How to create a stylish and functional home office

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One of the most significant lifestyle changes and legacies that have emerged from the pandemic is that many more of us are now working from home – and researchers say this will continue well into the future.

Designers tell us that almost all customers are now asking for home offices in new construction and renovations (before COVID, not so much) and that the inclusion of an office increases a home’s resale value.

For Erin Morris, who runs the marketing agency Digital Youth and divides its time between a home office and an external office, a designated home workspace allows creativity and efficiency and creates a boundary between work and home.

“Having a room dedicated to that space really helps,” she says. “And whether it’s a door you walk through or a ritual, a physical change to mark the start of labor helps productivity and a feeling of being engaged in the job. “

For Erin Morris, a designated home workspace allows creativity and efficiency. Photo: Supplied

For Morris, this involves a morning and evening “daily walk” around the block to decompress and switch to work mode and out of work mode.

Morris has had a home office since 2017. His desk includes not only an ergonomic chair and desk, but also a comfortable armchair with a side table and floor cushion for reading or taking calls.

She says the key to a successful home workspace is creating different zones – not just in your home, but in the workspace itself – when you need to move on to a different kind of activity.

Keep track of expenses

Many of the items you purchase for your home workspace can be claimed at tax time, including items like stationery, electronics, and furniture. As a small business owner, Morris’s advice is to use accounting software like Xero to capture and track all your expenses. It also fits perfectly with its “paperless” approach to the office.

“We’re a paperless business, so using Xero, a cloud-based accounting platform, means I don’t have to keep receipts all over my desk which gives me so much joy, ”she said.

“I used to use a different system [where I would] take the receipts home, photograph them and mail them to my accountant, then file them somewhere. Now I literally take a receipt and it goes straight into Xero.

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Morris’s comfy chair and cushion helps create different zones in his home office. Photo: Supplied

Embrace color and nature

In terms of home-office trends, interior stylist Emma Blomfield says the shift from all-white spaces is now continuing to home workspaces – people want workspaces that feel inviting and not so sterile.

“A good way to do this is to use color,” says Blomfield. “Lots of terracotta colors, citrus colors like oranges and yellows, variations of sand, beige and taupe, and warmer grays.”

For Caitlin Marshall of Project 5 Interior Design, natural wood, greenery and lamps are essential for “warming” a home office.

“I also like to introduce an oil burner just to have some [scents] passes and a quiet space, ”she said. “A little music, a little fresh air and natural light. Working under artificial light, personally, I have a really hard time with it.

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Splashes of color and natural lighting help create an energizing space. Photo: Supplied

Morris says having windows in her office keeps her energized and inspired, and it’s good for the health of her eyes.

“There are two windows in the room I work in and I often change the position of the desk to be in front of a different window if I want a different view,” she says. “My optometrist actually told me that you should look up from your work and watch a long distance… every hour to give your eyes a little break from being so focused. “

Think about ergonomics and acoustics

On that note, it is extremely important to consider ergonomics when setting up your home office. While investing in ergonomic rooms might seem boring, there’s nothing fun about gaining a stiff neck and shoulders in an aesthetic but uncomfortable workspace.

“You know the old saying, form over function or function over form? Marshall said. “For something that you sit in for eight hours, I would definitely recommend spending the money on a chair.”

Morris says she got an ergonomic computer monitor, laptop stand, mouse, and cables for around $ 500.

Besides nailing down aesthetics, Marshall and Blomfield both emphasize the importance of acoustics. Marshall is a huge fan of installing acoustic panels behind the computer to absorb sound, especially since many of his clients share their home workspace with partners or children.

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Upholstery fabrics can help absorb sound for shared workspaces. Photo: Joe Cheng

Blomfield uses upholstery fabrics for this purpose.

“I have hardwood floors and put a really big rug because I’m on the phone a lot or doing webinars and talking in front of a camera, so it has to be something that absorbs sound because Most of the furniture you put in a home office is a hard surface, ”she says.

Ultimately, your work from home setup should feel right and perform in a way that works for you because, as Blomfield says, “we’ll probably be working a lot more from home than before.”

This article is brought to you by Xero, an online accounting software that helps small business owners and their advisors access real-time financial data, anytime, anywhere.


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