Millions and millions of people now work from home, and every day more join them. Whether you’re thinking of setting up a business at home, are studying for a course, or just need somewhere to catch up on your paperwork, you can make the most of the space in your home by doubling your bedroom as an office.
A spare bedroom makes an ideal office, but with space at a premium many of us have to work or study in the same bedroom we sleep in. It is possible to maintain an efficient workspace and a quiet place to relax at the end of the day in the same room – but it does take a little planning and organisation.
Organising your office in the bedroom
If your room is large enough, you could split the office and sleeping areas in two using a screen or room divider. If the room is small, make it feel more spacious by painting the walls a pale or neutral colour and using mirrors to create an illusion of depth.
Buying a desk with drawers will give you extra storage space for stationery. Place your desk near the telephone connection, so you don’t have to get up every time the phone rings, or invest in a cordless phone, which can live happily off the base station for a few hours at a time. Make use of the vertical space above and around the desk with shelving for your files.
If you need a filing cabinet, you don’t have to live with one of the ugly industrial metal ones you see in offices. Storage cabinets are available in a range of wood and other finishes, so choose one that complements the rest of your décor. You could even cover it with a cloth that matches your curtains or bedding to create a sense of harmony in the room.
Working at home, you are responsible for your own health and safety. You’ll need a straight-backed, ergonomically designed chair, which supports your spine and will be comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. Make sure you position your computer monitor in the correct position, which is directly in front of you at about arm’s length. Avoid placing it too high above your head.
If the sun shining through your windows creates a glare on your screen, buy some Venetian blinds or drapes to block out the light. For working at night, you’ll need an adjustable desk lamp. Avoid having electric wires trailing across the room, as this could be a safety hazard, and make sure you turn off computers and printers at night.
When working in your bedroom it’s vital to minimise clutter or your room will quickly become a disaster area. Try to keep as little as possible on your desk and store everything else within easy reach. Place a pin board on the wall for calendars, reminder notes and your to-do list, so they don’t litter your desk.
Balancing work and relaxation in your bedroom office
Although your room is now fulfilling two functions, it’s possible to ensure that work and sleep don’t intrude on each other. If you find that having a bed in your office tempts you to indulge in an afternoon nap, why not make it into a sofa? You could buy a futon that doubles up as a sofa during the day, or you could transform an ordinary bed with cushions and throws.
It’s important to have a cut-off point when you declare your working day to be over and allow yourself to relax. Put away any unfinished work, so it isn’t lying around reminding you of what needs to be done. Let your answering service take your calls after a certain time, or alternatively get a mobile phone to use for work, which you can switch off at night. Finally, make it a rule never to work in bed – unless, of course, you enjoy dreaming about deadlines!