As working from home is embraced as the new norm, the home office has become a much more permanent fixture in households across Australia. And, with that in mind, many of us are now coming to the realisation that the kitchen table simply won’t cut it anymore. But how should your home office look and, well… work?
Just as kitchen and bathroom designs vary based on the needs and lifestyle of the homeowner, the home office has no one-size-fits-all blueprint. Whether you’re after a flexible setup that offers double-duty balance or are leaning towards sprucing up a shed, Flexiworks, an intuitive platform that’s part of Officeworks, can help.
Designed to support the ‘new normal’ of hybrid working, it’s a hassle-free way of ensuring working-from-anywhere staff have access to the equipment they need to be as productive as possible (everything from chairs and desks to stationery and supplies), all while safeguarding their health and wellbeing too. With that in mind, here are five top home officedesign trends to inspire your next workspace update.
The latest buzzword in home office design is the ‘shoffice’. Just as the word suggests, it’s a shed that’s been transformed into a practical office. Usually a little more glamorous than it sounds, the shoffice is more likely to be found inside a prefabricated studio in the backyard or a repurposed granny flat than in a humble garden shed. Looking to create one of your own? You’ll need to ensure you have access to power, some natural light and insulated walls (or possibly even air conditioning, depending on where you live). Whether you’re starting from scratch or bringing in a pre-built structure, make sure you check planning permissions and requirements from your local council before construction.
In addition to good cross-ventilation, you’ll also need a solid WiFi connection beyond the house, so don’t forget an outdoor WiFi access point. To make sure your new shoffice workspace is kitted out with everything you need to get your job done, consider chatting to your employer about Flexiworks. Among other benefits, the platform allows companies to enable staff to efficiently set-up their work-from-anywhere set-up by having access to more than 40,000 Officeworks products and services, or a tailored catalogue of items instead. There’s also the option of a free virtual workspace assessment to make sure setups are as ergonomic and productive as possible. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure your shoffice has plenty of storage to keep everything in good working order!
Without the daily commute to and from the office, our incidental exercise drops dramatically. While this isn’t a big concern for the fitness fanatics among us, research suggests that the repetitive motions and awkward posture associated with sitting at a desk (or worse, on a sofa) all day can cause and inflame musculoskeletal disorders. It’s no wonder thousands of people are searching for the best exercises to do at your desk, driving the deskercise trend. Embrace it by introducing a stand-up desk into your home office, which makes it easier to factor in movement to your day. (You could talk to your employer about signing up for the Flexiworks self-service platform, which enables employees to choose office furniture and other work essentials, before having them conveniently delivered. And, since it’s all tracked in the handy employer dashboard, it does away with the need for corporate credit cards, expense claims or invoices.) In addition to alternating between sitting and standing, try scheduling in some time between meetings to stretch. Studies show intermittent stretching exercises can actually help reduce the pain associated with working on a computer all day. To help you keep moving, pre-set your phone, smartwatch or activity tracker, such as a Fitbit, to give you frequent reminders. Research suggests you should get up from your desk and move every 30 minutes.
If a global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the benefit of an agile and adaptable workspace. Whether you’re in a share-house situation, have children to chase after or have regular house guests, you might like to consider adopting the home office design trend of transformation. This may include a portable desk that can easily roll between rooms, or investing in a custom built-in workspace that can be closed off and hidden away with a sliding door. When choosing a home office chair, opt for something that's subtly stylish but still ticks the ergonomic boxes.The bonus to choosing one with castors that doesn’t shout corporate style is that it can fit in any room and be moved with ease. And, if you shop through Flexiworks, your new work essential can be delivered or made available for pickup at an Officeworks near you, so you can enjoy maximum comfort with minimal fuss.
Now that we’re spending so much time working from the home office, we’re starting to make a lot more effort to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing – and there’s nothing like a beautiful and inspiring space to help improve productivity and motivation. Trends such as ‘Japandi’ style (where Japanese design meets Scandinavian minimalism) is especially resonating with people looking to create a calm home office space. According to Pinterest's annual trend forecast, Pinterest Predicts, the number of people searching for ‘neutral colour palette earthy tones’ has tripled year on year, while there’s been a 100% increase in the number of searches for ‘Japandi’. Think sleek lines, neutral colour schemes and touches of timber, as well as savvy storage to clear the clutter.
Video conference calls are a daily part of working from home, and by now there’s a good chance you’re familiar with that last-minute rush to tidy up whatever is behind you before turning on your camera. Enter the bookcase; it’s a background trend you’ve likely already spotted that not only looks good but, for some, is even a chance to project expertise and personal brands. All it takes is some meticulously arranged books on a chic bookshelf behind your office chair and you’ll never again need to think about what meeting goers can see over your shoulder again. Invest in some slimline bookends to keep everything perfectly in place then select your most brag-worthy titles to make you completely camera-ready.