How To Style Your HOME OFFICE
Making the Office feel like Home.
If the last 2 years have taught us anything, it’s that working from home can be hard. At home there are distractions galore, the ever-present sofa, the kettle beckoning you to make endless cups of your preferred hot beverage. Or perhaps there is nothing distracting you other than the fact you are at home, the space where you are able to wear you favourite pinstripe silk pyjamas all day and not be judged. Therefore, having a space for working at home is important. But having a space where you feel calm, collected, and able to work effectively, is something that is being seen as increasingly necessary these days. Most of us don’t like going into work, but if we are required and able to work from home, we need to be able to act like we are still in the office to a degree. That’s why a good Home Office is very important to those of us who use them. And why making sure you are happy with and in the space is essential.
Origins of The Home Office
Through the decades, style and décor has changed significantly and as a result, the way your home office looks may have too. But the idea of a modern home office is comparatively new as only the landed gentry or those that tended the land would have had a home office of any sort in the past. Think of the Lord of the Manor or maybe a Farmer working on his Farmhouse kitchen table. Although it could be argued that almost everyone worked from home before the industrial revolution. Be they butchers, bakers or candlestick makers that would craft where they lived. To most in the modern world though an office was a workplace outside of your home. But first, what defines an office and what is the history of them?
The first ‘offices’ probably originated in ancient Rome, Rome was a pretty beaurocratic society and required spaces where the masses of official paper work was shuffled around. Most business would have been conducted then and there on paper and wax boards. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that dedicated office buildings began to be built with one purpose.
The first offical office building was more than likely The Old Admiralty Arch. Built in 1726 as the British Empire expanded and its trade with other parts of the empire grew and thus the paperwork grew at a huge rate too. It needed an army of clerks to handle the masses paperwork generated to help the smooth running of the Royal Navy. As a side note, the first boardroom was also there, aptly named the Admiralty Board Room, which is still used today.
Not long after that in 1729 the construction of East India House on Leadenhall Street which was the HQ of the East India Comapny. Which saddled the line between private and public business. With private companies becoming bigger, more and more dedicated offices of greater scale started to be build across Lonodon and the other major cities of the UK. These centralised spaces to administer the masses of paperwork started to become the norm and are the precursor to the modern offices we know now and most of us have probably worked in at some point or other.
From Workplace to Workspace
The stereotype of a workplace office is a dull place and that may be why people like to add a splash of themselves to any space at home dedicated to work. The main changes over the last hundred years will have been both aesthetic and functional. Where desks may have once solely been used for stacks of paper, writing implements and candle holders, think Bob Cratchit, they now have computers, laptops and tablets.
Sleek, simple, and sparse spaces (try saying that three times fast…) are often seen as the most productive as they have few things to distract, but on the occasion where your day isn’t going so well, the space can seem cold and unappealing. Having that touch of ‘you’ is key to maintaining a workspace that encourages and inspires you to work to the best of your abilities while sitting (or standing if you prefer) in your home office. The oddities and niceties you may have in the space. Pictures on your walls. Knick-knacks on shelves. Or books that add inspiration but are not too much of a distraction all help to create ‘your’ space. We believe that your home office should inspire and is unlike any other room in many ways, so creating a space that you can stay focussed in is imperative.
A Few Rules
Now we are not always one for rules at Sir Gordon but there are a few things that you should try to make your home office as comfortable and inspirational as possible. Although we do understand that not all homes have the choice and you sometimes have to ‘make do’.
1: NATURAL LIGHTING: Not every home office can have a wonderful stream of natural lighting. But if you do have a choice on where your home office should be? Then choose somewhere where there is as much natural lighting as possible. Not only is it good for getting your vitamin D, natural lighting is also good for your personal energy and in fact could help save on your utilities bill too. Daylight is also great to help judge how long you have been working.
2: A QUIET SPOT: This may seem obvious but finding a quiet place to put a home office is paramount for concentration. In a hall way is probably not the best place to put a home office, with kids coming and going.
3: CHAIR AND DESK: These should be ergonomic, function trumps form here, although we should say that aethetics should play a large part in your choice too. Ergonomic chairs and desks are paramount for your health and well being.
4: PERSONLISE: You really should make the home office your office. Only choose item that enhance the environment. By enhance we mean make it better to work in or add inspiration. That could be some beautiful slate bookends to keep your business books in check. A splash of pop art by 45Renegade on the walls for inspiration. Or maybe a scented reeds, many studies have concluded that the right scent can help productivity.
5: ADD PLANTS: There is something very calming about having some plants surrounding you. Not only do they soften a home office they also make people happier as many studies have concluded. And if you do go for plants don’t forget to water them with a small HAWS watering can because dead plants can have the opposite effect and make places depressing.
Making It Your Own
An example we at Sir Gordon Bennett have seen is that of a Gentleman from Gloucestershire. As a business owner, he works long hours both at home and at the workplace. Needing to have a space to work away from the distractions of home, he elected to create a space outside. He managed to acquire an enclosed wooden shelter with enough space to accommodate his needs. After having electricity and internet routed to the space, affectionately named “The Pod,” the Home Office began to feel complete. The addition of a small wood burning stove to help with the British weather we love oh so much tied the whole office together and made it a space where hours of work can be completed with little to no issue. A few small hints of personality and a tea making station were added at a later date to finish off the setup. Is there anywhere we British won’t add tea making spaces?
That is a bit of an extreme example, we aren’t suggesting you dig an Anderson Shelter for your home office, but the base idea is sound. Make sure the space you create is mostly disconnected from the rest of your home (literally or figuratively) enough to allow you to really knuckle down and be productive. Add several touches of home to alleviate the soul draining effect offices tend to have but keep it professional at the same time.
Here at Sir Gordon Bennett, we believe that the home office is a room to take extra care in. If you take your time to make your home office a space you are happy in, your work will improve and so will your mindset. And after the last 2 years of chaos and confusion, we could all do with a little TLC.
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