How to create a permanent home office

Cassie Pryce

With the future of office work a big uncertainty at the moment, many of us will be requiring space for our nine-to-fives at home; here’s how to get the most out of your home office design

1. Comfort is key

Ribbed office chair with short back in coffee, £249, Cult Furniture

Choosing the correct furniture for your new office space will greatly affect your mood and productivity, and should be the first thing you consider when designing a working-from-home environment.

An ergonomic desk chair is an extremely worthwhile investment if you’re going to be remote working for more than one day per week; opt for something with a sturdy, high back to support good posture, and arm rests that can be raised to suit your desk position. The chair itself should also be height-adjustable so you can be correctly positioned for both your computer screen and desk surface; remember that your hips should be slightly higher than your knees when sitting for long periods. Some companies may be able to offer financial help when it comes to purchasing new office furniture, as your work area should still adhere to health and safety guidelines to protect your wellbeing going forward.

 

2. Choosing your work space

Loft desk, £495, Cox & Cox

Purchasing a new desk will be largely determined by the amount of room you have available to slot one in. If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated spare room to transform into a separate office, there are numerous options on the market to suit your needs, both practically and aesthetically. Ensure the desk you select is deep enough to comfortably accommodate your computer (whether a monitor or laptop), as well as the keyboard, and it should also have room for jotting down notes and storing papers without the surface feeling cluttered.

Most commercial office desks are particularly deep, but don’t assume the same for home desks which are often more compact in size. If you’re squeezing an office space into an existing room, you may have less flexibility on the type of desk you can choose; fold-down desks are ideal for part-time working in a kitchen or reception room, or you may want to build a desk ledge into a cupboard so it can be easily shut away during non-working hours. If you find you’re suffering from back pain, consider investing in a standing desk to give yourself the option to vary your position and stretch your spine throughout the day.

 

3. Have bright ideas

Elder desk lamp, £85, Garden Trading

Positioning your desk next to a window will not only boost your mood due to the natural light filtering in, but it will also help reduce your electricity bill. Face your computer screen with its back to the window to avoid glare, or invest in an anti-glare screen cover if this isn’t possible.

When it comes to artificial lighting, an adjustable desk lamp is a great solution for working during the darker months; make sure it casts enough light to illuminate the area you’re working at and avoid anything that directs the bulb into your eyes, as this can cause eye strain over prolonged periods. Choose light bulbs that are midway between warm and cool, as too cool can feel harsh and clinical, whereas too warm and you’ll want to wrap up work for the day and hunker down on the sofa. Around 700 lumens should be sufficient and, ideally, used in lights that are dimmable so you can control the light levels throughout the day.

 

4. Keep clutter at bay

Portland double pedestal writing desk, £669, The Painted Furniture Company

While traditional offices tend to benefit from having copious amounts of storage in the form of filing cabinets and in and outbox trays, most home office won’t have the same luxury. It’s therefore important to prioritise what needs to be accessible on a day-to-day basis, to save your work surface from becoming swamped. Use wall space cleverly by hanging shelves above your desk if possible, to store files and folders away from your desk yet still within easy reach.

Desks with built-in storage are ideal if you’re short on space; drawers or cabinets beneath the worktop will become invaluable for stashing away daily clutter like stationery and notepads, so it’s worth considering these practicalities before purchasing the desk itself. IKEA offer a wide range of filing cabinet and drawer units that can be used as a desk base and then customised with a tabletop, if you’re looking for a sensible solution that won’t break the bank.

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