Leading interior designer Andrew Henry shares his top tips for creating the ultimate home office 

We’re all having to adjust the way we work at the moment: Emergency services staff are working extra shifts. Food producers are pulling together to keep us all fed and watered. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers are helping wherever they can.

And many people are having to change not just how they work, but where.

If you’re one of the many millions making the transition from working at the office to working at home, you’ll know that it can bring many advantages, like avoiding the daily commute, or enjoying a bit of extra time in bed.

But it can also be difficult to focus when you do have to settle down at your desk.

If you want to improve your productivity, small changes to your home working set up can have a significant impact. To help you embrace this new way of working, we asked local interior designer Andrew Henry to share his top tips for creating the best home workspace.

If you’re feeling inspired, why not try making a change this weekend to see if these easy ideas can help you work more effectively at home?

1. Location, location, location

“If you’re juggling working from home whilst looking after children, then consider setting up your workspace in the heart of the home: from the kitchen table or living room you can keep an eye on the little ones and stop them trying to pinch their third snack of the day.

On the other hand, if you need to be able to focus, find a space that is away from the distractions of the household; a spare bedroom or separate room is ideal. 

“Remember home offices come in all shapes and sizes, so whether it’s a dedicated room or part of an open plan living space, find the location which suits you.”  - AH

2. Claim the window seat

“The window seat is a big prize in many offices. But when you are working from home there is no contest – the window seat is all yours! 

“It’s a well-known fact that vitamin D and exposure to daylight can have a positive impact on your mental health, well-being and productivity. Natural light has the great advantage of making a space feel bigger - which is a big plus for those working in the spare bedroom. Think about dressing your windows with blinds and shutters though; they will soften the room and help protect your eyes when the sun gets a little too bright.” -AH 

3. The desk you deserve

“A great desk is the centre piece for any home office or study. Whether its small or stately, you don’t have to spend a lot to be practical and stylish.

“When it comes to desks, comfort comes first. Desks come in an assortment of sizes and styles, so make sure yours allows you to feel at ease. If you like to stretch your legs, why not consider a standing desk? If you have limited space at home, you could choose a fold-up model? The wrong height workspace can lead to bad posture and back pain so take your time to make the right choice” – AH

4. Beat the office blues...

“Did you know the colour on your walls can affect your mood and make you happier in your home? Specific hues and tones can promote productivity and boost creativity.

“Pantone colour of the year 2020 is classic blue. It is a calm and confident tone and an ideal choice for your study or workspace.

“If classic blue is too bold for your home, why not give a subtle nod to this trend by using a pale alternative like Pavilion Blue by Farrow & Ball or Pale Wedgwood by Little Greene.” – AH 

5. Think outside the filing cabinet

“Having a tidy desk can make a huge difference to your productivity - think of the time you’ll save by not searching through piles of paperwork!

“Try to limit the number of documents you keep on your workspace; a top tip is to place a shedder or waste-paper bin beneath your desk and dispose of unwanted paperwork as soon as you’ve finished with it.

“If you do have to keep files close, then filing doesn’t have to be boring. Try hanging pinboards for your notes or open shelving to organise those important folders while keeping your workspace clear.”  - AH 

6. Surround yourself with things that inspire you

“Part of the joy of being in your own home is being able to personalise your space. Try hanging photographs of happy memories or artwork that inspires you. If you’ve accomplished a professional certificate or received an award, why not give these pride of place?

“Personalising your workspace can help break up blank walls and help you keep yourself motivated and focused.” - AH 

7. Bring the outside - in

“Plants are known to reduce stress and boost air quality. In fact, research has shown that the use of greenery in office spaces can improve both wellbeing and productivity.

“So when you’re working from home, it’s a good idea to bring the outside in by making room for a simple succulent or a large pot plant. To add a vibrant touch, why not use colourful pot or decorative planter to brighten your desk.” – AH

We hope this article has inspired you to make some changes to your home set-up. Why not re-arranging your workspace this weekend to incorporate some of these simple ideas.