June 1, 2023


Creative living

How to make sure your home office is working for you

3 min read

Due to coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, UK homes have been transformed into offices, school classrooms, and in some cases, pubs.

But can you really finish that project due on Monday afternoon, on the same sofa you finished off a bottle of prosecco the night before?

Caroline Cobbold, a member of the British Institute for Interior Design and an art and set director for more than 30 years, explains how to keep your workspace functional and separate from your living space.

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A woman using a laptop on a dining room table set up as a remote office (Joe Giddens/PA)

– Use a separate room where possible

Dedicating one room, of any size, to an office space will be hugely beneficial to your motivation, rather than curling up with a laptop on the sofa.

Ms Cobbold said: “I know what living and working in the same space is and how important it is to be able to have a room that you can close off and call an office.”

She added discipline goes hand in hand with space, so simply getting showered and dressed can have a huge impact on your success.

She said: “For me I just have to get up and make that change, I can’t bear wearing slippers in the day, it makes me feel like I haven’t gotten up properly.

“It is quite good for some people to say ‘I have gone to the office or come back from the office’, which means they have been to the room that is dedicated solely for work.”

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– Make a change

Being stuck within the same four walls is something the nation has had to become familiar with, but Ms Cobbold said even minor changes can be a huge boost for your mindset.

She said: “From being at home, you notice the things that irritate you, the things that get on top of you in your house.

“People need change. A change of any kind is really quite good; a cathartic thing is to do up your house or give it a makeover.”

Ms Cobbold added: “Having little tweaks and changing things around, and making it a place where you feel comfortable, and peaceful, whether that is with paint or by changing some around.”

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– Clean up

Ms Cobbold explained how important is to keep your workspace clean and tidy, especially while the children are home from school.

She said: “Sometimes people want an interior decorator to come in, when actually what they really need is just for someone to clear up.”

This is especially important if you do not have your own space for an office, or if you are sharing the space with someone else.

Dedicating a small amount of time per week to ensuring clutter stays at a minimum will optimise any space you do have.

– Fill the space correctly

A home office does not have to be confined to one purpose, it can be used as a storage room or a make-shift library.

“Even if it is a small room, if you can dedicate it to an office you can really utilise the space by making it so shelved out with book-cases all around, and a desk built in, that you don’t really need much floor space as such.” Ms Cobbold said.

“Rather than to try to keep it as an open room, sometimes it works to actually close it down and make storage.”

This will help to keep the entire house decluttered and will ensure that your office stays functional.

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– Utilise your shed

For many the garden shed is only used to store old bikes and guitars that have never been played, but now is the time to change that, or to buy a new one entirely, to create a “rustic” home office, provided you have an extension lead.

Ms Cobbold said: “Well the other thing you can do is get one of these quite amazing garden sheds that you can buy, of different costs.

“You could spend quite a lot of money, but you can also do them with these quite simple potting sheds, you can choose the interiors, doors and windows.”