With hybrid working looking likely to become the default way of working in 2021 and beyond, we share our top tips for designing a productive office space at home.
First a quick recap, what is hybrid working? We talk about it in more detail in this blog post but, in essence, it’s working part of your time at from the office and part of your time at home. Research suggests that the majority of office workers in the UK will adopt this approach over the next 5-10 years, yet many of us don’t have a suitable space set up to enable us to productively work from home.
The good news is that you don’t need a whole room or even a big space to create an office from home. In fact, a few small changes can make a big difference. Let’s take a look.
First, we’ll start with the fundamentals of any office job – a desk and chair. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to work from your sofa/ bed/ other ‘comfy’ place. They will not provide you with enough support to maintain a comfortable upright position all day and your back will not thank you for it! Investing in a decent workstation set up is essential to productivity. Prioritise a good, supportive chair with arms and lumbar support. There are plenty of affordable yet stylish options on the market.
If you have the space, a desk that’s large enough to keep your essentials in easy reach is great. If not, you could consider a ladder desk or even a standing desk. Both of these are great space saving alternatives (the latter is also good for people who suffer from back pain). If none of these are an option, never fear! There are some fantastic desk extenders and laptop stands out there that you can place on a kitchen table or other surface to position your screen at the right height. What’s more important than the desk itself is making sure that you’ve got everything set up to give you the best possible support. There’s lots of advice out there on how to conduct your own workstation assessment to make sure you’re doing this correctly.
With more and more people now using a laptop to carry out their work, the humble keyboard and mouse are often overlooked as an office essential. But please don’t be tempted to cast them to one side. Often referred to as typing ergonomics, the goal of the keyboard and mouse is to reduce the strain, stress and wear and tear of your joints as you type/ click. Having these items separate from your computer means that you can position your screen at eye level and have your hands and wrists in their natural position when you use your keyboard and mouse. Again, a workstation assessment will help you to set up this up for maximum comfort and efficiency.
The benefits don’t stop there. A keyboard is much easier to clean than laptop which will help keep germs and bugs at bay. A mouse helps with precision which allows you to work faster and more productively.
If your fortunate enough to have a dedicated office space, it’s time to make it your own! The colours and artwork you have on your wall can really impact your creativity as we discuss in this blog post. If decorating your space isn’t an option, there’s still plenty of things you can do to bring it to life. Consider the addition of plants or other biophilic design elements to bring a bit of nature indoors – great for productivity and wellbeing. If you can, try to work in natural or ambient light. Make sure your space is well ventilated and an appropriate temperature. Nothing kills productivity like a stuffy room!
It might not sound sexy, but a productive office is a tidy office. Wherever possible, make sure you’ve got appropriate storage for the things you need close by. There are lots of innovative storage options available – even for small spaces. Don’t forget to tidy up your workspace at the end of each day. Put papers and stationery away and remove used cups and glasses.
If you’re in a role where you need to capture ideas and inspiration as you work, you might want to consider investing in a pin board or white board to collect your thoughts. If you don’t have the space or this sounds too permanent, you can pick up self-adhesive white board paper that attaches itself to walls without leaving a mark – perfect!