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Whether you work from home every day or just a few hours a week, the right environment is key to success.

Create your dream office space8

Image: Mailen Design (020 3735 5880; mailendesign.com)

 

The appeal of working from home is easy to see: a better work-life balance, no commute and the opportunity to spend the day in an inspiring, comfy space designed to meet your specific requirements.

With continual improvements in technology, there is now less of a need for employees to spend all their time in a central location; in response to this, companies are becoming increasingly open to offering flexible working arrangements. So, whether you choose to redesign your home to include a study area, extend to create a purpose-built room or add a bespoke office pod in your garden, plenty of options are available to ensure you have a space that is perfectly suited to your working needs.

Create your dream office space8

Image: Fraher Architects (0208 291 6947; fraher.co)

 

Plan your layout

When choosing where to locate your home office, first of all you will need to decide how you plan to use it. Drawing up a list of key priorities will allow you to gain a clearer idea of precisely what you need from your new workspace.

Will you do your job from home on a permanent basis or are you partly based in an office elsewhere? Do you want to keep your work and home lives completely separate or are you seeking to create a less formal space where you feel part of household activity?

Are you the only one who will be using the study area or will it be shared with other family members? Do you require storage or shelving for documents or are you simply in need of a desk? And if your job involves people visiting you for meetings, would you prefer to have a separate office entrance from outside the house?

Create your dream office space8

Image: Granit Architects (020 7924 4555; granit.co.uk)

Create your dream office space8

Image: Granit Architects (020 7924 4555; granit.co.uk)

 

Adapt your space

A spare bedroom is the obvious location, allowing you to convert an existing room into a dedicated work area for a relatively small budget. Other unused nooks – such as the hallway or landing – could also be suitable, turning what might otherwise be a wasted corner into a practical work zone. ‘In order to create a defined working area within your home, a bespoke desk or focal point will help to characterise the space,’ says Elizabeth Webster of Fraher Architects (020 8291 6947; fraher.co).

If your office is to be incorporated into another part of your home – for example, the kitchen or living area – you’ll need to make sure it works with the overall style and design of the rest of the property. Think about including a bespoke unit with sliding doors that allows you to close off the office when it’s not in use.

Create your dream office space8

Image: Gort Scott (020 7254 6294; gortscott.com)

 

Extend your home

If you have the budget and are thinking of embarking on a larger home renovation, a loft or garage conversion or an extension can provide the ideal home-office solution, allowing you to create a clear separation between your work and home lives.

A loft office away from the distactions of everyday life can be a quiet and productive spot – and with the addition of extensive glazing, you’ll gain a pleasant outlook from your desk. To maximise the potential of the space, include an en suite in the layout when planning the conversion. This can prove particularly helpful if you plan to put your home on the market, increasing its saleability.

Including a dedicated office zone in a ground-floor extension or converting a garage into a workplace can also be good options – especially if you want to create a separate entrance to your office, so that clients can visit you for meetings without having to walk through your home.

Create your dream office space8

 

Go outdoors

Your garden can offer another solution to your home-working dilemma, with a self-contained office pod designed for year-round use. Most of these can be built without planning permission (see planningportal.co.uk for details) and many can be erected on-site in just one or two days.

A good-quality, double-glazed, well-insulated pod costs from around £13,000. But you will also need to factor in the cost of the foundations, as well as connecting the services, such as electricity and even plumbing, that will be needed for you to carry out your work in comfort.

Create your dream office space8

Image: Weston, Surman & Deane (020 3816 0242; surmanweston.com)

 

Personalise your space

One of the main benefits of designing your own study is that you have complete control over what it looks like, so you can wave goodbye to working in a bland, featureless white box. Although you won’t want lots of distractions, your office should be an inspiring place that you enjoy spending time in.

'The challenge is striking the right balance between the practical elements required for you to work efficiently and the need to create an aesthetically pleasing design statement,’ says Helen Reeks, group creative development director at Neville Johnson (0161 873 8333; nevillejohnson.co.uk).

Inject personality and comfort with photographs, artwork and soft furnishings such as rugs and cushions. These will help to make you feel at home even when you’re working hard.

Create your dream office space8

Create your dream office space8

Words: Beth Murton, Photography: Simon Maxwell; Heather Hobhouse; Jack Hobhouse; Wai Ming Ng

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