Influx of home workers
A record proportion of people in employment are now working from home, with homeworkers constituting 13.9% of all those in employment during the first quarter of last year, the highest figure since comparable records began in 19981.
So what’s the big attraction?
Productivity! 76% of people say they would prefer to avoid the office for important tasks as they are more productive when working at home – stating reasons such as fewer distractions, less commuter stress and a more comfortable office environment.
There are also benefits from the employer’s perspective. Aside from the clear cost cutting benefits of reducing the amount of required office space, it’s been proven that flexible working increases employee retention, with workers enjoying the benefits of an improved work-life balance.
However, working from home can lead to its own distractions, from social media to household chores, therefore there is an increase in demand for office space within workers’ homes and gardens. The design and feel of a working environment is paramount to the productivity achieved within a workspace and there are a number of factors to consider when creating a home office.
Create a dedicated office space to avoid distraction
Preferably separate to the house as this will divide your home and work life. When you are in the office, you are set to 'work mode' and only do work-related tasks – it often helps to work in professional clothes to put you in the right frame of mind. Impose rules to other members of the household, so that they know they aren’t to interrupt you or use the office as a playroom or storage room.
Organisation is key
The need for a well-designed and organised space becomes even greater when working from a small home-based office. Keep the office free from clutter and don’t allow items and documents from your home life to encroach on this space, as it will become less productive. Incorporate sufficient storage space for files, technology and other necessary equipment at the design stage, to ensure your office space has clear surfaces but everything can remain at your fingertips. An organised and well-presented office is also important should any clients or business associates drop by.
Map out your requirements
To create an office that truly accommodates your needs, plan how you will use your space and map out your requirements. Will you spend most of your time at a desk? Do you require numerous computers and a lot of technology? Will you be holding client meetings? The answers will determine the need for a comfortable meeting area, sensible storage solutions and if you need to hide lots of wires, as well as features such as the positioning of lights to avoid glare on any screens.
Invest in your workspace
Use the money saved from your commuting costs, whether that is a season ticket or the cost of running a car, to create a pleasant and practical home office environment. This will also add value to your property, so it is money well spent!
Capitalise unused space in your garden
For many homeworkers, the garden is an untapped resource, which can be used to create bespoke office space, such as through the installation of a garden room. Garden rooms often do not require planning permission and can typically be built quickly within two weeks, including dedicated cabling, plumbing and fibre optic broadband.
It is even more important when working from home to establish the right balance between home and work life so boundaries are not blurred and a healthy and productive environment can be established in which to work effectively and efficiently.
The popularity of home working is only set to increase as the cost of commuting rises; as congestion on roads and rail continues to worsen and as more and more families with both parents employed, look for more flexible working options. Ensuring the perfect workspace for this will only add to the bottom line.