Designing the Office Environment


Welcome to the Resources section of Workspace Designs. We are hope to bring you a wealth of information to help you realise your goal of working from home! Our in house expert, Lisa has written a couple of great articles to to get us started and we hope to be continuously enhancing this section. Please let us know if there is anything you would like to see added to this section or if you have any tips that you would like to share with others. (Written 2004 before Coronavirus Pandemic)

We'll start with an introduction to Home Working but be sure to take a look at our second article in the series - Health and Safety in the Home and our most recent article - Designing the Office environment. You'll also find some useful web sites on our Links page.

An Introduction to Home Working

Working from home is a growing trend according to the statistics. More of us are choosing to change our lifestyle, opt out or just work from home more. This change can definitely be a liberating decision with many friends jealous of the fact that you have got out of the rut or off the merry go round to pursue a new venture. It can however be a roller coaster ride of emotions as you struggle to get the new venture off the ground or endeavour to juggle the work life balance.

This workplace trend is set to continue with the introduction of flexible working hours law. We are also increasingly stressed with growing congestion on the roads, train delays, security alerts, and the general pressures of work. With the high cost of office area per employee companies have decreased their city office space and formed satellite offices in more rural locations where rents are cheaper. They are also favouring hot desking and home working as an option. Developments in technology will further enhance communication and facilitate the move to remote working.

It may sound great the thought of having a lie in when you want, going to the gym during the day and making arrangements around friends, family and other commitments but there are a number of issues to take into account before you decide to give up your highly paid job so you can for instance “ spend more time with the family”

You need a workspace that is purely a work area where you can be creative, organised and maintain a professional standard of working practices. You will need space for the computer desk and all the office machines but also for shelving and storage for filing. You may need to look at lighting, ventilation, heating, power points and telephone sockets to ensure all aspects are covered adequately. As most work is computer related ergonomics is an area that will need to be addressed. Such things as adjustable flat screen flat screen arms, foot rests, and CPU holders are all items that need to be considered. Ignoring this could mean that you are storing up problems for the future such as RSI (repetitive strain Injury). Companies have an obligation by law to adhere to the health and safety laws even though you are working from home so should make sure you have suitable home office furniture and accessories. You may need to install broadband so you can accept and make calls while on line and so you do not miss that valuable sales call. Having a separate phone line for business and domestic use is also a good idea to separate work from leisure. It also helps demonstrate separate costs associated with them both for accounts purposes.

As you possibly now have the benefit of the choice of when to work. Why not decide what is best for you. When do feel you work at your most Productive? If you are an early riser you could start early and finish earlier. If you work better later into the evening then enjoy a lay in and work later. This is a chance to structure your day around what suits you. You do not have to work 9 – 5 if you do not want to and your work allows you to be flexible. It will also give you an opportunity to take a break during the day and perhaps take some exercise. You may find you return refreshed to finish your day with renewed interest and energy. It could also be a very important benefit being part of a new healthier lifestyle which you have been talking about for years but been unable to follow through and achieve. You may even choose to take a day off during the week and work on a Saturday. However you do have to remember that just because the office is there 24/7 you do not need to work. Balance the time with pampering or chill out time and relax to recharge the batteries. Life Coaches work a lot now with people who have struggled to balance the work life balance. You may have taken the decision to work from home to spend more time with the family but are finding you are working even longer hours. It is too temping when you are struggling to get a new venture off the ground and perhaps financial issues are a pressure. Some people can find that it can affect family life due to the strain and stresses even if the venture a success as you have to do so many time consuming jobs yourself and get to the point when you may have to take on staff to help. This means many people even have to employ child minders again which you could say defeats the initial objective of working from home particularly if you then grow enough to invest in an office away from home. If this is your objective and the business is a success then that is great but be clear on what you really want to achieve.

It is very easy to be distracted if you have not got a boss breathing down your neck and deadlines to meet. It is important to remain focused on the task but be realistic one how much you can actually achieve in one day. A routine is a good idea to establish to bring some order to the day. One lady even got dressed up every day get in her car drive round the block and arrived back home as though arriving at her office to start the day. This will obviously not be the best idea for everyone but is an example of how a routine can help to bring a distinction and order to a working day. If you have left a big company with an accounts department, purchasing department, marketing dept, sales office, office junior etc you soon realise that every job is now down to you. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the demands placed on you so don’t worry as you are not the only one out there in the same situation. Remember you are doing this for yourself not a big corporate machine.

Home working can be isolating and many people miss the contact with their colleagues in the office or customers. Networking is a good idea as you can meet and swap ideas with many people who are experiencing the same highs and lows as you which is reassuring. It can obviously lead to business as well and offer a valuable social outlet.

Starting a business from home may reduce the financial risk and keep overheads down however you may need to check your mortgage or lease agreement to make sure its okay to run a business there.

As long as you can overcome the pitfalls you can find yourself on the way to a rewarding and challenging lifestyle that will bring fulfilment and happiness. Whether you have chosen to work from home or you are starting up a new venture many do not look back and find it the ideal way of life.

If you need any further help on office furniture and accessories contact Home Office Design Ltd who will be happy to help with the design of your new workspace. and can supply an inspiring range ofcomputer desks, shelving, Accessories, Lighting, Ergonomics, hat and coat stands, bins etc.

If you've enjoyed this article or found it informative please tell your colleagues and friends about it. Meanwhile be sure to take a look at our second article in the series - Health and Safety in the Home.