Words: Anne Shauffer | Image: Shutterstock
Working from home sounds like everybody’s dream situation, but it can be challenging. You need to have a great, dedicated space so that you want to be there. You may not spend all week in there, but it still needs to speak to you.
The global change in work patterns
According to a Regus survey, The workplace revolution: a picture of flexible working 2017, more than 70% of South African businesspeople polled expect to see an increase in demand for flexible work hours and 63% reported working remotely 2,5 days a week or more.
Elize van den Berg, founder of lifestyle retailer Beetroot Inc, says, “This is great news for many of us who would like more flexibility to work where and when it suits us. More good news is that a home office comes with tax breaks. But according to online tax consultants at TaxTim, ‘The taxpayer must have an area of their home, which is used exclusively for this purpose.’”
Make it a dedicated space
You must create a dedicated office space in your home. Elize says, “People often tuck their home office into an unused space that’s not good for anything else. Mistake. It can’t be an afterthought in a dark corner or high-traffic area. Choose somewhere you’re going to love spending time, with good lighting, a view if possible, and sufficient plug points. If clients visit you, you’ll need space for an extra chair or sofa. And don’t forget excellent connectivity and cellphone coverage.”
A good-looking, functional space
“Get busy on a decor scheme that lifts your heart,” says Elize. “If you love colour, consider a bright wall to inspire alertness and focus. This workspace is where you’re going to have bold and brave ideas. If you prefer a neutral palette for a calming effect, I’d still suggest injecting some energy with bright scatter cushions, coordinated files and desktop accessories.
“For furnishings, the most important investment is your chair,” says Elize. “Find one that’s ergonomically comfortable and have it set up specifically for you. Next, choose your desk. You need to have everything easily at hand, but it doesn’t all have to be on the desk surface. If you have good storage solutions, a smallish worktop is all you need – this also encourages tidiness. Consider shelves that you can position near your desktop.
“If your work means you move from one work surface to another, consider utility trolleys,” says Elize. “You can scoot them from one workstation to another.”
Where to meet clients
If you’ll have clients in and out of your space, be sure to create an area for them. Having a beautiful sofa and coffee table is usually more than sufficient. Consider getting a customised, comfortable couch, or reupholster one you already have to match your home office decor scheme.
When it comes to choosing accessories, give them as much thought as everything else. “Rather save up to get something as beautiful as it is functional – an accessory you love, even if it’s just a pen holder,” says Elize.
“The home office is the most important room in the house, yet often we treat it like the least important,” says Elize. “It should be functional, practical, a place that reflects who you are and complements the work you do.”