Gone are the days when taking work at home consisted of a pile of papers. Now almost all our paperwork is in digital form and thanks to the internet we can look into it from anywhere around the globe (and probably even on holidays!) Many of us, should I say most of us, have a computer at home and use it on a daily basis for work or leisure. In fact recent statistics tell us that in Australia one in three people now regularly work from home...
So, how do you create a functional working station at home if you don't have a dedicated study room? It could be as easy as placing your computer on the dining table and pulling out a chair or, some people do, use one of those laminated working desks with built-in shelves and drawers... But while these quick solutions may be practical they are often also ugly or messy. A home workstation solution should help you work effectively and be comfortable without intruding in the enjoyment and styling of the home you live in, as it is a 'HOME' after all and not an office, So let's see how to get the best of both worlds.
First of all, where to place the workstation? Out of the way! is the first answer that comes to me. Working without being disturbed is important, as well as allowing the rest of the family to be able to get on with their life while you work. Is the corridor wide enough to sit at a desk without being bumped on by family members passing by? Do you have enough space under the staircase that could be used for this? The end wall of a corridor between bedrooms? How about dedicating a built-in wardrobe to it by removing the bottom shelves and adding a seat; this way you can still close the doors and hide the mess.
I suggest having a dedicated table just wide enough for the computer, with room on either side for a book to work from, rather than an oversized deep table. If possible there should be room for some good looking objects like a funky clock, or maybe a vase as well as a table lamp, allowing it to look good when not in office mode. When adding a computer table to a room, I also prefer a thin legged table to a bulky one as it helps make the room feel less crowded. I Don't suggest buying an office style workstation as that look doesn't fit in any home being often bland in its finishes. Try and choose a table which matches the style of your existing furniture, with drawers, providing you with some storage. Like I always suggest, "Be Creative". Why not choose a good looking second hand table to re-vamp, it may be an old table you have in the garage or one you find in a second-hand shop. With a coat of paint, or maybe a new timber stain, it can look perfect and become a great addition to the room rather than looking out of place!
For the styling: my first rule is to keep the desktop clutter free, bar a few simple but practical items like a table lamp, a stack of quality books or maybe a picture frame. Drawers are necessary to hide pens, papers and all sort of clutter. Keep the desk neat when not working on it and it will fit with your interior styling and not bother you when enjoying the rest of the room. Unless you have a nook to dedicate as a workstation, it may be wise to avoid the shelving above the desk, instead livening up the space with an artwork or a beautifully framed print. However if you need some storage, opt for good looking magazine binders, and a mix of styling with necessary books and other décor items to soften the look. Ideally all your paperwork should be stored out of sight, as it is a family and entertaining space, but it should be nearby; easy to access, but invisible when not needed. Finally, add plants, I LOVE INDOOR PLANTS, they always freshen up a space, help you feel relaxed and bring the outside and relaxed feel indoors.
Every family might have a different opinion on this, but is it suggested to avoid installing computers in young children's room as you want to be in control of their internet activities.
Natural light on your work desk is important to avoid fatigue and eye strain, but direct sun should be avoided, especially behind or on either side of your screen as it will make you squint and strain your eyes.
Making a cup of tea or doing quick home chores while working from home are the best excuses for a healthy break from the computer: it'll give a rest to your eyes and your posture.
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.