Working from home is here to stay, with many people planning to continue working remotely even after coronavirus restrictions on office working are eventually lifted. But while some of us already are well set up for working from home with a dedicated home office, for others, home working has been more challenging, whether due to the lack of space, the lack of companionship (or too much of it, in some cases!), or just the sheer boredom of sitting at your desk all day.
These are the top ways to improve your home working setup without making major changes to your property.
1. Rethink your home office location
The reality of home working for many of us is the need to get in touch with people over video – this requires a quiet and calm environment. If you're currently working from a room that's facing a busy road/local building works, you may need to rethink, because long-term, having your meetings interrupted with noise will get frustrating.
Check out our small home office ideas to see where you could set up to work from home – and how to make it look beautiful.
2. Convert unused spaces
Converting unused spaces in the home such as a garage, loft or cellar, can provide much needed extra room in the household. The spaces can be used for a new home office, relaxation zone, utility area or a play room, but it is important to ensure that a property possesses comfortable living areas, should another lockdown be enforced.
Extra spaces can also significantly boost the value of a property, especially if extra bedrooms and bathrooms are added. Most conversion projects do not require planning permission as it qualifies as a ‘change of use’ to the property, which is another great reason to consider a home improvement of this kind.
3. Boost your internet connection
There's nothing more annoying than finding that your internet connection is too slow to support your Zoom call – or even worse, cuts out during the working day. If it's a long-standing issue, you may choose to switch your broadband provider; if you're having temporary speed or dead zone problems with your wi-fi, get a wi-fi extender.
See the best broadband providers in our guide.
4. Divide your open plan spaces
A cost-effective way to create separate zones for different functions is to divide existing open plan areas. Installing partition walls or sectioning off areas with the careful placement of furniture are just two ways to create segregated space, allowing members of a household to live together without getting on top of one another. Freestanding shelves act as great temporary partitions that also provide storage space for any home office essentials.
We discuss the pros and cons of open plan living in more detail in our guide.
5. Maximise garden use
If you are blessed with a large garden, then it can provide you with an alternative working from home space for days when you need a change of scenery. A garden room or even large garden shed can change the way you work from home for the better by giving you some separation between your living and working spaces.
6. Get a pet
This may not seem like a home working-related home improvement, but, especially if you live alone, companionship is crucial. Sharing your life with a pet has scientifically proven benefits for our physical and mental health and will mitigate some of the loneliness that can come with home working. Even if you rent, negotiate with your landlord – many are more reasonable than you think and will allow a pet if you're generally a responsible tenant.