Between the overwhelming popularity of remote working among Irish workers and new options offered by the Irish government to request the right to work remotely, it’s safe to say home offices are about to get a lot of attention.
At Nesta, we’re experts at using space wisely. Here are our best small home office ideas for creating balance and boosting productivity.
Find a Space that Sets You Apart
When working from home long term, you’ll benefit from finding a balance between your work life and home life. Part of that balance includes creating a physical workspace, wherever you can.
The joy of having a dedicated workspace is creating the illusion that you’re going somewhere, which will help you switch on and off. Here are some small home office ideas that will help you trick yourself into productivity.
Find an Awkward, Underused Space
A great home office design in a small house, flat, or flat-share? Impossible, you think.
It’s not! Every home has a little bit of space that goes unused. Very often, these spaces include:
- Next to or underneath stairs
- Under a window
- Behind the sofa
These spaces are ripe for small home offices because they make use of available space without eating into your living areas.
Slimline furniture (narrow desks, etc.) are perfect for these areas because it gives you room to work without jutting out into a more high traffic area.
Open Up a Closet
We know what you’re going to say. “You’ve been on Pinterest again,” and you’d be right. We have. But a closet-turned-office is one of the internet’s most genius home office design ideas, and you might be shocked at just how well this concept works.
By taking the door off a closet (or not) and setting up a table inside, you create a whole area for you to focus that isn’t a space you’d normally want to use for relaxing or socialising.
If you can leave the door on the closet, do it! It leans into the sense of “going somewhere” and allows you to literally shut the door at the end of your workday.
Is closet space valuable? We understand, but Nesta makes it easy to clear out a closet without getting rid of stuff. (Hint: it’s a storage space.)
Use a Slimline Desk and Small Space Furniture
The problem with setting up an office in a small house is this: when you have little space to work with, conventional furniture doesn’t cut it.
So if the kitchen table isn’t working for you and you have a free wall, go for small space furniture, like a slimline desk.
Slimline desks are narrow pieces of furniture that you can set up against a wall (or a sofa) without losing valuable floor space.
You can set them up in a hall, in a living room, in a bedroom, or anywhere else that makes sense in your home.
Use Desk Storage to Declutter and Stay Focused
Pencils down. It’s 5 o’clock. And you feel like you have so much left to do. Take a step back from your desk and what do you see?
If you see papers, pens, extra books, the post, your daily Amazon delivery, and three abandoned cups of tea, then it’s no wonder you feel your productivity suffering. Studies find that increased clutter leads to increased cortisol, the stress hormone. (The same applies to the rest of your home, too.)
It’s important to give yourself space to breathe and think. And clutter gets in the way. Some tips for managing clutter include:
- Keeping only essentials on your desk
- Create some home office storage systems to keep physical files somewhere out of sight
- Use an outbox to manage papers you need at hand right now
Setting up a home filing system can work wonders for your cortisol, productivity, and even your finances.
Oh, and take your mugs back to the kitchen. You’re an adult now!
Tip: Are you swamped by post-it notes and to-do lists? Why not go digital, declutter, and get the endorphin hit of checking “done” with task managers like To-Doist or Asana.
Sit, Kneel, or Stand to Support Your Back
The right home office furniture won’t just boost your productivity; it will improve your health. And because the possibility of remote working will soon become a right for Irish workers, now is the time to dive into all your other options for work: sitting, kneeling, and standing.
Standing desks, stools, and ergonomic chairs also have the benefit of being very good for your back. When your body feels good, it’s easier to focus on your tasks. Plus, giving yourself options helps you lean into the idea of ‘traveling’ and creates space between your home and work life.
Tip: Chat to your employer about your budget for a home office set-up, if you haven’t already. They may be ready to invest in some office furniture beyond the kitchen table.
Create a Break Space
When you hit a productivity wall in the office, you’d hit the canteen for a cuppa and a Belvita (or whatever else is floating around the cupboards). At home, there’s no canteen. There is only work and endless opportunity for distraction.
So as you reconfigure your home working space, think about creating your home ‘canteen’; a space where you can switch off for a while without finding yourself tempted to keep up with the Kardashians during work hours.
Some ideas might be:
- Set up a chair in the living room with magazines, a book, and some snacks
- Get a deck chair and stick it outside with a crossword puzzle book to make the most of the good weather
- Create a yoga corner for 15 minutes of stretching during a break (with your mat and water already set up)
Either way, get up and get out of your workspace. And if you can, leave your phone behind!
Home office productivity is possible, but you have to put yourself at the centre of your home working experience. Giving yourself space to think, move, and relax will make all the difference when managing deadlines and finding a better work/life balance.
Do you need more space to work, move, and live? Nesta can give you a hand. Our storage units give you space to clear out your cupboards so you can find your new rhythm at home.