Research has shown that a substantial chunk of job satisfaction is derived from the office set-up. It’s no wonder that companies like Facebook and Google have made such fanfare of the way they’ve designed their offices. If you’re one of the lucky people with a work-from-home arrangement, or if you’ve just started your own business, take a leaf out of these tech companies' playbook and spend some time creating a home office that you'll want to get out of bed for. Furniture retailer Castlery has an Experience Centre and a consultancy service to help customers achieve the design they’re after. We ask Castlery co-founder, Declan Ee, the best ways to set up the home workspace.
8 DAYS: How important, really, is it to create a dedicated work space, instead of just using the dining table?
Declan Ee: The furniture sets the mood. It is in our nature to create and adjust the spaces we are in to match our mood and needs. When a certain space is unsuitable for doing work, your mind might not be as focused on the task at hand because it is constantly in a state of unease. While it may be cost-saving to use the dining table or sofa for doing work, it may not actually be productive in the long run. Dining tables are made for eating on, and sofas are made for comfort; not for rushing deadlines. A dedicated space for work can help you focus because your brain will naturally adjust to match the setting of the room, and you tend to be more productive.
What are the key things you should include, besides the obvious desk?
First, a desk light: The right lighting can help you be more productive. Trying to focus on something in a dark environment tires your eyes. A comfortable and sturdy office chair that’s suitable for your height and body shape will be good for your back and posture. Lastly, shelves to organise your documents. This is a universal must-have, regardless of the work you do. Keep a system that works best for your style; some prefer to clear documents every few months, some prefer to keep them for longer.
What do people tend to overlook?
Most people do not know how to design and they tend to overlook essential things like space, light, colour, flooring. For example, designing the use of space is paramount so there’s a clear path for moving around and ensuring unnecessary clutter is reduced. As productivity depends a lot on concentration, noise may be a big concern, and hence the location of the home office in the house and choice of flooring — certain materials can help with acoustic control — may help reduce distractions.
What should you look out for when planning the layout?
Film yourself working for an hour and study where you put things and how you naturally work. Then place furniture and storage accordingly. For those who may not have time to do this, we recommend making a list of things they need, and to buy furniture that can help support and maximise their tools for work. A client who works mostly on his laptop may not need a very large desk, as opposed to a client who needs to sketch on large A1-sized papers.
Castlery Experience Centre, #01-03A Delta House, 2 Alexandra Road, www.castlery.com.