• hannahjoyliddle

How to create a home office - in ANY home!

Today is the dawn of a new age. The working from home age. The trying-to-work-with-kids-at-your-feet age. The trying-to-find-SPACE-for-your-office age!

I get it. During the first lockdown, my partner was teaching full-time from home, whilst I tried to keep our two young children downstairs and relatively quiet – one of whom was newly toilet trained and delighted in loudly exclaiming her toilet-based achievements at every visit. Argh!

If you’re happy working on the sofa in your PJs or perched at the dining table then I’m not here to tell you to do otherwise. Each to their own!

However, in my experience, having a space dedicated to working from home can make a real difference. It makes you look professional on those all-important conference calls, can help with motivation, (fewer distractions!), and perhaps most importantly, makes you feel like you are actually going to ‘work’. At a time when the divide between work and play is becoming increasingly blurred, having a dedicated office space in your home helps you separate ‘work-life’ from ‘personal-life’.

I’m not talking about an all-singing, all dancing, office room, (although if you have the luxury of that, then great!). With some problem-solving and a bit of creative thinking, this can work in even the tiniest of flats.

So this is where my design background comes in! Think space-saving storage and multi-purpose furniture.

First, you need to decide where you want your home-office to be. A corner of the living room? At the dining table? In the guest bedroom that doubles as a dumping ground? Then – clear it out. Make sure it is clutter free. This will help to ensure your head is clutter free too. Who wants a chaotic working environment where they can’t find a pen when they need one?

If you don’t have space for a dedicated desk, no problem. How about a fold-away desk? This option from Wayfair can be tucked away in a corner when not in use, and when open has great storage cubes for all your paperwork and stationary. If you’re really short on space, this wall-mounted option from IKEA acts as a narrow, floating shelf when down and can be easily lifted up to give you desk space! Whatever option you choose, make sure it’s well lit. If possible, by a window is best; sunlight is a natural mood-booster, but as we know it can be rarer than hen’s teeth in Britain so back it up with the somewhat more reliable electrical lighting!

If you’re going to be sat for long periods of time, a proper, adjustable office chair with a supportive back is a must to avoid discomfort and pain. These vary vastly in style and price so my advice – get out there and sit your derrière in a couple before you buy.

Next up – storage. Have a space dedicated to your office stationary, so when you need a stapler, (and staples!), precious minutes aren’t wasted trying to find them. This could be as simple as some containers on a shelf above your desk space, or some moveable, modular storage that can be hidden away in a cupboard when not in use. Again, IKEA have more solutions than you can shake a stick at, including this versatile RÅVAROR box, perfect for keeping those rogue paperclips and working pens all in one place.

Finally, and crucially, think about your backdrop. What will people see behind you during all those Zoom calls and video conferences? A plain wall or a painting – fine. Personal photos or dirty laundry – not so much.

And that’s about it! You’re all set to work from home. So grab a cuppa, settle yourself down in your handpicked chair at your space-saving desk, open your laptop and visit www.apexva.co.uk/services to find out what else I can do for you.