Updated: Mar 30
I don't think any of us could have predicted just how crazy/weird/scary/ [INSERT WORD HERE] 2020 would be. I hate to remind you, but we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Here in the UK, Boris has declared lockdown. Going to the shops feels like we are risking our lives whilst starring in a zombie movie. Nothing quite feels real. The world as we know it has changed, at least, we hope, in the short term.
So many of us have to risk our lives to go to work, and the gratitude and protection we give to the key workers is beyond words. We fear for ourselves, our families, our friends, even strangers. We are all too aware of the vulnerable and of course those unfortunate enough to have been stricken by this Coronavirus. We are all affected; all in the same anxious boat. The key is to Stay At Home.
Not everyone is lucky enough to stay at home. Not everyone is in the fortunate position to also be employed whist working from home. So many self-employed workers are selflessly staying at home with no income because their work revolves around leaving the house. Many of us have children to look after whilst working. These are only a few of the frustrating scenarios that have changed so many lives.
But whilst so many businesses are rethinking their business models, we too must adapt the home we live in to accommodate this new discipline, that is, working from home. Moving on from the minefield of distractions that working from home brings, let's explore the positive changes that we can make to our home decor to make this transition that little bit easier. Sometimes it's not as straight forward as shutting yourself away in another room - we do not all have this luxury of space or privacy. We have to work with what we have and adapt where necessary and achievable.
So to help give you a few ideas, British Home Design has partnered with Made.com to look closer at a selection of desks that you can purchase direct to your UK door and create the home office of your dreams. Even if you're tight for cash in these hard times, this article looks to provide you with some ideas so that you can work with what you currently have.
Your home will without out a doubt come with its limitations and impracticalities - it is not an office - it is your home. You need to find a way to make your new workspace work with your existing set up. Think about existing space. Think about existing decor. If you don't know where to start, British Home Design wants to help! First things first; all good workspaces start with the DESK.
TASK No.1 // FIND THE MOST IDEAL 'WORKING' ROOM IN YOUR HOME
If you are lucky enough to have a laptop, working at the dining table may be a good short term solution. But don't forget about your paperwork trays, files and stationary. It's hard to be efficient if your workplace is scattered around your house, working at the table and then walking up and down the stairs to visit the printer or access a bookshelf. Try and find a single place to make your own where possible, and if you have a family, you will all thank each other for this in the long term.
Try to avoid working from a location where your posture will take a hit. Working from your bed, or hunching over a coffee table will cause trouble for your body, and it is more important than ever to stay healthy at this time.
So, to summarise, try and set up somewhere where you can 1) sit up straight, 2) escape from distraction in order to focus and lastly 3) work efficiently, with everything you need at your disposal.
TASK No.2 // FIND AN OPTIMAL POSITION IN THIS ROOM
Now we have identified the ideal location for your home work set-up, lets think about the room itself and what this has to offer you. Only you know the pros and cons of this space - maybe your only option is to work in the bedroom, with a massive bed tempting you to take a cheeky afternoon siesta, and only the edges of the room being the workable places to set-up. Assess these potential 'gaps' from which you can work- maybe you have an alcove, a corner, or a whole wall at your disposal. Measure this area and think about what furniture you can upcycle to fit in this space.
However, if DIY/carpentry/crafts is not your thing, (or you're not convinced that stacking a few cardboard boxes and throwing a table cloth over it will provide the structurally sound set-up you require), or you don't have the required spare chest of draws to reimagine into a stunning desk, your only option may be to splash the cash, start a-fresh and use this global crisis as a pretty epic excuse to finally create the study of your dreams.
TASK No.3 // CHOOSE YOUR FURNITURE (GO VIRTUAL SHOPPING!*YAY*)
Now that you have a spatial idea of your new work location, its time to shop! I want to present to you 5 desk options as a starting point. We will explore the conventional - and the unconventional. We will look at a variety of trends, from mid-century to industrial. We will look at desks of all shapes and sizes.
So, let's have some fun, distract your mind, and swoon over beautiful furniture!
TIP No.1// DON'T DISREGARD THE DRESSING TABLE...
Let's start by exploring a piece of furniture that you may already have in your own home which can easily be repurposed - the Dressing Table. Equally, you may not have a spare dressing table lying about (or that you're willing to sacrifice when you have this perfect excuse to buy a brand spanking new one) so needs must, convince your co-habitees *and yourself* that you must buy the table, immediately.
TIP No.2// RE-IMAGINE YOUR BEDROOM LAYOUT...
A solid headboard could be used as a room 'divider' to create separate zones within a single room. Depending on the space you have, this could prove a creative solution where the bedroom is your only workplace option. A console table is a fantastic piece of furniture for this use, low enough to be concealed behind the headboard, and with the headboard tall enough to provide a solid edge to prop work-stuff up against if you don't have space around the edges of the room.
TIP No.3// BE CREATIVE WITH WALL SPACE..
When I refer to being creative, I mean, think outside the box - most desks go up against the wall, but a desk doesn't have to look like a desk. Once this whole lockdown has blown over, the study may prove a reminding scar of tough times. This is an opportunity to invest in a piece of furniture that is flexible to be psychologically packed away when you re-emerge back into your normal workplace.
This ladder shelf can be converted to become a normal casual desk station, or even a handy place to put your landline phone and a few houseplants when we all go back to normal.
Equally, another fantastic temporary workstation is this wall desk which can be easily shut away. A perfect solution where you don't have much available space and also don't have a huge amount of work-related equipment. Come 5:30pm you can just shut your draw and resume again tomorrow! Ideal for mentally separating where you cannot physically separate.
TIP No.4// CHOOSE 'FLEXIBLE' FURNITURE...
This is no ordinary desk - it pulls out to provide more surface space, enabling it to be niftily tucked away when not in use. British Home Design rates this pretty damn smart! Don't believe us? Check out the product video on made.com here.
TIP No.5// FORM A DEDICATED "WORKING WALL"...
Not everyone has the luxury of space to create a dedicated study, however, you may be lucky enough to have a spare wall to devote purely to your work. This will revolutionise the way you work from home and is the ultimate set up. As expressed earlier, this way you can position everything you use to assist your work all in one place, maximising your efficiency. The beauty of the look below, is that, not only is it a strong industrial look which works with a number of existing decor styles, but the shelving units are customisable to configure as required to suit your space. Modular furniture is such practical trend for 2020, and it may be now, in the wake of a crisis that we fully embrace the really useful and sensible side of home decor that these newly emerging trends have to offer.
A crisis allows us to adapt. To re-evaluate. To step back. To renew.
As hurtful and frustrating as Covid-19 is, we can use this as an opportunity to make small positive changes to our lives. Time to reflect and to design a study area in our homes may be trivial given the situation, but for those of us who are now forced to work from home, this is an opportunity to get creative in improving our homes, as well as the way we approach our work/life balance. Let us practice healthy living in both mind and body, because right now, your home is your haven of safety. A reminder that you are lucky, very lucky indeed.
Stay healthy and happy, UK!