Creating a functional workspace at home

Thanks to flexible working options increasing numbers of people are working from home and setting up functional home workspaces. Maybe you’re about to do the same yourself. If so, you may be worried about space or where your set up will work best. With careful planning, as well as some clever hacks, any space can be turned into a home workspace.

Consider the tips below to increase your productivity and efficiency while working from home.

Clever use of space

Combine ideas that are outside of the box, clever planning and effective use of space and what you do have? The perfect recipe for setting up a functional home workspace. Don’t let space or imagination limit your options.

You may not have ever imagined yourself working in a nook, a storage cupboard or a window seat, but these spaces can be easily transformed into temporary or permanent workspaces.

“Adding a couple of higher shelves for an in-tray, a charging station with dual USB power points and a table-height surface where you can pull up a stool is a great way to create an instant work space,” says Jodie Hughes, interior designer at Eclectic Interior Design and Property Styling.

If you have limited indoor space to work with, or even fancy the idea of something different, Hughes says you only have to look out the window for inspiration.

“Creating a work space in your garage or shed is a clever solution [for creating a home workspace],” she says. “If space allows, a shipping container in the garden would also work.”

Invest in ergonomics

One of the most important things to consider when setting up your home workspace, is ergonomics. Even if you’re only setting up a workspace for the day, it’s important to ensure you have the right equipment to protect your body.

As a guide, your desk needs to be at a height that allows you to naturally rest your elbows in line with your keyboard and mouse. You can use a hand rest to prevent your hands from bending.

Your chair should be adjustable and provide proper back support and your feet should be flat on the ground or on a small foot stool to help protect your back.

Your computer screen should be a minimum of an arm’s length away and positioned slightly forward just below eye level - your head and neck should not be bent. Positioning the screen at a right angle and away from direct light will reduce glare that can cause eye strain.

To prevent unnecessary straining or awkward movements, place your stationery and printers within easy reach.

Multi-purpose technology and furniture

Scanners, printers and copiers can take up a lot of separate space. Some almost need a room of their own. But, there is a simple answer. Multi-purpose technology. Multi-purpose furniture is the same.
“Extendable tables, folding tables, or console desks that convert to dining tables enable you to maximise your living space and work space,” says Hughes.

“Open bookshelves are great multi-furniture pieces that can be both stylish and functional,” she adds. “Existing sideboards can hideaway less stylish items such as printers.”

When you choose your multi-purpose furniture and technology, go with a look that fits your style and is functional for your space.

Go wireless

Keeping your desk clutter free is easy if you use wireless technology. It also gives you the flexibility to be mobile within your home, so you can head into the kitchen and make a cup of tea without missing a beat.

Keyboards, mice and printers can all be shared wirelessly.

Buying a multiport USB charger is another way to limit wires. It also means your devices are always charged – an essential when waiting for that important phone call.

Division of space

Using clever screening or divisions in your room will allow you to separate work from home life.

“An open bookshelf is a great multi-functional way to divide a room, as it provides extra storage that is accessible from either side, and the open shelving allows light through, so you don’t feel closed in,” says Hughes.

If you’re working in a tight space, don’t feel like you can’t separate work from home, try a fold-down desk that you fold away when done.

Lighting and personalising your space

“Choosing the right lighting to suit your space is very important to productivity, mood and saving your sight,” says Hughes.

Because of this, she suggests making use of natural light where possible. Otherwise, use overhead lighting and table lamps, or wall mounted lamps, standard floor lamps, and desk lamps if you’re limited on space.

Anything that makes your home workspace more appealing can’t be wrong, so adding personal touches is a nice idea. “Beautiful fabrics, paint swatches or personal photos can help creativity and mood and need minimal space,” says Hughes.

Plants can also be a great addition to your working space, and don’t worry if you’re not a green thumb. There are plenty of low maintenance indoor plants, such as aloe vera, spider plants and dracaena.

“Research shows that plants in the working environment can have many benefits, such as stress reduction and cleaning the air,” says Hughes.

Clever storage ideas

Floating shelves, hanging storage pockets and wall mounted box cubes all work well if you have smaller storage spaces, while shelving under the desk is great for printers or scanners.

When it comes to paperwork, the last thing you want is to have surplus amounts of it taking up your time and space. Saving documents digitally using a backed-up cloud storage system is the perfect solution to keeping your workspace organised.