While many employers and employees already enjoyed the benefits of remote work, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit our shores that it became widespread.
Companies who had been dragging their feet were forced to ‘make do’ with staff working from home, and many found it worked surprisingly well. Employees are liking it too. One survey suggests that over 70 percent of workers don’t want to go back to the way things were.
So, it looks like the way we work could be changed forever. And if ‘working from home’ becomes standard, how can we prepare our homes to make better work environments? The Sentinel Homes team are in the business of creating homes that work for people’s lifestyles, so we’ve gathered together some of our best advice.
Studies show that working from home often means the line between work and private time can easily get blurred. It makes sense to establish some boundaries. That could be ring fencing the workday with some hard-and-fast rules around time, or make sure you put on work-appropriate clothes to get yourself set for the day. Having a separate, dedicated space is also crucial. This allows you to be fully focused on work, instead of working from the kitchen table amongst the distractions of unfinished laundry or demanding children. That will protect your family life too. With the office door shut you’ll find you can more easily leave work behind at the end of the day.
If you’re lucky enough to have an extra room in your house, claim it for your workspace. And if you’re planning to build your next home, it’s worth thinking about what space you’ll need to make remote working seamless. Your new home office should be positioned away from busy areas, and have good sound proofing - better for concentration, and those sensitive phone calls.
There’s one thing that offices do well – they’re well equipped. You’ll find power points where you need them, decent wifi and big screens to plug into. Printers will be up and running and you’ll have plentiful storage to keep those files tidied away, which is key for maintaining concentration! A trip to the hardware store for extension cords, multi-boxes and shelving can get you halfway there, but nothing will beat a purpose-built office. When planning your new home, you can have all those essentials included - from built-in storage and cupboards to super-handy USB ports.
The more comfortable you are, the more you can get done. And one of the benefits of working from home is being able to get everything just how you like it. Position your screen so you don’t get sun reflection and invest in a great chair, to give your back a break. Coffee lover? Home espresso machines are less expensive than you’d imagine – especially if you add up how much you might spend on flat whites from your local café! If you’re building, your home office can go a step further, with under floor or ducted heating systems keeping you warm, and a bathroom right nearby. Add a built-in desk and space for your coffee machine and you’ve got the perfect home working set up.
If you’re planning on taking remote working a step further, and meeting clients or suppliers at your home, you’ll need to establish a professional front. Consider getting branding or signage for a visitor’s entrance outside and think about what impression your guests will have entering your house. It’s a good idea to remove the more personal items from sight. Put kids’ toys somewhere else, keep laundry out of sight and ideally, have a separate entrance altogether – something you can consider when you’re planning your new build.
In a time of uncertainty, one thing’s clear, ‘working from home’ is here to stay. It benefits employers while giving employees more flexibility, time for family and a better chance to focus. Even if you’re only planning to work from home a few days a week your physical environment is more important than you think. Without a designated space that’s set up to support your productivity – and protect that precious family time – you’ll begin to find remote working more trouble than it’s worth.
If you’re not lucky enough to have that space in your home already, it might be time to consider building. That way you’ll plan your perfect work-home space right from the start and reap all the benefits of remote working, without any of the downside. Build your perfect working-from-home lifestyle with Sentinel Homes – get in touch with the team to have a chat about what can be done.
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