At the beginning of 2020, a tiny virus had a big influence on the world – including the world of work. In response to the measures taken to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, a considerable number of employees swapped their offices for working from home on an ad hoc basis. It quickly became apparent that any furnishing solutions for home workplaces should not just be functional, but should also make the place look pleasant.
Almost every country fell into a state of emergency followed by some sort of partial lockdown. So, to keep business operations going in a fairly secure way, the work shifted hastily to people’s homes – usually in some sort of provisional home office. There was sufficient reason to get the right hardware in place, but generally without paying any attention to the environment, to say nothing of the aesthetics.
New challenges, new solutions
After coming through the pandemic, we can say that its consequences have made many demands on all of us in many respects. Fears for our livelihood, our sense of isolation or trying to work at home while our children and partners also had claims on our space proved to be serious. This undesired change to working from home took place at the speed of light, and it raised many questions. Particularly about whether more work could be done from home in future and how the design components and technical components could get the best from what is wanted and what is possible. The Siemens company is currently making such a change and ordering 140,000 employees to work from home for two to three days a week over a longer period of time. To extend these same thoughts in other companies, the conditions need to be created for a culture that does not just tolerate working from home, but sees it as a firmly established working model. As one thing is certain, the world of work is hardly likely to follow yesterday’s rules any more.
The technical equipment along with consistent self-discipline is just one side of a well-functioning home office. The design aspect takes on an equal role here. Especially if several people use the same living area.
Often a professionally installed desk is missing, or a suitable chair, storage areas or a filing system.
Balancing work with home
Often the work is done on the sofa, at the kitchen table or in bed. A good half of the employees who work from home don’t have access to a suitable workplace. That could well be just one of the reasons why any enthusiasm for working from home has declined. Social disconnection and a lack of workplace design has also added to the list of reasons to disengage. Furniture with a multifunctional character could be the solution for the latter issue. In other words, interior design can support a good work life balance. Soft fabric covers with a texture that is pleasant to the touch along with round and flowing shapes can work together to create a less severe-looking environment. A kitchen table would also be effective if it comes in a height-adjustable version that makes it suitable for work.
In smaller spaces, fold-out shelves or various writing desk versions would serve the same purpose. Beyond that, the structure of the space plays a major role, that is with a clear separation between work and private life to prevent too many distractions. Boundaries created in the form of room dividers have proven helpful here. This can be done with plants, for instance, or shelves, folding screens or small cupboards. If these also have acoustic properties they will also reduce any noise disturbance.
As most forecasts suggest, it will all come down to a hybrid model in the long term, based on a combination of working in the company premises and working from home. This has already had consequences on the market for office buildings. The recent strong growth in the take-up of office space is currently experiencing the consequences of changing work structures. Compared with the same period last year, the market activity in the top seven cities in Germany dropped by 33 per cent in the first half of this year. Yet the industry is still looking optimistically into the future. Most likely because new workspace models are already being developed.
Ideally there is a workroom available which can be redesigned with both new and functional furnishing solutions to create a home office with an attractive design. If the home workplace is integrated with a privately-used room, the working and living areas should be strictly separated from each other.
In a home office workplace, functionality, aesthetics, feel-good factors and ergonomics should all go hand-in-hand.
As this is new territory for many people it makes sense to get professional advice, where the workplace requirements are analysed and supported with suitable proposals. Having an aesthetic environment is not just a question of style, it also supports well-being and motivation. What’s important is an ergonomic office chair and a desk that fits the worker’s space requirements as well as ideally being height-adjustable.
The best available lighting, storage space for the things to be kept in drawers, container units or agile trolleys after work, as well as computer hardware and software equipment also need to be considered along with any noise-reducing headphones.
Source: Cube Magazine