Back in the good old eighties, working from home was a very rare occurrence. According to the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD), in those days, a mere 1.5% of the employed population of the UK worked from the comfort of their own home.
Fast forward to 2019, this figure had tripled to 4.7% - a significant increase in relative terms, but still a small amount when compared with the overall population. The most interesting statistic (and the one that demonstrates just how enormously the pandemic changed our world) is the jump from 5.7% working from home at the start of 2020, compared to 43.1% by April of that year - an astronomical leap brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the lockdowns were responsible for this staggering shift, it is proving to be far from temporary. It’s true that many enterprises have returned to ‘business as usual’ but a significant 50 of the largest UK employers report that they have no plans to resume full-time in-person office expectations in the near future.
With so many people settling into long term work-from-home status, it’s becoming increasingly important to focus on ways to make this set-up conducive to productivity, job satisfaction and a healthy work-life balance.
There are many angles to consider this from, including making sure that your home office environment is one in which you can feel happy, comfortable and in the right mindset for productivity. Here are some top tips for how to style your home office.
Before we get into ways of styling your work-from-home (WFH) space, it’s worth mentioning the importance of choosing a dedicated space to work from. Depending on how much room you have to spare in your house, this could either be an entire room, the corner of a living space, the garage or the kitchen counter.
Of course, the further away you are from distractions the better, but no matter where you set up, create a designated WFH space and make it work as best as possible. The name ‘laptop’ may suggest that your lap is the ideal spot for them, but trying to conduct quality work from the couch rarely works out well.
Where possible, set your WFH space up near a source of natural light. Natural light is great for mood, and the avoidance of artificial light can reduce the risks of suffering eye strain and headaches. Position your desk towards the window for a lovely view if possible too.
If window proximity isn’t an option, make the effort to get your lighting just right. Softer tones of lighting can increase feelings of calm, so long as they are bright enough to keep you feeling focused.
The messier your environment, the messier your head - or something like that. Some people can function well in a mess, but for the vast majority, a cluttered environment will cause stress and reduce productivity.
So, take the time to create a minimalist environment; be sure to have everything you need to hand, and as best as possible, organise these items in drawers or on shelving, but otherwise, get rid.
If your work requires a considerable amount of office equipment, files or other resources, it's a good idea to maximise your use of vertical space. Whether it be cube storage or floating shelving, organise upwards to make the best use of the space.
Wherever you use open shelving, make sure to consider the styling too, as shelves choker-block with ‘stuff’ can be an eyesore - consider using baskets, file folders, etc., to organise the items, and add some decorative elements such as attractive bookends or ornaments.
One of the benefits of working from home is the freedom to design your WFH space however you choose, so weave your personality into the styling. Whether your tastes are more retro, slick, or chic, surround yourself with items that make the space a joy to be in.
Ideas include artwork, cushions, flowers, rugs, fancy lighting fixtures, whatever floats your boat - make it an inviting place to escape to.
Additionally - and especially if you need to avoid the hustle and bustle of the household - consider adding conveniences such as a coffee station and perhaps some comfortable seating for break times.
Investing some time and money into making your WFH space right for you is well worth the effort - after all, it’s likely going to be somewhere you are going to spend a good deal of time.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to get some of the styling ideas done, call for reinforcements!
Hopefully this article has given you some inspiration for styling your work-from-home space. Ultimately, you know best what kind of environment will be most conducive to productivity for your personality and preferences - make your WFH space somewhere you love to be!
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