Scandinavian homes are stylish and famous for their less-is-more aesthetic. But what we value above style is comfort. Comfort means a place to relax in our homes as well as in our lives – somewhere to chill and do whatever we want to or whatever we have to do. Flexibitily and versatility are key – our home is where we relax, entertain, hygge…and, as is increasingly the case, Work!
It means the space we have – our home – becomes versatile and multi-purpose. Much thought goes into creating a home, with every piece serving a number of functions. As more people chose to work from home or are forced to for personal or financial reasons, redundancy, illness or simply to spend more time with the family, each piece of furniture serves different purposes.
Work from Home Ideas
Scandinavian countries have produced world class designers and architects in the last 100 years. Think Arne Jacobsen and his Egg Chair and Jørn Utzon who designed the Sydney Opera House – their creations always serve many purposes…functional, decorative and social.
And so it is with the Scandi home: Scandis don’t simply buy a dining table for dining purposes. The dining table has to work and look the part with a laptop on top too. It has to support the creative space and become the modern day answer to the ‘kitchen table’ from where so many start-up businesses have taken flight.
Picture by Agnieszca Boeske
The days when you needed to rent space in an office block with a landline to be accepted in the business community are over. The 2020 style board meeting is just as likely to be held at the kitchen or dining table in the CEO’s home (small and start-ups) as on the 17th floor of a glass building. The internet has shaken up old received ideas of the business world and helped create the ‘from the ground up’ style of leadership. So how do you create the perfect live/work space at home?
Creating a Personalised Work Space – How to Transform Your Home
Before setting up Working From Home Inc. there are some questions you may want to ask yourself to help you create the right environment. How tempting it is to just switch on the computer and crash on the sofa, in our dressing gown, with a cup of tea and play ‘working from home’ for a couple of hours. It rarely works in the long run. It’s not an aesthetically pleaseing experience or motivating.
Work from home space has to please ourselves, be welcoming to colleagues and clients, be safe, as much on brand as possible (more of which later) and comfortable. Whether your work is computer based or physical – ie a workshop with instruments, clay or something else which can be messy and in which case you may need an extra, separate room – here are some questions to ask yourself to help prepare:
- Am I starting from scratch with an empty space? If Yes, plan each room and each piece of furniture accordingly.
- Is my home already fully furnished but now needs to function as work space too? If Yes, play with the layout and transform the space into a multi-functional environment.
- Is my working from home space just for me or will I have colleagues or clients joining occasionally? A Scandi would be inclined to treat both answers the same and create a functional and aesthetically pleasing environment. Insurance policies may be relevant if employees are joining, although that is a legal matter rather than design – important, however.
- What’s the connectivity – broadband situation? If the work is a physical product, how accessible is the workspace for myself and suppliers?
- Is my home on brand? Does it need to be? What does my work-from-home space tell people about my business or service?
- Does my home inspire me in my work? The setting, the color scheme, the bits and pieces on the walls and on the shelves?
Furniture: Top Tips on How to Get Comfortable Working from Home
Working from home sounds like everybody’s dream. Yet there are also serious things to consider, some mentioned above: Self-discipline, health & safety, inspiration, legalities, connectivity… Here we have a few thoughts on the most fun as well as critical challenges:
- ==> Your chair: How does it integrate with the decor – and how comfortable is it to use for several hours a day in front of your computer? A ‘homey’ chair may not be comfortable or healthy to sit in for long hours, but an ergonomic chair doesn’t look fabulous at home either. Getting up every twenty minutes to stretch your legs or make a cup of tea as you’re mid-flow defeats the object of working at home. Sitting for a long time can hurt the bottom, particularly the sit bone but you can make it comfortable with the help of cushions that support the hamstring or sit bones. We have two such cushions which have revolutionised the time spent writing and working at our dining table. Check the sit bone cushion on Amazon here – or similar cushions below:
Sitting Comfortably: Six Lockdown Lifesaver Cushions
Doctor designed support cushion for back and bottom - 5-year warranty. Quite firm to sit on compared to others cushions. Machine-washable cover.
Cushions under £30 | $42
Added softness and comfort while lifting the hips up on the seat - also with memory foam, protecting the sit bone from pressure in front of the computer.
Cushions under £30 | $42
Two holes to relieve pressure on lower part of the hip bone, the hamstring, buttocks and waist. Ergonomic contour and a pretty pink.
Cushions under £20 | $28
Enhanced memory foam, this wedge cushion will contour to the body's pressure points to support and help alleviate pain.
Cushions under £20 | $28
- ==> The table – enormously important, as it is to function as both dining/kitchen table and office desk. The dining/kitchen table’s main function is to help create a home, but it is possible to have a table that serves both purposes: home and business. The Scandi solution is to get something minimal which transforms easily from a work surface into a dining table. Our own solution? Ikea, naturally…check out their white Ingatorp extendable table – super solid, sturdy, heavy, self-assembly (easy) and extendable (also easy):
- Chair and desk/table are the most important factors for comfort and health reasons and productivity.
- Other key factors include the computer. Laptops are as good as desktops these days and far more practical for obvious reasons. Help transfer your home into an office in a second and vice versa. Consider posture.
- Internet connection – there’s a great choice to suit all budgets, but the fastest (and most expensive) connection possible in your area is recommended…saves frustrations over slow computer.
- Printer? Printers are thankfully getting smaller, lighter and cheaper – and less important as we go paperless. But if needed, hide it in a cupboard. No unsightly wires needed anymore.
- Accessories: this is a challenge…how to keep pens and pads and bits of paper from taking over your carefully curated home – and remind you of work 24/7. Here’s a brilliant article in the Daily Mail on how NOT to work from home.
- Decor: This is where the fun begins. Let your creative juices flow and build the perfect work from home environment – the best of both worlds. What inspires you, what gets you going in the morning. What pictures on the wall, what plants, books on the shelves and photo frames inspire you? This is the branding section where, no matter how small your company or how far down the corporate ladder you exist, this is where you can turbo-charge your career. No office politics, no interruptions, nothing to stop you.
Picture by Emma Matthews
Why Staying at Home doesn’t work for Everybody
It just doesn’t…we’re all different and some people prefer the interaction with colleagues and the change of scenery that work away from home offers. And the perks including subsidised staff canteen, IT help on tap and much more.
Work from Home due to Redundancies, Illness or Relocation caused by Coronavirus
Sometimes we don’t have a choice and are forced to decamp either thorugh redundancy, restructuring, sickness or being re-located due to epidemics / pandemics such as the coronavirus which has caused – apart from many lives – economic mayhem for businesses and families. It shows how important the home is to all of us. But amid the turmoil lies also opportunity to create a personalised workspace and make a new start.