Recent years have brought with them a new culture around working. More than ever, companies are offering flexible working with employees able to work away from the hum of the office in the peace of their own homes. In the UK, the number of self-employed workers has also been on the rise since 2001. According to a 2018 report by the BBC, freelancers now make up for 15% of the workforce and the number is steadily increasing.
Whilst the ability to work at home brings with it significant advantages – a quiet space, no commuting or regular interruptions – it can also generate problems. Among the most considerable of these for remote workers is difficulty when it comes to setting mental boundaries around how to work, live and relax in the same space.
Without the physical distance between a workspace and home, those working remotely can often find it challenging to switch off, even once the computer has shut down for the day. When we strongly associate the signifiers of a place with a particular experience, our brain doesn’t necessarily switch mental tabs as quickly as we might want it to. Working on the sofa is really comfortable, but what are we telling the brain about that space? Ultimately we feed it the message that sofa = work, and anything else additionally that goes with it. Stress, innovate thinking, feeling alert… whatever has coloured your work day will stay right on that sofa. Our brains need to decompress, so mindfully ‘switching off’ by the end of the work day is key to avoiding burnout. Working from home means that we should be extra aware of how to stop these different mental spaces from becoming too interconnected. This will ensure that we do our best work – and recharge again.
So what’s the solution?
It is definitely possible to work at home without it becoming a permanent mental workspace. The trick is to allocate a certain area of home to working; then you must commit to keep everything work-related strictly within it.
Some people may already have a home office which is an immediate solution, but what about younger freelancers without a spare room? London in particular is not known for its space-abundant accommodation, after all! We think the answer lies in a classic piece of furniture: the desk. Having a desk at home will help you to create a zone away from your general living area which tells your brain that it’s work time. Even if it’s tucked in a corner, the motion of walking to your desk – and stepping away from it at the end of day – sets clear boundaries around mental work and play spaces.
A good desk should be well made and feel empowering once you get behind it – ever heard of the term power desk? Choose a desk which speaks to you and gets you feeling inspired… luckily there are many to choose from! From antique rosewood secretaires to sleek teak mid century desks – and even rattan boho models! – there is a desk to fit in with every personality, home space and budget. Transform your desk into a pleasant area to work with some decorative pieces. Perhaps adorn it with a houseplant or a scented candle, or hang up images and quotes which inspire you to do your best work! A chic mid century lamp also never goes amiss.
Below is a selection of some our of favourite vintage and antique desk models but you can also browse the full collection here.
Discover the perfect desk for your home by the price collections below.
Title image: thefuturekept.com