While workers are beginning to go back to the office, a significant number of knowledge workers are still primarily home based. A trend paper from DURABLE, ‘Working in small spaces’ provides some practical solutions
When FMJ covered research by Durable on working habits at the beginning of 2020, no one could have foreseen that by April 2020 onwards the majority of office workers would be working from home. In that survey over half of the comments made by participants alluded to the fact that their organisation was only just starting to make the move towards agile working practices. Now, thanks to COVID as a catalyst, working from home has become commonplace.
According to the Centre of European Economic Research, while working from home has many advantages, 56 per cent of home-based workers said that separating work and private life was a problem, while 54 per cent complained their home office was not well equipped.
The good news is that there are some clever ideas and solutions for dividing areas even in the smallest spaces, and for working well with minimal, but (multi-)functional equipment.
Modern furniture design is created for flexibility, with dining tables both suitable for eating but also as a desk. Under the heading ‘Small workspace by day, dining room by night’, Ikea shows how a space can be used as a kitchen, dining room and office. The centrepiece is a variable table comprising several parts that can be used as a desk in its rectangular configuration and as a dining table when configured as a square surface. Various shelf elements divide and sort the cooking and office equipment for books and ornaments on one side, and folders and documents on the other.
If a bedroom or living room is an office too, it pays to invest in ways of reverting back to its normal function when you’re finished work. Portable furniture and organisation tools that you can take with you and move into a corner, shelf or cabinet after work are ideal. DURABLE has a range of lines, including a mobile multifunctional trolley or a tablet holder for table top or wall mounting. The Varicolor series of drawer boxes and storage trays can keep documents and utensils organised, while blending in to a living environment.
Light is an essential element of good office design and it’s especially useful if you can simply take along your light with you. The lamp brand Luctra created Flex, a portable lamp for indoor and outdoor use, with a battery life of up to 40 hours, for precisely this purpose. You can take the lamp wherever you go and simply lean it against a table, chair or other piece of furniture.
CLEVERLY INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY
No home office is complete without technical equipment, from PCs and laptops to printers. However, all those devices can stop a space looking like home. You can store away the equipment after use in a cabinet or sideboard with doors, and even leave the printer in there permanently. A hole in the back of the piece of furniture can help with cable management.
If a home is small, but there is a garden or terrace, users might opt for a garden office. The easiest option that you can convert and use, at least in spring and summer, is a garden shed. You can now even buy ready-made garden offices for year-round use, some come fully furnished as offices. Failing that, you can always install plants on or beside the desk, which not only creates a natural atmosphere, but can also improve the room climate.