The working environment has recently changed, and many people are working from home. Although in the interim this has been due to COVID-19, some employees hope that working from home will be a more permanent arrangement. Companies are adopting flexible working programs, with the option to work from home 4 days a week and in the office 1 day per week. Surveys have found that 1 in 3 (32%) people wish to work from home at least some of the time (Middleton, 2020) when things return to normal. People are now expecting to be able to work from home more and have options for flexible working. The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) is working with the government to enforce regulations that allow people the right to request flexible working from day one (Baska, 2020). As it stands currently the employees must’ve been working for the same company for more than 26 weeks (Baska, 2020) to gain entitlement. This would mean that more people are eligible for flexible working, thus meaning more permanent home working.
Home working requires an ergonomic work station set up, and also Desk Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments are required by law if this becomes a permanent arrangement (HSE, 2020). Ergonomic equipment and assessments are needed to reduce the risk of injury occurring from poor set up. This means setting up a suitable space in your home that maximises your productivity and reduces the risk of injury from poor work set up. However, just because you need an ‘office’ in your home, doesn’t mean that your home must look like an office.
There are some basic needs r that your home-work space should meet; it should be a separate area from where you sleep and eat (Bronner, 2020), have comfortable furniture, and be well-lit enough to be enable you to feel productive. It’s also a good idea to help you feel more in touch with nature by adding some plants, which can in turn improve your air quality at the same time. Never forget that your working space is in your HOME! This may sound obvious, but this allows you to create a workspace specifically suited to YOU. It can be less generic than a typical office, with furniture that suits your needs, and that you LOVE.
The days of mass produced disposable identikit office furniture being pressed into service in the home are coming to an end. If you can afford it, why not get yourself a quality piece of furniture that is built to last a lifetime? Just consider for a moment the most important piece of the home working puzzle; your chair. You should select this as if it is going to be a future family heirloom; something that your offspring will fight over long after you departed this mortal coil.
Colour has been found to impact mood and productivity (Savavibool, 2016). Think very carefully about the colour and tactility of the textiles; a comfortable chair upholstered in a soft and rich pure new wool fabric can be like a warming embrace from a loved one.
Also, consider chairs that facilitate and encourage passive movement. There are work chairs that
accommodate a gentle a reassuring rocking motion with the simple flexing of your ankles. Studies suggest that not only does rocking soothe the mind, but can also improve the otherwise relentless pain of fibromyalgia, which can in some affect the whole body (Karper, 2013).
Perhaps the greatest exponent of balanced movement whilst seated is Norwegian industrial designer (also artist and musician) Peter Opsvik. He has been responsible for penning some of the most iconic ergonomic seating designs of our age; HÅG Capisco, and Credo, Stokke ‘Trip Trapp’ and Gravity Balans (shown Left).
With the Gravity Balans, if you wish to lean forward to work at a desk it can be used as a kneeling chair, whereby your core back muscles assume their intended role of supporting a natural posture. With a simple movement of the feet, shift your weight slightly backwards for an upright seated position. To recline, gently push away from the ground. The unparalleled feeling of defying gravity is accomplished by leaning back entirely, to a fully reclined position, where your legs are elevated above your heart. Here, the chair gently rocks in response to the rhythm of your breathing, allowing you to relax into weightlessness. Heavenly!
Not far behind is the Thatsit (above). With its concave backrest and curved wooden runners, Thatsit creates balance in all postures. Whether at home or in the office, Thatsit is an ideal work chair and is designed for seamless transitions between different positions. The chair invites you to lean in when focusing on a task or lean back when contemplating your next great idea. It is adjustable, allowing you to find the setting that best supports you.
The ubiquitous HÅG CAPISCO has been around for over 35 years. It is a testament to the inherent ‘rightness’ of the design that it still looks as fresh now as when it was launched in the mid-eighties. This design classic can be supplied in a range of classic or modern, colourful fabrics. The Capisco has a saddle seat which encourages ergonomic sitting, the height can be adjusted, for a range of working positions. This chair encourages movement and allows a range of postures.
Productive Well-Lit Environment
If you have a window in the room you are using as a home workspace, it is advised to take advantage of the view regularly. Working with a view of the outside and nature is thought to improve mental wellbeing and keep you in touch with nature (Interface, 2020). If you do not have a beautiful scenic view worry not, because the natural light from your window will still be of good use and is also thought to be a contributing factor to sleep and thus productivity. This is a result of the fact that natural light helps your natural body clock function, the spectrum changes naturally throughout the day signaling to your mind.
If you do not have a window, worry not as there are solutions that can improve your lighting and natural circadian rhythm. An example of this is the Luctra Floor, which is designed to deliver biologically effective light without taking up any desk space. The LEDs built into the lamp head provide energy-efficient illumination, further to this both the brightness and the colour of the light can be changed.
Add some biophilic design to your home workspace. Recently people have found a value of caring for plants and watching them grow. Nurturing plants seems to provide people with a positive energy. As more and more houses and flats are built and the open spaces are reducing, there is a need for elements of nature. This is due to stress and anxiety increasing. Biophilic design aids mental recuperation. Also, it is known to improve air quality. There seems to be links with healthy plants grown to a better more natural existence subconsciously (Interface, 2020). In a study done about biophilic design in the workplace, respondents working in places with natural features expressed feeling 6% more productive and 15% more creative at work. Add some biophilic design to your home office. For inspiration, here are the best houseplants for home offices. Find out more here.
Home Office Design
Home is where we spend so much of our time, and this has especially been so during the current Covid-19 crisis. Suddenly a place where we normally spend time alone, where we welcome friends, and with our loved ones, has also become our enforced place of work. Although there are small signs of society returning to back normality, many of us are still working from home and will do so for the foreseeable future. Whilst sitting on the bed and using the ironing board as your height-adjustable workstation may be acceptable for a little while, in the longer term you need to have the correct equipment to enable you to work comfortably, safely and effectively from home.
Our virtual design service will provide you with a both a DSE assessment to review your current workstation set-up, and a home office re-design that is compliant with the current DSE regulations. In order to establish your needs and requirements, we can arrange a video call at your earliest convenience, with our Head of Design, Zara Bottomley. Zara will ask you a variety of questions regarding your workstation and she will provide a strategic proposal for your review. This proposal will include, a space plan of your home office, and furniture proposals that complementing your existing décor, and costs to reflect this.
We will provide a procurement package to accommodate all budgets from low, medium and to high, and we will fully support and guide you throughout the design process. Once sign off is achieved, we will deliver and install your new furniture and we will also discuss how our products work, so when we leave, you have the confidence to use your new equipment
If you would like to hear more about our home office design service, please contact Zara Bottomley on 0345 216 0007
Baska, M. (2020). Home working set to double post coronavirus crisis, survey finds. Retrieved 20 July 2020, from https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/home-working-set-to-double-post-coronavirus-crisis
Bronner, S. (2020). 4 design rules for your home office to achieve a "state of flow." Retrieved 23 July 2020, from https://www.inverse.com/innovation/how-to-design-your-home-office-to-achieve-state-of-flow
Scott, E. (2020). The best house plants to add to your working-from-home space and desk. Retrieved 27 July 2020, from https://metro.co.uk/2020/05/19/best-house-plants-add-work-home-desk-12725798/
HSE. (2020). Protect home workers. Retrieved 20 July 2020, from https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/home.htm
Interface. (2020). Episode 2- Oliver Heath [Podcast]. Retrieved 27 July 2020, from https://blog.interface.com/en-uk/designing-with-climate-in-mind/
Karper, W. (2013). Rocking chair exercise and fibromyalgia syndrome. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 37(2), 141-152.
Middleton, J. (2020). One in three office workers want to continue working from home. Retrieved 20 July 2020, from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8540145/One-three-office-workers-want-continue-working-home-coronavirus-threat-over.html
Savavibool, N. (2016). The effects of colour in work environment: A systematic review. Environment-Behaviour Proceedings Journal, 1(4), 262-270.