Scandinavian homes are stylish and famous for their less-is-more aesthetic, but what we value above style is comfort.
And comfort means a place to relax in our heads – to chill and do whatever we want to or whatever we have to do.
- The Kitchen Table as Office
- Creating the Personalised Work Space
- Furniture: how to get comfortable
- The Sit Bone Cushion
- The Ingatorp Extendable Table
- Does Working from Home Work for You?
Flexibitily and versatility are key – our home is where we relax, entertain, hygge…and, as is increasingly the case, Work!
But that doesn’t mean we have a room (or a floor, or a wing) for each activity – what it does mean is the space is versatile and multi-purpose.
What does that mean? It means 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 to spend more time with the family and in their own environment, each piece of furniture serves different purposes.
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 – and 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 with the thought of sticking a few plates and candles on top.
The dining table has to work and look the part with a laptop too, be the creative space, 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 as on the 17th floor of a glass building.
How times have changed, not least with the internet and emphasis on ‘from the ground up’ style of leadership.
So how do you create the perfect live/work space?
Creating a Personalised Work Space – How to Transform Your Home
Before setting up Working From Home Inc. or simply taking your laptop home with you from the office 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 and certainly not in the long run. And it’s not an aesthetically pleaseing experience – and does it help you produce your best work?
We think not. Our work from home space has to please ourselves, be welcoming to colleagues or 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 you prepare:
- Are you starting from scratch with an empty space? If Yes, you can plan each room and each piece of furniture accordingly.
- Is your home already fully furnished but now needs function as your work space too? If Yes, you get to play with the layout and transform the space into a multi-functional environment.
- Is your working from home space just for you or will you have colleagues or clients occasionally joining? A Yes or No may have two different outcomes, but a Scandi would be inclined to treat a Yes and No the same and create a functional and aesthetically pleasing environment all the same. Here you may also have to look at your insurance policy if you have employees join you, but that is a legal matter rather than design – important though.
- What’s the connectivity – broadband situation? If you’re producing physical products, how accessible is the workspace?
- Is your home on brand? This depends on how much of a perfectionist you are…how Scandi you are… When inviting in clients or prospective clients, what does your work-from-home space tell them about your business or service?
- Does your home (because it’s still your home even if you work there as well) does it inspire you in your work? The setting, the color scheme, the bits and pieces on the walls and on shelves?
Furniture: Top Tips on How to Get Comfortable Working from Home
Working from home sounds like everybody’s dream, but it’s not as easy as that.
Self-discipline, health & safety, inspiration, legalities, connectivity…those are the most important things to consider when moving from the office to the ‘home office’.
Here we have a few thoughts on the most fun as well as critical challenges you’ll face:
- ==> Your chair: How does it integrate with the decor – and how comfortable is it to use for hours a day in front of your computer? A ‘homey’ chair may not be comfortable or healthy to sit in for hours at a time, 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. In fact, 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:
- ==> The table – enormously important, as it is to function as both dining/kitchen table and office desk. We’ve already made the mistake of turning a home into an office by buying office furniture for the home…doesn’t work. The dining/kitchen table’s main function is to help create a home, but to pick a table that is hybrid and serves all puroses is key – and possible. 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-assembley (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.
- 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 you pulling your hair out over slow computer.
- Printer? Printers are thankfully getting smaller, lighter and cheaper but they used to take up huge space. Today few people need a printer but those working with power points and presentations do. As they too work on remote control let it print your pages out of sight in a cupboard.
- Accessories: this is a challenge…how to keep pens and pads and bits of paper from taking over your carefully curated home. Indeed, we didn’t say it was easy and all bliss working from home. Discipline is required and be mindful of excuses…create another space out of sight, by the printer, where it is easy to store pens and pads and other office material when not in use. Accessories can become a distraction and excuses to not work…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 create 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 (no excuse if it’s kitchen tools…there are super smart kitchen tools on the market these days) 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 business hierarchy you exist, this is where you can turbocharge your career. No office politics, no interruptions if you don’t let them, 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, the change in 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 through redundancy, restructuring, sickness or being re-located due to epidemics such as the coronavirus which has caused – apart from many lives – economic mayhem for many businesses and families.
It is difficult to see thorough such events but as many are being forced to stay at home.
It shows how important the home is to all of us and amid the loss therein lies the opportunity to create a personalised workspace and make a new or just a fresher start.