WILL YOU CONTINUE TO WORK FROM HOME AFTER LOCKDOWN? COULD A PERMANENT OFFICE BE THE SOLUTION?
Once the lockdown restrictions have been completely relaxed and we are allowed to return to our places of work, there will be mixed feelings amongst us. Some may feel ecstatically happy to leave home and return to working in an office environment, whereas for others, working from home has been an enjoyable experience and one that they are reluctant to give up. If you are in the latter group, you may have enjoyed the many positives that staying at home brings including gaining 2-4 hours a day, as travel to and from work has not been necessary. You may also have had financial savings such as no train or bus fares, no petrol costs and no expensive lunches, and of course less stress and anxiety, which all seems to go hand in hand with the daily commute and frantic office environment. Perhaps, you have got used to exercising on a daily basis when it suits you and although you are not sure how you have done it, somehow you have managed the children and worked all day!
What are your options if you continue to work from home?
So moving forward, when all of us are allowed to go back to work, given a choice would you now consider creating a permanent home office? You have 3 main options, which are turning a room in your home into an office, building or converting a structure in your garden or extending your home.
Adding a space in your garden
On a personal note, I know that I need to avoid the household distractions and focus exclusively on what I am doing and so my choice would be to choose to be outside of the house. If you feel like I do, you have the option of converting an existing out building, which could be the garage, old barn or shed. If you choose this option, at the end of the day, you can simply close the door on your work and walk across the garden and you are home.
Convert a garden structure
There are lots of options if you choose this route. Why not consider some cladding for a garage or an old outbuilding? If the thought of this is ringing alarm bells, and you are remembering the garish buildings of the eighties, things have really moved on and there are now many materials to consider, which will make an old shed look attractive and may be a more cost effective option than knocking it down and building a new structure.
Add a contemporary building or extend
There are also contemporary buildings in kit form or more costly bespoke options that can really add some style to your garden. You could also think about a traditional wooden summerhouse which could have a dual purpose of being an office and storage area and this perhaps would suit your outside space better. The more complicated and longer alternative in terms of time span would be to extend your home to include a home office. And don’t forget, adding or converting a structure in your outside space or extending your home will add value to your property.
Adapting an existing room in your home
Alternatively you may have a spare bedroom or even a loft to convert that would make an ideal working place. Loft spaces are particularly good for working as you feel quite detached from the hub of the house and you can also feel the same detachment if you convert an attached garage.
Top tips for designing a small office space:
Keep the space light and airy. White or light walls with tones of colour will radiate a feeling of calm.
Position your desk with a view if at all possible. Taking breaks and looking to the outside is good for your wellbeing.
Use your space wisely and make use of the height available in the room for storage, such as shelves. You may have files, books and other items that you do not need to access on a regular basis.
Choose calm artwork for your walls or wallpaper that will inspire.
You may have got used to video communications calls, so make sure you have a tidy backdrop or buy a bespoke green screen if required.
Add plants to your space. Green plants are good for your soul, but a word of caution, choose easy to care for plants or faux plants that can give a feeling of calm and tranquillity.
Plan your space. If you have clients that will visit you, make sure you allocate a comfortable space to sit and talk to them.
Keep it simple and only buy furniture you need and which is useful.
Buy a good ergonomic chair. You will find that this is money well spent for a comfortable working day at your computer.
Tidy and clear your new office space on a regular basis. Don’t be tempted to start to use the floor as a storage area and pile stuff up on it - this is not good for your working mindset.
If working from home is available to you, you should look to create a space that you look forward to going to work in. Whatever your budget, create a stylish airy space where everything you need is at hand.
How Style My Home can help you to create an awesome office space
Style My Home has Caroline as the lead designer who has oodles of experience at turning spaces into working areas. If you are thinking of a cabin or summerhouse or more permanent structure in your garden, Caroline will work to your budget to make sure you get the space that will work for you. Style My Home is skilled in creating design boards so that your office space becomes the room you have envisioned.
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TOP TIPS TO SURVIVE STAYING AT HOME
During these challenging times, many people find themselves forced to stay at home. Your house or apartment needs to be adapted to meet its new demands and requirements and provide areas for working, studying, playing, relaxing, sleeping, and eating in order to create some form of routine, sanity, normality and order. Perhaps you are looking around and contemplating where everyone will go and where everything will happen. Our homes are expected to provide so much more than they did before the ‘Stay at Home’ directives. In the latest blog from Style My Home, the Interior Designers based in Tunbridge Wells with clients in Kent, Sussex and London, we look into ways that we can adapt our homes in these unprecedented times, not only in respect of establishing the dedicated spaces we need, but in creating an environment that we enjoy being in.
Here are our 8 top tips to make your home work for you during these difficult times:
1. Prioritise your needs
Is continuing to work at the top of your list or do the children need a play or study room or do you need both fulfilled? To fit these requirements, consider if a spare room can be used or another room such as the dining room can be modified. Perhaps you could pack up a bed if you have a guest room and store it in the garage so that room now becomes your office or the children’s study area.
2. Create a home working area
You may be lucky enough to have a whole room, but if not, you will have to adapt a small niche or a nook and cranny. Do you have a landing or a bay window where you could set up a console or a desk? If you do have to work on the kitchen or dining room table, keep a basket by the table so you can clear away work easily and quickly when it’s time to have your meals. Creating a pleasant working environment, apart from your living area if at all possible, is a good idea.
3. Declutter and clean
Having a good clear out is good for lifting your spirits at this time and can create valuable space that you can use now. Bring spring-cleaning forward and do all of the jobs you never seem to get around to such as cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and going through your wardrobe to throw out clothes you haven’t worn for years. Pay attention to the front of your home and clean paintwork and all windows. You really do want as much light as possible flooding in.
4. Introduce plants and flowers
Bring the outdoors indoors by picking greenery or flowers from your garden.
Fresh flowers or faux plants can really bring a room to life.
Experiment with your flower arranging skills and use colourful and tasteful vases and planters.
If you have window boxes, replant them or if you can access plants add new ones.
Just rearranging and cleaning up pots can give a new lease of life to your outside spaces.
5. Accessorise your space
This is a great time to restyle. Why not buy a few new cushions to brighten up the sofa, or simply swop cushions from one place to another? It’s a great time to buy a new rug, a new picture or mirror with many online stores including Wayfair still delivering products.
6. Rearrange your furniture and reassess how you can use the space
Look carefully at how your room is arranged and decide if individual pieces of furniture are positioned in the right place. Possibly remove pieces to allow for the fact the whole family are in need of space or add seating so everyone can watch TV together. Try to utilize your views of the outside to lift your spirits since you are inside so much.
7. Plan your garden
Spring really is just around the corner and you will have that much needed time to plan your garden and terrace areas. You could give yourself a different view of the garden by altering the seating arrangements. Create a pleasant space in the garden or balcony so if the sun is shining you can eat lunch outside and enjoy the fresh air. As the weather improves make use of what outside space you have, clear out pots and cultivate plants that are growing or flowering.
8. Decorate and freshen up
Do you have any doors, windows or walls that you have been intending to paint? Check your shed to see if you have any paint or order online and use mirrors to reflect light in any newly painted areas.
Style My Home can help you to remodel your home.
You may find that after adapting your home to meet your requirements, you have fallen in love once again with your space as you have discovered that it really works for you and you want to keep some of your newly implemented ideas. Style My Home can work with you on one particular room or your entire property if you decide on a redesign. Also, if you have any plans to extend, do get in touch before you go to planning as we can work with space planning and help you decide what you need.
Selling your home – consider professional staging.
Alternatively, this period may have given you a reason to look at the prospect of moving. If this is the case, when lockdown is over, we can help to professionally stage your property ready to sell with estate agents reports suggesting that this can bring you a 15% increase in the sold price, we also have great experience of selling properties fast after professional staging.
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