One area of British life is experiencing a certain boom at the moment, despite the recent pandemic.
Many aspects of industry, business and retail have suffered, but one area that has grown thanks to the issues we have faced is remote working. Thanks to the restrictions we have grown to live with, people have had to find corners of their home to set up a laptop and do their work.
At first, the country made do with what we could. As we revealed in our article Britain Faces a Massive Clear Out, 37% of people said they could not get their working environment quite right in 2020. Even as the situation eases, working from home is likely to be here to stay and as a result, getting the environment right is going to be key.
That does not just mean buying the right chair and desk or selecting a Wi-Fi booster to reach the spare bedroom. You must get the fundamentals right from the start, and that includes some elements of decoration. Many of these home offices can be found in a back bedroom or previously unused box room, and repurposing that sort of environment takes thought and time, as we explore below.
Make it Suitable
Once you have initiated the clear out, making the room suitable for your purposes is the next thing to consider. If you have moved into a room that has not been used for anything specific in the past, then that may mean moving electrical sockets and even fixing the ones you have already. If you do move sockets to more convenient locations, make sure you fit them correctly, flush to the wall and of course, decorate around them consistently.
Also, you should consider protecting the system against breakdown, especially as you will be increasing the workload of previously unused services. An electrical policy will cover sockets and faulty wiring, according to HomeServe, which is certainly one aspect to consider if putting your office in a room you haven’t used much before.
Making sure the sockets are positioned correctly is safer than trailing extension cords across the room, and less intrusive on your own wellbeing, which means a little work before moving into the office can save you having to ignore such issues throughout your time working from home.
Dealing with Damp
Some back bedrooms may be suffering from damp problems, which is not unusual for unused rooms. If those rooms tend not to be heated, then often a degree of surface damp can appear in cold corners. As explained by the NHS, damp can be a problem if you have respiratory problems and it does not make for a great working environment. Removing damp will make the room safer too, especially those electrical sockets and switches that would not react well with damp problems.
You can decorate over damp-affected areas, but make sure you diagnose and treat the problem. You should invest in a surface cleaner for preparing damp or mildew affected areas. Once treated, remove any flaky paint using a stiff brush or scraper. Finally, get yourself a stain block or suitable primer to make sure any future damp does not bleed through onto your paintwork. Finally, get busy painting the walls a nice new colour which soon makes you forget there was ever a damp patch at all.
Another thing you should look at is the ventilation in your work from home space. Most “damp” is caused by condensation. Water vapour condenses on the coldest area in a room (normally exterior walls). Installing a vent or opening a window can prevent mould from reappearing.
Brighten the Mood
One of the last rooms you are likely to have decorated is the box room, especially if it has always just been for storage and the odd friend staying over. If you are working in there eight hours per day, then you certainly need it to feel welcoming and conducive to your own wellbeing. Ideal Home suggests soft and bright colours, to make the room feel fresh and well-aired. Your choice of palette will also depend on the natural light you are able to get around the working area. An office within a back bedroom should feel welcoming and inviting, and even if the weather outside is damp and dull, the room should not. Remember, a fresh coat of paint will instantly give a tired old room a lift and hopefully make you more productive at home.
Next Step in preparing Your Work From Home Space
Once the decorating is done, the sockets are in place and everything is ready to go, then you can start moving in the desk, laptop and gadgets. However, if you simply stick a desk in a box room, then you will doubtless still be one of the 37% who works from home in an environment they could not get right, even as we wave goodbye to the pandemic and its restrictions.