With 4.2 Million of us now working from home* a home office has become an exciting prospect for many professionals in the UK. However given the wrong circumstances you could find yourself less productive and less motivated than ever (let’s not forget potentially putting your career at risk as a result).

To avoid that happening, Nordic Room has put together an easy 5-step guide to ensure you stay productive and happy in your new work environment.

1/ Location, Location, Location

home office locationThis might sound obvious but ensuring your workspace remains as professional as being in the office is crucial. So to set the tone, first and foremost you’ll need to decide where your office area is.

I can’t stress enough that despite the name ‘home office’ the location needs to be separate from your day to day living environment where possible; sitting on the couch, with children, pets and a remote control next to you will be far too distracting.

A spare room can often be a great solution to convert into office space, but if you don’t have the space indoors have you considered the garden? Scientists have repeatedly proven that having living plants or a natural landscape in view at work reduces stress levels!

No we don’t mean sitting on garden furniture, we mean a bespoke garden office! Most of us aren’t currently taking advantage of our permitted development rights, which allow you to build on your land without planning permission (find out more here). We recommend getting a fully insulated timber frame cabin for year round warmth and usage!

2/ Size Matters

Don’t underestimate how much space you need.

When planning your home office area, one of the most common mistakes is not allowing enough room for good movement around your chair/desk area.

The Minimum amount of space you should allow (according to the HSE**) is 11 Cubic Meters for one person (this means 4.6M2 with the average ceiling height of 2.4m), but of course we would recommend much more than this for a home office to allow for creative thinking and enjoying your work environment!

Depending on what you need your space for (for instance a Design studio or holistic therapies) you may need to allow for additional movement space, or equipment. Don’t forget to allow for storage room – as you are designing the space around yourself, make sure you’re able to enjoy it.

3/ Lighting & decor

As with any room, lighting will be key to making it work. Try to opt for as much natural lighting as possible.

Where you can’t change or add in windows/doors you should ensure you have sufficient artificial lighting to comfortably see what you’re doing at all times, particularly if your work involves anything close up/intricate such as sewing or artistic jobs.

home-office-image-1 Alongside that, keeping a neutral, fresh look and feel will help keep you fresh whilst working too! Whilst you shouldn’t be afraid of colour, don’t opt for anything too dark and heavy.

Take a look at our Pinterest Page for inspiration on how to light/decorate your office and more.

4/ Ammeneties

Whether you opt for an office inside the house or not, make sure you still have easy access to everything you need to get your job done in one place. For example if you’re likely to need to make regular conference calls or videoconference, make sure you have easy access to a phone line and suitable internet access to meet your needs.

If you do decide to build a garden office, you should consider having access to running water (potentially setting up a WC room), an electricity supply – and of course don’t forget to keep your kettle nearby for tea/coffee!

5/ Make it easy to keep organised

Furniture and storage as well as their layout is crucial in keeping you organised and efficient, so be sure to include plenty of cupboard/shelving space when considering your office area. Don’t forget you won’t have access to a stationery cupboard like you did in your normal office environment, so you will need somewhere to keep surplus stock. Again for inspiration take a look at our pinterest page for hints and ideas.

If you’re planning a home office of your own, why not speak to Nordic Wood today about utilising your garden space, and permitted development rights to build the perfect office for your needs. Call now on 01932 268 440 or use the contact form on the right if you’d like us to contact you.

See some of our recent Garden office Projects here:

*recorded in the first three months 2014 by the office of national statistics)
** correct at Monday 26th January 2015