How to create a “work from home” space and stay motivated

During this quarantine and lockdown period, so many people have been faced with working from home for the first time in their lives. Many people have not had the chance to prepare for this and don’t know how to create a space that inspires and encourages motivation.

With no time to call in a designer, carefully craft your new workspace, as well as the open ended question as to how long you’ll be in your new temporary makeshift office, here are our tips on how to set up an effective home office and make the most out of your new unexpected space.

Natural light

Natural light and views outdoors are the top priority for workplace wellbeing. Research by Cornell University Professor Dr. Alan Hedge reinforces the connection of natural light and employee wellbeing. Dr. Hedge’s recent research study found optimisation of natural light in an office significantly improves health and wellness among workers. In fact, this research revealed that workers in daylight office environments reported a 51% drop in the incidence of eyestrain, a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 56% reduction in drowsiness.

If you are unable to create a workspace with natural light then order plenty of green plants online, create an outdoor feel to your work area and you’ll find your mood naturally lifts.

How to equip your new working space

Questions to consider when setting up your new space are:

  • How much desktop space do you require? We’ve heard Frank Skinner is working from the top of his laundry basket! Whether it’s a small desk, dining room table or makeshift sideboard, consider the items you’ll need access to throughout the day.
  • What are your printing requirements? Do you need access to a printer? This doesn’t necessarily need to sit alongside you all day and can be stored elsewhere to give maximum space around your desk area.
  • Is it important for you to have peace and quiet; to be insulated from noise and disruption within the home? Many of us will have families also at home, children and pets providing a steady stream of disruption throughout the day. It may be best to consider setting up away from family life, this could be in a bedroom or garage to provide minimum disruption, particularly for those Zoom calls.
  • Are you untidy, and must your clutter be left untouched by other people in the house? Organising simple storage solutions will ensure prying eyes and fingers are kept away from your important work documents. Box files, plastic boxes, files out of reach will all help keep you organised.
workplace Desk with computer at the window in office at home in apartment

Comfortable seating

Perhaps one of the most important investments you will make is in your choice of office chair. If you choose seating which is ill fitted to the height of your desk, or is fixed without the ability to move, you could end up with back and neck aches. There are a whole host of ergonomic chairs available to order online and your posture will be thankful!

Ikea provide some great tips on how to best select an office chair:

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/ikea-business/office-ergonomics-pub8fc4ceb1

Modern office interior design with office chair and desk in front of windows. Workplace with laptop.

Get connected

Make sure your workspace is conveniently located near a power outlet, or look for a multi-plug extension cord so you can plug in everything you’ll need—computer, phone, printer—at the same time. 

If you’re going to be doing a lot of video calls, test out a mock call in your new workspace to see how it looks. A plain wall that isn’t too distracting is a good backdrop, and proper lighting (see above) will make the video quality better. While you’re at it, test out the WiFi signal in that area of the house to make sure it is strong.

Male hands and laptop with blank screen. Mock-up of computer monitor. Copyspace ready for design or text.

Decorate

Creating a comfortable and happy work space can really help your productivity. For a small investment you can order desktop plant pots such as grow your own sunflower, funky stationery, noticeboards, a trendy desk lamp, your favourite photo in a frame – anything to provide a bit of positivity and raise your spirits.

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