The concept of working from home is not a new one. However, the concept of working from home on a permanent, or permanent part time basis is a relatively new thing. There was once a time where working from home meant a laptop on the couch or the dining room table, usually when you were, maybe a little under the weather, or catching up on unfinished work from the day. This was usually an intermittent occurrence and therefor not necessary to design for.
With the advent of Covid-19, and the technological advancements that have allowed us to do so, the concept of working from home has changed for many. Many sole practitioners have made the decision to base themselves from home and many larger organisations now have established protocols in place encouraging working from home practices. This is having some effect on commercial tenancies and businesses realise that in many cases staff all gathering in the one office is no longer necessary.
What is becoming necessary however, is a focus on ensuring that home work environments are suitable for employees to safely conduct their role. Employers still have duties to ensure the health and safety of their workers in their work environment wherever that may be.
Most safety recommendations tend to focus on ensuring a safe ergonomic setup for computer based work and appropriate lighting levels. What needs to be considered in a safe and healthy working environment should go far beyond this. This is where good design has a huge part to play.
Working from home spaces have become longer term spaces and due to this many things need to be considered. These include the basic ergonomic setup issues, lighting levels, storage capacity, access to natural light, acoustic separation from the family areas of the home, surface colours and finishes, possible planting inclusions and ultimately size.
Design attention to a home office should be considered to the same level other important spaces in the home are. It should no longer be a desk in the corner of the room, or an unused dark room in the basement. If it is its lifespan will be short and work enjoyment levels will be very low.
In the case of this project we have positioned the home office at the front of the dwelling. The size is consistent with the needs of the user. The room affords good natural light and surveillance of the street. Being close to the front door clients can come and go without having to enter the rest of the home. The space is separately heated and cooled from the remainder of the home and can be locked from the inside and out ensuring security. In other words, it has been considered fully for the function it needs to serve. Not just a desk in the corner of the room :).
Image to the left with base framing in ready for steel install next week.