This is a paid partnership in collaboration with Flokk.
Take it from someone with ten years working from home under her belt, having a workspace that’s both functional and inspiring is so important. Over the years I’ve tried out a number of not-so-great home office set-ups. I started from a reclining sofa (yep) and dining room table to a corner of the bedroom before having the luxury of a dedicated workspace.
Aesthetics, of course, are what make a room but there’s little point in having a stylish home office if it doesn’t actually work for you. With that in mind, here are my five tips you should consider when you’re designing your own space…
1. Choose The Right Chair
Top of the list. The office chair. Having spent years damaging my posture in a variety of static chairs and slumpy sofa cushions I can attest that choosing the right chair is the difference between getting in a focused days work in comfort and spending time in physio. I’ll be honest and say that up til now I’ve categorically avoided office chairs. They’ve always felt too corporate and imposing for a home environment.
When the furniture group Flokk got in touch to ask if I would try their Norwegian office furniture brand HÅG and their HÅG Futu mesh chair, I decided to put it to the test. Based in Røros, an old copper mining town on the UNESCO World Heritage List, HÅG have been manufacturing chairs since 1943. Before the chair arrived I was sold purely on the fact that this is a company that takes their impact on the environment seriously; mapping out and reducing production emissions and using recycled plastics since 1995, earning them the coveted Nordic Ecolabel.
It’s good practice to sit with your knees at a 90-degree angle with your feet on the floor, although HÅG actively encourages you to put your feet on the legs of the chair as you move which have ridged steel grips. Your arms should sit at a 90-degree angle to your desk to stop you from hunching your shoulders.
Did you know that your calf muscle acts like a secondary heart in circulating blood back to the heart and comes into play when you actively move your feet? This is why when we’re likely to be static for some time – on a long haul flight, for example, it’s recommended to do leg exercises to increase your circulation. With this in mind, all HÅG chairs come with Balance® Technology which is totally intuitive, encouraging mobility and engaging your core. The amount the chair moves can be adjusted underneath the seat via three settings so you can opt for more or less as you see fit.
The back comes up to shoulder height and combined with the transparent mesh it has a slender, lightweight appearance. My back feels completely supported against the FutuKnit™ mesh, a specially designed 3D knitted fabric which retains its tautness. If I want a gentle recline the seat can also be adjusted underneath.
Unnecessary frills have been done away with, focusing on simple adjustable elements found in discrete buttons and small touch levers. The all-important lumbar support slides up and down, locking into place. The arms which are removable slide outwards as well as up and down with adjustable armrests that pivot inwards.
The HÅG Futu mesh is a thoughtfully designed piece of Nordic simplicity. Having experienced the difference, I would recommend finding an ergonomic chair that suits your needs.
2. Making Room For A Home Office
Working from home can kick up a variety of distractions if you don’t have a dedicated space. I say space because if setting aside a room isn’t an option, you can carve out a corner instead. It could be in the dining room, on the landing if it’s possible or a corner of the bedroom even which is where I currently work. Choose an area with good quality of light away from tempting distractions like the TV…the fridge.
Don’t be put off if you don’t have room for a free-standing desk, you can utilise the wall space just as well. Put up a sturdy ledge instead or use the inside of a cupboard you can shut away at the end of the day.
3. How Will You Use Your Office?
How you design the space will depend entirely on how you plan to use it. Can you work with a shallow ledge for a laptop or will you need a deeper desk for a computer? Do you need space for dual screens or perhaps accessible storage is a more pressing need? Consider how much time you plan to spend working here and if you’ll need to be able to shut it all away at the end of each day, particularly if you’re working in a corner of a shared room. Once you’ve worked out your needs, designing the space and finding the furniture will be an easier process.
4. Plan Your Office Layout
The shape of your space might already dictate your layout but if you’ve got free rein, I would recommend setting up close to a window in a position you won’t get screen glare. Ensure you have enough room to move freely. Do you want to have storage in front or behind you? If floor space is limited then look at wall mounted solutions, otherwise you’ll start to feel restricted which in turn will affect your ability to work.
Use any available wall space for shelving or cupboards and keep them organised – don’t be tempted to fill them with clutter. Keep your everyday essentials within reaching distance – the pot of pens, sticky notes, USB stick. A series of shallow picture ledges can be used to keep notebooks alongside art prints. Find a pinboard or pegboard and create a visual inspiration wall or use it for urgent reminders.
Choose the right a task light. If you don’t have space for one on your desk, consider a design you can attach to a shelf or directly to the wall, if not slender floor lamp is a great alternative.
5. Show Your Personality
Whilst you want to give your home office a sense of separation from the rest of the house, it’s important for it not to feel sterile. You’re working from home after all so it needs to be a space you feel at ease in. Bring in a rug to zone your desk space, something that feels good underfoot.
Colour is very much a personal choice but I recommend light or neutral shades over anything too dark. Bright colours will start to feel distracting after a while so if you’re keen for a shot of colour, keep it to furniture, accessories or art.
Having plants in the home reaches far beyond the botanical trend of the moment, they not only bring life into a space but they clean the air too. Keep a little pot on your desk, like my Pilea, or choose trailing plants to sit on your shelf above. Peperomia and String of Pearls are a great choice and Snake plant and Aloe Vera are ideal air purifiers.
Enter HÅG’s Home Office Giveaways
GIVEAWAY ONE – Win a HÅG Futu or Futu mesh task chair in the colour of your choice worth up to £730.
For a chance to win, choose your favourite colour and leave a comment below.*
GIVEAWAY TWO – HÅG is also running a competition to win a 30,000 euro office makeover.
“The winner will receive a visit from their expert interior architect who will provide advice on colours and fabrics. They’ll share with you our range of products, discussing what to add to your working environment to make it healthier, happier and more productive.
Then all you have to do is sit back and wait for the transformation!”
Please see T&Cs for further information.
* T&Cs: Entrants must be aged 18+ and a resident of the UK. This giveaway closes on June 6th 2018. This giveaway is for X1 HÅG Futu mesh task chair only. The winner will be drawn using a random number generator and contacted via email by Flokk directly. Your contact details will not be shared with or sold to any third parties.