In case you hadn’t noticed, the labour market in the UK (and indeed the rest of the western world) is in the midst of a truly seismic evolution.
More specifically, a staggering 1.54 million people are now working from home as part of their main job, up from just 884,000 in 2008. Additionally, there are now more than two million freelancers active in the UK, with this number likely to grow exponentially in the next decade.
If you are going to work successfully from home, however, you’ll need to ensure that you create a viable office in your living space. Here are some steps that can help you to achieve this.
Maximize Floor Space and Optimize Your Wall Space
In most cases, space is likely to be at a premium in your home, so it’s important to create a functional home office that doesn’t compromise the overall layout of your interior.
This relies heavily on the intelligent use of floor and wall space, as you look to maximize the former and optimize the latter to avoid creating an overly cluttered home.
It’s absolutely imperative that you adopt a minimalist approach when selecting furniture – for example, whilst selecting fitted or fold-up chairs that fit economically into an existing space. You should also consider placing your desk in a discreet nook or corner of the home that’s unused, whether this is under the stairs or behind the sofa in the living room.
You should also invest in shelving to make the most of your wall space, whilst creating an organizational structure that makes your documents and paperwork easy to find.
Use Natural Light to Your Advantage
When working from home as a freelancer, talk to your accountant as you may be able to claim for the additional gas, electricity and lighting used as part of your work.
Whilst this provides an economic boost to most freelancers, however, it’s also prudent to minimize the use of lighting where possible and make the most of any natural illumination that engulfs your working space.
The combination of blinds and curtains can help in this respect, and you can use variable window coverings to allow as much (or as little) light into the space at any given time.
This approach should also inform your choice of the right curtains for your home, with blackout options offering some protection in instances where your screen starts to reflect the glare from the sun.
If you decide to go with blinds instead of curtains, you will similarly have a huge range of options to choose from, whatever your interior design aesthetic. For modern, hi-tech, steely interiors, metal blinds make an excellent choice, whereas blinds made from natural materials such as bamboo, wood or rattan give a softer, more rural feel for arty types working from home, whilst also complementing minimalist settings inspired by oriental interior designs.
Consider Your Tech Needs
Last, but not least, we come to the all-important consideration of your tech needs. After all, every contemporary home office needs connectivity and high levels of operational efficiency, particularly if you’re a freelancer who’s looking to work as productively as possible.
Beyond staples such as high-speed fibre broadband and a space for your laptop and computer, you’ll also need to pay attention to the smaller and easy to overlook details.
For example, you may need a carefully placed extension lead and a cable tidy if you’re going to operate multiple electronic devices simultaneously in your home office, as trailing wires can create an omnipresent trip hazard.
These practical details simply cannot be ignored, particularly if you’re to respect the safety of yourself and others who reside in your home.
As well as considering the simple advice above, you may also want to check out the plethora of interior design apps now available when planning your living room office layout. Many of these apps allow you to model various options for your specific space, without the need to commit until you’re 100% sure you have made the right choices.