Working from home - Is your space helping or hindering you?

“Working from home is easy” – said NO-ONE ever ! Nonetheless the number of people working from home has increased by a staggering 20% in the last decade, says the TUC. It currently stands at around 1.5 million.

Are you one of them ?

When I first set up my own business I was so excited to be my own boss, doing it my way with no-one to answer to. Whilst there are heaps of benefits to working for yourself I have to say a lot of the time it is really tough with so many differing roles to cover. One area that I have tweaked and tested frequently over the last couple of years is my “office”. Now I say office but what I really mean is laptop space ! Indoors, outdoors , desk, bed, lawn and the list goes on.

The freedom to create the space that WE will flourish and thrive in is definitely an opportunity to grasp. You really do want your "patch" to enable you to be productive and inspired. There are many elements that you can control to edge you into this zone. I’m thinking lighting, sound, temperature, furniture, organisation, storage, etc. which all contribute towards the general ambiance. Whether you are setting up for the first time or been working from home for a while these tips can be applied to your situation.

So here goes, a few pointers to mull over:-

· Carve out your ZONE. If you have a whole room to call your own then this is fabulous and gives you plenty of scope to sculpt an ideal environment. If you don’t have this luxury then there’s plenty of good alternatives. Earmark your space, whether that’s the kitchen table, a corner of the lounge or a section of a spare room. This doesn’t mean that you always have to work in that exact location but it does provide an ANCHOR to base your operation around. For me I’ve set up a camping table in the spare bedroom that can easily be removed when we have guests. Multi-purpose and minimalist suit the needs of my work. What suits you ?

· SOUNDS and SMELLS. Perhaps not an area you have spent much time thinking about to date. Dr. Harriet Short has written a fascinating blog on “The Sounds of The Office” which explores how we respond to varying sounds during the working day. She suggests certain sounds can help us to tune into our more private spaces. This could be particularly helpful if our homes are bristling with distractions such as kids, dogs, blaring tv’s etc. There are some great Apps out there that offer “white noise” background sounds to allow us to focus. “Noisli” is a cracking one which lets you blend sounds such as rain, coffee shop hum or an oscillating fan to create your own soundscape.

Interestingly, Thomas Cooks call centre in Falkirk pipes the smell of coconut oil into the workplace along with the sounds of the seaside and relaxing music. When they enter the building they pass through a passageway filled with bright sunny lighting. There must be something in it. Now the fun part - allow yourself some time to both consider and TEST out what could be of benefit.