JOURNAL

Working From Home- The Ultimate Guide to Home Offices

BY STUDIO SUSS | Mar 2021

The home office is here to stay, and many of us are seeing the benefits of flexible working. We’ve gone from in-person meetings to Zoom, and the busy morning commute to a trip down the stairs.

While permanent working from home is the new future for some, I know I will be switching it up between my studio and my remote work set-up. So, now’s the time to ditch the kitchen table and gift yourself a proper home office. You’ve certainly earned it.

I’ve delved into how the home office has evolved, how to make yours personal – and how we can design home offices remotely and sustainably from, well, our own home offices.

The home office: March 2020 vs Now

Until 2020, working remotely was only seen as an option for some. Employers were offering WFH as a benefit to hire talent – while for employees, it was something you could do after a dentist appointment.

Then came Covid, and 2020 was a scramble of people trying to work every day from an environment that wasn’t ready. There wasn’t much thought put into how productively and pleasantly we could work remotely because there wasn’t the time – it was “right, where can I put a computer?” and “how can I still manage emails, deadlines and meetings while teaching my kids?”.

2020 was about making do. But fast-forward to 2021, and what was uncertainty and makeshift, can become the setup of a considered, productive and efficient space.

We now have the chance to make our WFH experience better – deciding how and where we feel comfortable, and making our space meet our new needs. Do I use multiple screens? Yes. Do I have them set up right now? No. So where’s the perfect spot?

 

Kings Cross,N1C, Plimsoll Building, office area

The home office as a place of wellbeing – 4 essential elements

When remote working it’s not just the no commute that we can enjoy. Your home office, done well, can have immense benefits for your mental health and wellbeing.

Here are four things we always include at Studio Suss, when designing an office space:

  • Natural light

Natural light is fundamental – it’s good for your circadian rhythm, enabling healthy sleep patterns and managing your mental health. And a beautiful view – even the sky – gives your creative brain a boost. I often look out into the sky to find my ideas. A bit of blue-sky thinking.

  • Good ergonomics

Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself on a Zoom call for two hours and unable to run away. So you have to be comfortable – which means a good chair, at the right height, with supportive back and arms, and a screen at the right distance.

  • Soft acoustics

With everyone in the house and kids homeschooling, it can be a pretty noisy place to work. In this case, doors are essential. Failing that, noise-cancelling headphones. Something we also advise is to add soft furnishings to take away echoes and soften the noise in the room.

  • Access to essentials

It’s easy to have things scattered all over the place, so knowing what you need for your day is key. For me, it’s my laptop, sketchbook, planner, phone and water. Wherever I am, they’re with me. Choose the items you can’t work without and create a little portable package so that you’re never without them.

A desk in a luxury designed interior home offce

The home office as a reflection of you

When someone asks me to design their home office, we go on a fact-finding mission – asking about them, their lives, their work, their loves. Your home office is not just your workplace, but also a reflection of you. How your space looks and feels is your personal brand; the business card of the modern day.

Once we know their passion, we incorporate it into the design. If they own a business, we can involve their product, service or branding in their surroundings.

We find out if the client’s office is dual-purpose or dedicated solely to work, if they like to stand while working or move around the space, and if the working area is wedged between two rooms or a room in its own right.

Then aesthetics – if they’re not interiors-savvy and don’t know what era or design style they like, they can point to something in popular culture that represents their tastes. We designed an office for someone who loved the mid-century style of Mad Men. Another client was a film director so his office included a screening room. It’s critical for your home office to be full of what motivates and inspires you.

Then comes the practicality. Desk facing inwards or outwards? Windows in front or behind? How can we get electrics through the floor? Functionality is the most important thing, so the experience of entering and working in the office needs to be seamless. The practical things you don’t interact with must be invisible.

The home office as a reflection of you

When someone asks me to design their home office, we go on a fact-finding mission – asking about them, their lives, their work, their loves. Your home office is not just your workplace, but also a reflection of you. How your space looks and feels is your personal brand; the business card of the modern day.

Once we know their passion, we incorporate it into the design. If they own a business, we can involve their product, service or branding in their surroundings.

We find out if the client’s office is dual-purpose or dedicated solely to work, if they like to stand while working or move around the space, and if the working area is wedged between two rooms or a room in its own right.

Then aesthetics – if they’re not interiors-savvy and don’t know what era or design style they like, they can point to something in popular culture that represents their tastes. We designed an office for someone who loved the mid-century style of Mad Men. Another client was a film director so his office included a screening room. It’s critical for your home office to be full of what motivates and inspires you.

Then comes the practicality. Desk facing inwards or outwards? Windows in front or behind? How can we get electrics through the floor? Functionality is the most important thing, so the experience of entering and working in the office needs to be seamless. The practical things you don’t interact with must be invisible.

The home office, remote and sustainable – 3 simple steps

Our design process in 3 steps

  1. Create a floorplan
    This can be done remotely. All you need is a tape measure! At Studio Suss, we’ve designed lots of spaces remotely during Covid, and the tape measure has been a saviour. This makes it easy to design the floorplan, to see where the desk would go, lighting, storage and all the rest.
  2. Explore materials and palettes, and send a sample board
    Sending pictures over the phone – computer resolution means the client could see a different colour. So once we’ve chosen tones and textures, we send them to clients on a sample board. Touching the materials helps you picture your space coming to life.
  3. Select furniture designs and place the order
    We explore the options, talk through the sample board, and then place the order!
Making it sustainable in 3 steps

This whole process happens with sustainability not just “in mind” but at the fore. At Studio Suss, we design for people but also for the planet, opting for sustainable designs and brands who care about their environmental impact, while never having to compromise on functionality or aesthetic.

  1. Reuse
    Sustainability means not creating more but making use of what we have. If you have an old chair, give it new life. Reupholster it! Alternatively, choose already recycled pieces.
  2. Know the supply chain
    Find out where the materials come from, and if they’re created sustainably – is the timber from sustainably managed forests? Is the supplier committed to ethical practices?
  3. Opt for quality and craft
    Quality lasts – so choose something expertly crafted over “fast furniture” if you’re in a financial position to do so. Cheaper furniture often doesn’t have the same level of craftsmanship, or the same natural, sturdy materials, so won’t last as long. And don’t forget – supporting artisans and craftspeople helps to sustain the art of furniture design.

A stylish chair and desk adorn a beautifully functional office space in luxury designed Hampstead family home interior

Once the pandemic is over, many of us may choose to continue WFH or split our time between there and the office. Now, is a good time to invest in your home office, whether that’s making it cosier, upcycling a chair or repositioning your desk to drink in some natural light.

For now, we’ll be in our home offices for a little while longer. So let’s make them work for us.

If you need help designing your space, do get in touch!

– Simone Suss

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