Home office essentials: Designing the perfect workspace

In the wake of the recent pandemic, the home office has transformed from a luxury to an absolute necessity for an increasing number of people. And it’s not just remote employees who are feeling the shift. Students, too, are seeking dedicated spaces where they can focus on their studies without distractions. But how and where should you set up these home office spaces?

work station
Domenico Loia

A well-organized workspace is crucial, as evidenced by the surge in complaints following the abrupt shift to remote work during lockdowns. Many found themselves unprepared, lacking the right environment or equipment. Neck pains, muscle aches, eye strain, and post-work headaches are all telltale signs of a less-than-ideal workspace.

Crafting your home office sanctuary

The first piece of advice? Aim high, especially if you frequently use your home workspace. Ideally, you should have a dedicated physical space for work, separate from common areas like the kitchen or living room. While a separate office room is the dream, not everyone has that luxury.

If you’re setting up in a multi-use area, try to establish some form of partition. This could be a desk, a cabinet with a workspace, or even a foldable shelf. Additionally, ensure you have ample storage solutions, like drawers or boxes, to keep things organized. This not only aids concentration but also helps you mentally switch off after work. Aesthetically, it’s a good idea to blend your workspace with the room’s overall design, so it doesn’t stand out when not in use.

Prioritize your health

Ensure everything is adjusted to your height for maximum comfort. Consider the height of your computer screen; working on a laptop all day isn’t ideal. If space is tight, at least invest in a stand to elevate your laptop screen to eye level, paired with an external keyboard and mouse. Another must-have? A quality office chair!

Good headphones or earbuds, suitable for calls or online meetings, are also essential. Your laptop’s built-in speakers and mic might not cut it, especially in shared spaces. When shopping, consider models with noise-cancelling technology to enhance concentration.

Shedding light on your workspace

Lighting is key. A window overlooking your workspace is great, but be wary of direct sunlight. A quality desk lamp is a must, but additional light sources can minimize shadows and give your eyes a break. Proper lighting isn’t just good for your eyes; it also boosts concentration and learning, as per recent research from Michigan State University’s neuroscience department. Light colors in your workspace can reflect light, optimizing illumination. Avoid busy wallpapers that might distract you.

Trending now: The garden office

Looking for a unique solution and have a spacious garden? The garden office trend might be for you. This standalone workspace can range from a prefab container to a luxurious wooden frame pavilion. However, consider practicalities like electricity, internet access, and insulation. While it’s an investment (starting at around 35,000 euros), the good news is that structures under 30 sq.m often don’t require building permits. Still, it’s best to check with local authorities.