odours. Sorting all the waste is not an easy task and can be dangerous if the disposed items consist of broken glass or leaking liquids. Hiring a skip will ensure careful handling of all the waste as the company can take appropriate action in a safe and hygienic way. They will know how to handle and dispose of the items with great care so you don’t have to get your hands dirty!

Large number of large yellow skips stacked one on top of another

5. Protecting the environment

Hiring a skip is one of the best ways of conserving the environment by discarding unwanted materials properly, instead of them ending up in landfill. You can even hire a skip according to the type of items of which you need to dispose. Be it glass, metal, plastics, or any kind of household or commercial waste, it will all be taken care of in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner as the provider will have access to many recycling depots, waste treatment plants and dump yards. This way, the environment not only stays safer, but cleaner and healthier.

These multiple advantages of hiring a skip seriously outweigh travelling to the tip to dispose of unwanted items.

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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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Take to the stage!

Top of trestle staging | H is for Home

We’ve recently been sent this wooden trestle staging by First Tunnels, a polytunnel and garden structure firm based in Barrowford – not that far from us, over the Lancashire border.

Wooden trestle staging | H is for Home

We’ve been in need of a potting station on our allotment, however, we thought we’d have a dry run and assemble it in the garden before taking it down there.

Bottom shelf of trestle staging | H is forHome

In fact, we needn’t have worried about a tricky construction. No tools, nails, screws or allen keys were required – job done in 30 seconds flat! The kit came in a single piece; all that was needed was for the folded, hinged legs to be stabilised with a metal pin on either end and the under-shelf slid under.

Detail showing hinge of trestle staging | H is for Home

The trestle staging is made of planed, tanalised pine – First Tunnels is FSC certified which means all the wood they use is responsibly sourced. It’s not just ideal for the allotment; it can be used in the garden, conservatory, potting shed, greenhouse, garage or boot room.

Detail from wooden trestle staging | H is for Home

It’s 6ft wide and the under-shelf is useful for storing tools, pots and watering cans whilst the top is the perfect height for sowing seeds and potting on. The structure is very sturdy – it can easily support heavy things such as tomato grow bags and bags of potting compost.

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5 Reasons to move to a new place

5 Reasons to move to a new place

Making the move to a new place is a big change in one’s life. There’s a lot of work to be done, requiring effort, time and some money. Fortunately, companies like Chicago movers are willing to help you make that bold move much easier. Some people, like digital nomads and backpackers, are used to living from place to place, other people find it very challenging – and treat it as a decision that needs very careful thought and planning.

For the hesitant minds, you may be able to finally push through with your moving plans by realising its enormous benefits, and they include the following:

Packing prior to a house move

  1. Making new friends and broadening your network

One primary benefit of moving to another place is the chance to meet new people. You can surround yourself with new individuals that will help you grow as a person. Having new friends can give you different perspectives in life, help you discover new interests and generally make you feel better about yourself. Similarly, a new place will give you the chance to broaden your network to find business opportunities or career advancements.

Collection of small cardboard boxescredit

  1. Breaking the usual routine

They say that life is an adventure. Living day to day with monotony can really sap enthusiasm and take the excitement out of life. With a new place to live, you can explore unknown surroundings and discover exciting locations. Starting over can provide you with real inspiration, instilling a mindset to pursue fresh hobbies and interests.

Bottle of dreams

  1. Creating new experiences

New places mean new things to try out, destinations to visit, shops to browse, and food to discover. New cities & towns can offer marvellous experiences you’ve never tried before. This is even more profound with a cross-culture relocation as you get to learn and experience more about other people’s way of life. Even new locations just a few hours’ drive from your old stomping ground will certainly have something different to offer.

Green & white moving van

  1. Feeling free

Your existing neighbourhood can tie you to a lot of things – the usual circle of people, the same old things to do, and a routine that can take its toll on your mental health. Moving to a new area can give you a sense of freedom. And, with the amazing communications that modern technology allows, you can maintain any contacts that you wish to keep – there’s no need to lose your existing friends.

Key in a door

  1. Improving yourself

A new situation can reveal a new, perhaps better version of yourself. Maybe you’ve become a bit bogged down and unfulfilled – perhaps losing a bit of self-confidence in the process. New challenges might help you to become more independent and fearless. You’ll discover a lot of things about yourself as you rise to fresh challenges – a more empowered individual might be the result.

There are countless good reasons to move, with much to discover along the way. Life’s not meant to be stagnant – so if you feel a bit stuck in a rut, move out and be free.

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