Back in March when many of us were forced to work from home, we were landed with the task of making room for work in the space we live in. And while some people acclimated to this new process better than others, we all struggled to find space around the house that allows us to work productively without negatively impacting homelife.
Although various vaccines have appeared on the horizon, it’s still going to be some time before many workers can return to the office. High case numbers, various stages of national lockdown and a confusing tier system are keeping us at home for the foreseeable future, with normality predicted for spring/summer 2021 — so it makes sense to get comfortable at home and create that perfect home office with what space you have.
You need a minimalist mindset and a good dose of pragmatism to create the perfect home office in a small space. Ask yourself these key questions when setting up your home office: do I need access to storage? What equipment do I need? How much desk room do I need to fit this all in? The answer to these questions will help you adapt and work with the available space in your home.
If you’re squeezed tight at home and months of struggling to cram an office into the mix are getting you down, read on and discover some top tips that’ll help you fit a perfect home office in the smallest of spaces.
Put your desk next to a window
Location is the first and most important consideration when setting up your home office — and with free space at a premium, your best bet is next to a window.
Unless you’re developing photos in a dark room, letting in some natural light will transform your home office for the better. Having a brighter room means that small spaces suddenly feel much more open and free-flowing.
Plus, natural light can lead to better overall productivity and mood. In fact, a study by Cornell University suggested employee productivity increases by 2%, simply by being next to a window.
Top tip: We recommend positioning your desk directly against your window. This way you maximise exposure to natural light, as well as avoid any glare from laptops or desktop devices.
Reduce clutter and keep your workspace tidy
Tidy room, tidy mind — something that’s particularly true when you spend the working day in a tiny space somewhere in your home.
While working from home it’s easy to let clutter gather around your workspace, not least because you no longer get to benefit from regular office cleaning and maintenance. And when your office space also doubles up with home life, things can get a bit messy.
Working from home means your professional and personal lives are at constant odds. And — for me, at least — this means your home office starts to look more like a wardrobe than a place of work, with socks slung everywhere and jeans thrown into a pile on your ‘office’ chair.
If you’re committed to remote working for the long haul, you have to be strict and keep things separate where you can.
This all starts with a little spring cleaning — for example, moving any necessary items away from your workspace and storing them out of sight. The less clutter there is around you, the more focused you’ll feel throughout the working day.
Create more space by using vertical storage
So you need extra storage but don’t have enough space to spare?
You’re not alone with this problem — and the way people have got around it is by building up not down. Vertical storage is a great way to open up more space in your home office and find more places to store your things. It’s a smart solution to make the most out of the space afforded to you.
Need some ideas? Invest in anything from tall bookcases to mounted wall storage. Essentially, think elevation and avoid anything bulky that takes up valuable floor space.
Use light colours to create an open backdrop
When creating a home office, the colour scheme might be the last thing on your mind. But having some understanding of colour helps turn a manageable office space into a productive hub; certain colours evoke emotions such as creativity and happiness. Equally, others can hinder your working mood and make you feel cramped.
If you’re making do with a small space, bright and breezy is the way to go. Light pastel colours or blanket white walls are our shades of choice because they make a room appear much bigger than it is.
It’s also important to keep things plain. It may be tempting to decorate your room in crazy colours and busy patterns, but try to avoid this and keep your office as a blank canvas to promote productivity and calm.
Want to add some colour and zing to your office space? Pops of bright colours on a plain background create a further illusion of space, which feels like gold dust when you’re forced to work out of a tiny room.
Top tip: take your new colour scheme even further by purchasing furniture that matches your theme. Not only does this look good, but it also adds to the illusion.
Unlike the lucky few who have space to spare, if you live somewhere small, you’ll have to work much harder to make your home office comfortable and productive.
Use our tips above to create the perfect home office in a small space — and just remember to think outside the box and come up with smart solutions to your problems.