With more of us now working from home, it is important to design a space that enables us to efficiently and comfortably work from home. After all, a productive home office is a happy home office. Recently the Boffo team attended an interesting UDI Capital Region webinar presentation on this topic. Presenter Ann Squires Ferguson, Interior Designer and CEO of Western Interior Design Group, shared five recommendations for designing a functional and beautiful workspace.
Carve Out Space
If you have an extra guest bedroom or den, this would be the ideal space to set up a home office. However, with many of us living in smaller spaces, especially in urban areas, we may not have this luxury. Thankfully, you can carve out a productive workspace in a bedroom, kitchen or living room. The key is to designate the space for work only, no matter how small it may be.
For health and productivity, it is important that you are sitting or standing comfortably throughout the day. If you prefer to sit at your desk, position your legs and back at a 90-degree angle. If you use a standing desk, evenly distributed your weight on each foot and stand up straight. Whether you stand or sit at your desk, keep about 18 – 24 inches from your computer screen to reduce eyestrain. Also, don’t forget to stretch or take a short walk every hour.
Unless you live alone, you will likely need to take steps for privacy while you work. For acoustic privacy, you can wear headphones to block out the surrounding noise. If you want to reduce your own noise transmission, consider using noise absorbing curtains or freestanding panels. For visual privacy in an open concept space, use a full-length room divider or desk cubical divider.
A cluttered working space reduces productivity and can contribute to stress. If you are lacking square footage, design your storage solutions vertically and take advantage of wall space. Floating shelves and tall narrow storage units work well. Keep materials you use on a daily basis on lower shelves, preferably at eye level. Books and other materials not often used can be stowed away in drawers or on higher shelves.
Make it Personal
Designing your workspace according to your preferences is crucial for staying motivated. Whatever your personal style may be, a clean and organized office will keep you on task. If you prefer a modern look, opt for simple black and add unique touches such as a sleek metal table lamp and photos of friends and family in matching frames. If you prefer a more traditional look, opt for natural materials in warm colours and add classic touches such as an undyed wool blanket and a few carefully selected mementos.
Reference: Squires Ferguson, Ann. “Your Happy and Productive Home Office.” (Personal Communication). UDI Capital Region, U40 Brighter Side Series. 9 Apr. 2020, Victoria.