We’ve all heard about “the future of the modern workspace”, but it’s easy to forget we’re already living it. Our screens are becoming smaller, our machines are becoming more portable and today it’s possible to work anytime, anywhere. Home workspaces are one of the things that are becoming majorly more popular as a result, and it’s no wonder the Trade Union Congress estimates that as of June 2016, around 1.5m of us are regularly working from home. So how would you go about designing your own home workspace?
Whatever your environment, you’ll want cover. It’s fair to say that the weather in England can be unpredictable, especially at certain times of year, so you’re likely to benefit from either permanent cover or one that can be quickly deployed. Rain and snow are obviously weather elements you’ll want to protect against, but sunshine needs to be taken into account too. Reflective sunlight can make staring at a screen difficult at best, and a hazard at worst. Without getting too technical, essentially it’s a good idea to control how much light you expose your eyes to all at once, and bright sunlight coupled with a bright screen has the capacity to damage your vision. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Simple measures like an umbrella propped against your balustrade can help allay this, allowing you to work in comfort. Similarly, think about how you’ll light your space if it gets dark – a priority should always be preventing unnecessary strain on your eyes.
While we’re on the safety theme, care also needs to be taken with power sockets. If there are power sockets outside, these will also need to be covered against rain, snow and sleet, protecting you or your family from electrocution. It’s worth looking at how you’ll run wires around your workspace – having them strung along at ground level or hovering precariously across walkways is always a bad idea; known to cause impromptu unpluggings, or even laptops crashing to the floor. If they have to be on the floor, they’ll need to be covered and taped down at all times. The easiest thing to do is just minimise the distance between your socket and machine, if at all possible, and work from battery power whenever you can.
One of the other key things to consider is space, both from a safety and design perspective. Do you need privacy and seclusion? If your outside workspace is on the path to – or inside – your garden, you’ll need to account for other family members or pets. How can you make it safe for both them and your equipment? Is there a danger of any food, drink or other possible mess-making substances being carried into or through your workspace? It’s wisest to keep things in mind both when setting up the furniture in your workspace, as well as running wires around or through it. Setting up your desk against the adjoining corners of your balustrades can be an excellent solution, creating natural barriers to seal off your workspace, allowing you to use it in peace.
It’s not just about them though, but you. Safety aside, economy of movement is also something to consider. Have you got space to move around within your workspace, or to and from it? Does it look like anything could get knocked over? Essentially, have you got room to work? Desk space may well need to be another priority – even digital industries end up dealing with a lot of paperwork, and you’ll never regret having the room to organise your physical documents.
It’s also important to give yourself breathing room – a workspace that is too cramped can feel claustrophobic or uncomfortable, potentially affecting your productivity. Give yourself as much room as you can, which will help both your efficiency and your peace of mind.
We talked last week about how the decoration of a place can change its ‘feel’, subtly influencing our moods. Don’t be afraid to make your workspace your own – after all, you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Creatives and designers are often especially affected by their environment, and many find it difficult to be creative in dull, lifeless surroundings. Even if it’s just a few pictures on the wall, or one or two ornaments on your desk, you might be surprised at how much a few personal touches can improve your productivity. Of course, one of the benefits of the great outdoors is the potential for some more natural, interesting views than offices indoors. The views from over your balustrades might be naturally interesting places to put your desk. Try not to have too much going on at once though, or you might find it distracting.
These are just a few general suggestions. The setup and design of your workspace will be different depending on what you’ll be using it for, and almost no two will be the same. Just remember, it’s about what works for you.
You can click here to look at some of our bespoke balustrade designs for some inspiration. Or, if you need any advice or suggestions, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01254 825594 – we’re always here to help!
Published: 23rd December 2016