There’s no denying that the changes to our work patterns in the last few months will have a major effect on the way we work going forward.
Many of us have been working in a makeshift ‘study’ (ie on the kitchen table).
Rightmove report that over a quarter of people who were not planning a move before lock-down are now entering the market – and unsurprisingly, a study is a priority on their wish list.
Both my other half and I have been working at home for a few months, writes Catherine Watson, of Bert & Wills, and with no dedicated room we can use as a study, we’re camped out in our kitchen/family room.
We recently agreed that we needed to get a better solution in place to redress this issue. We needed something that was temporary for him, but more permanent for me…and Ikea came to the rescue, although it was not without its challenges.
As a cost-effective solution, Ikea offer a great range. We opted for a central set of drawers, a 1.2m long worktop each and trestle legs in grey.
As Ikea had limited delivery slots we had to collect from Gateshead, which was fine, except the legs weren’t in stock. A second trip was needed last weekend. The cost was under £100 for the items (but arguably more with the two lots of travel!)
My top things to consider if you’re looking to set up a dedicated office space:
- Choose the right room. Ideally this will be away from the hustle and bustle of the house or a busy outdoor road; try to avoid being close to a noisy kitchen and children’s play areas. We didn’t have a spare room so have incorporated the desks into our kitchen/family room.
- Choose a comfy, ergonomic chair – provides lower back support, promotes good posture and helps alleviate back pain.
- Figure out what you need for storage and shelving. Do you need space for a printer and drawers for suspension files?
- Choose a room with natural light where possible, however when you’re working at night, or have no windows in your study, try to have a few lighting options such as ceiling lights, floor lights and lamps to suit the work you are doing. Do not have your screen facing direct sunlight.
- Temperature – too hot in summer and too cold in winter doesn’t add to a great working environment. Open a window where possible and if not, get a fan to circulate the air. If it’s too cold, there are some good portable heaters on the market.
- Clean and tidy. Does what it says on the tin. A tidy office will help you to stay focused mentally and adds to a sense of calm.
- Personalise the room. Add a picture you love, or a motivational statement that gets you fired up. If you hold meetings (see point 8) try not to over personalise your study with hundreds of family photos and the kids drawings!
- Meetings – keep the room clean and tidy and not over cluttered; display your professionalism. If you have client meetings either in person (not that normal anymore) or online, no-one wants to see a chaotic room with paper everywhere and dirty coffee cups.