Home extension by Edinburgh builder Mackenzie Hughes.

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Creating an Effective Working From Home Environment

Working from home has become the new normal during the Covid 19 outbreak as many companies seek to balance productivity with Government guidelines on employee safety. But far from being a passing trend WFH, to use its abbreviated name, is set to continue post-pandemic with many businesses offering employees the opportunity to continue working from home for at least part of the week. Here are some suggestions from Edinburgh builder Mackenzie Hughes, to create the most effective WFH environment.

Benefits of working from home

Working from home, whether you live in Edinburgh or on the coast in East Lothian, can have many benefits in terms of work / life balance. If your career or business allows for flexible working you can set your own schedule which means time normally spent commuting can be put to more practical use such as fitting in an exercise routine, getting more involved with the school drop-off and pick-up, or simply grabbing some much-needed head space by taking the dog for a walk. But working from home is not without its challenges – one of the main ones being creating clear boundaries between business and personal space.

Antique partner’s desk. Picture by Thakeham Furniture

Spare room

A separate room which can be used as an office is, of course, the ideal solution to securing that all-important workspace. However, if you live in an Edinburgh Georgian or Victorian property you may want to retain the period look rather than adding modern office furniture. You may therefore be pleased to know that many of Edinburgh’s auction houses and period furniture specialists often have writing bureaux or writing desks for sale such as these beautiful antique desks from Thakeham Furniture. Adding period furniture will help give the desired balance between form and function.

Adapt a guest bedroom

If you don’t have the luxury of a separate home office, you can simply adapt the guest bedroom. In this instance you can avoid making it look too office-like by adding a desk which is discreetly built into another item of furniture such as this chest of drawers from the Cotswold company. Office furniture like this is also perfect for storing everything away at the end of the working day.

Hidden desk with drawers from the Cotswold Company.

Even the end of a kitchen island unit can make an effective work from home space. Picture from Mackenzie Hughes.

The kitchen table

However, your only WFH space may be the kitchen table or breakfast bar. This needn’t  be a problem if you can discipline yourself to work within specific time slots when the kitchen will be less congested, and you don’t mind the odd family interruption. It is important however, to let family members know that you are indeed working. A small ‘do not disturb’ sign on your work-surface can help them get the message. Also, if you are easily distracted, stick on a set of headphones and listen to some of your favourite classical music (the so-called Mozart effect). There are also free white noise apps you can download to reduce external noise which can help you focus on the task in hand.      

Kitchen designs for today’s lifestyle

Today’s demanding lifestyles call for practical solutions and the kitchen must adapt accordingly to suit modern living. Sleek, minimal designs, clever storage space, a greater focus on task lighting plus additional USB and power sockets to cope with work-related gadgets are the order of the day. Clever design is crucial to work around your needs so if you are looking to install a new kitchen speak to a professional before you plan your project.      

The modern kitchen can easily be adapted to working from home. Picture from Mackenzie Hughes

Add a home-office extension

If you plan to work from home on an ongoing basis, and you have the available garden space, it is worth considering a custom-designed home-office extension. Here is why:

  • If you need more living space, investing in an extension may be cheaper than moving home…and more practical.
  • If you have a Georgian or Victorian period property this does not preclude you from having a modern extension. In fact, if planning permission is required, it may be granted more readily if the extension is in direct contrast to and enhances the existing property.
  • An extension is adaptable. If you decide down the track that you no longer need a home office, your extension can become an additional bedroom, a dining kitchen, a home gym or a sunroom.
  • An extension is almost guaranteed to add value to your property.

Contemporary extension to an Edinburgh Victorian period property built by Mackenzie Hughes

If you are thinking about a home-office extension, contact Mackenzie Hughes first. We have a successful track record in building custom-designed extensions, a passion for Edinburgh period properties and the knowledge required to help secure the necessary planning permission.

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