It may seem counterintuitive for us, as commercial fitters and office refurbishment specialists, to support the idea of working from home but we’re operating in a new era that will see many of us split our time between an employer’s building and our own homes.

We’d like to share with you the workplace design knowledge we have built up over the past 20 years, hoping we can help you work more comfortably and productively at home. From simple fixes to advice on investment pieces and more structural plans, here’s MPL’s top 5 tips for a better home working environment:-

1. Aim for a clutter-free desk:  it’s easy for your desk to spiral out of control when working from home, with daily post, breakfast bowls and even toys gravitating to your workspace. This article from The Guardian reveals why Marie Kondo’s decluttering advice is more important than ever. Some of the points are simple – scan and shred to minimize paper, go digital when it comes to bills and file frequently. And don’t skimp when it comes to storage – even if it’s a small set of drawers.

2. Keep power cables tidy: who new cable management would ever be a thing but with so many devices to power and keep charged, it’s easy to create trip hazards and compromise electrical safety. Many desks now come with cable ports that you feed wires down through but you can also buy off-the-shelf cable tidy tubes, caddies and wire racks – simply Google ‘cable tidy systems’ for ideas.

3. Ensure there’s enough light: if you can position your desk by a window, you’ll benefit from ventilation as well as daylight. Don’t underestimate the power of a desk lamp either. Choose a multi-position one – it can act as a task lamp when pointed down but will provide general light if aimed at the ceiling. 

4. Buy the best set up you can afford: back pain, discomfort and fatigue will all impact your productivity at home, so invest in the best within your budget. Look for office chairs with ergonomic features, such as adjustable heights and lumbar support, and think about a sit-stand desk that allows you to work on your feet, as well as in a seated position. You can read the benefits of standing to work in our blog.

5. Create a dedicated home office: no study? No problem! We have created private offices in the tightest of spaces, thanks to creative layout planning. That thinking can be transferred to the home environment, especially if you have a room that could be sub-divided with a stud-partition wall. Talk to a builder, draughtsman or architect if ‘WFH’ is your long-term plan – they’ll be able to advise on planning restrictions, building control and fire safety aspects.

MPL continues to support businesses who can’t work from home, providing flexible, safe and secure working environments. Contact us if you need to plan a commercial or office refit.