Not surprisingly, the increase in home and remote working as a result of COVID-19 has seen a rise in enquiries about and sales of office furniture as well as new workspaces and hubs popping up in residential gardens.
So we decided to chat to The DL Company about the new trend – plus unLTD readers already benefiting share their spaces with us!
Been perching on a kitchen stool on the laptop or at the dining room table throughout lockdown while working from home?
You’re not alone. So no surprise that The DL Company has seen a rise in enquiries about and sales of their Work @ Home range of late, as well as interest in their home garden offices and rooms.
Plus Sheffield, it turns out, is perfectly placed to capitalise on the trend for home offices and workspace.
Daniel Lowe, managing director at the DL Company explains: “Thanks to the housing styles Sheffield has, with lots of terraced, detached and semi-detached housing, this means there is usually a back garden for people to create their office space. This means people can save money on a home extension and avoid having to put up with the inconvenience of holes in walls and lack of access to the rooms being extended while that’s being done!
“It’s all about extending the home, and office, into the garden and adapting the space to suit that.
“In the beginning of lockdown, working from the kitchen was quite novel! But with it becoming permanent for some and others looking for the flexibility of being able to combine working from home with the return to the office, routines have become established and it’s important for mental and physical health for there to be a work/life balance when it comes to the working environment.
“Plus, for those working in or near the kitchen the temptation to snack from the fridge is ever present – many have joked they’re twice the size they were before lockdown!
“You may not be travelling or walking to the office or meetings as much so the office furniture has to be suitable and appropriate considering how much more time people will be spending sat at their home desks so we’re seeing an increase in people wanting ergonomic chairs as well as the healthier option of electrically height-adjustable, sit-stand desks for their home office spaces.
“Equally people need physical and headspace where they can concentrate and keep their mind focused on work – that isn’t always easy for parents working from home with young children not in school over recent months! But people need to be able to move their brain into work mode away from competing demands, there still needs to be a separation of work and home life and that can happen by going somewhere physically, even if that is walking into the garden to the office hub.
“Some even prefer to keep their office in the home and instead convert the space in the garden into a games, exercise or family room so children and other members of the family can enjoy that space in the garden while they continue to work – uninterrupted! – in the house. So we can also set up a stud or glass wall in existing rooms in the house to help separate work and home space, too.”
Pete Swatkins, MD The Fitness Truck Ltd®
“We don’t require any space to train our clients on a ‘live zoom’ as we make sure we’re paying attention to their form and engage with them throughout the session, tweaking form when required rather than focusing on delivering the session practically and not being able to safely monitor their form.”
Noel Kennedy, Head of Sales, Involve
I work in audio visual and collaboration – most of the time I’m either video calling my team or customers or putting together proposals from here. It was a spare room when we moved in for a single bed. I have my displays as they each have a specific dedicated use to me and when I want to catch the greener of Sheffield I can see out my window easily. My portrait display keeps email and calendaring in split mode. I can double click frames to take full display either the email or calendar quickly. It’s out the way and I can react easily there for emails when I want to.
My Surface Pro is docked and is my focus screen. I’ll drag things to this screen when I really need to dial into them and with it being touch-enabled I can also slide the keyboard off and use it for not taking in meetings easily for example. As I do a lot of video conferencing, I have a face light too as the sun likes to blast in the office window so I draw the blind.
The most important part for me in the whole office though is my chair – having been through Office World, Ikea, Amazon and the likes, I spent some money on one and it’s been worth every penny. That’s a solid recommendation to anyone setting a home office up – get a quality and comfortable chair instead of sitting on the dining room chair or the sofa.
Plus when the day is done as a bonus, the widescreen becomes a gaming monitor as behind that I have a Switch and Playstation ready!
James Plummer, James P Media
“This is my home office, set up specifically for video and photo editing. It was built from scratch to make sure everything had its part in increasing run speed, optimising workflow and peace of mind.
“The space is kept minimal so that I can jump on video meetings in the drop of a hat and I know exactly where everything is, should I need something quickly. Everything is planned out to help me get the work done.”
Darren Clewes, Group Sales Director, Forward and Thinking
“I’m used to ‘agile working’ and have done so for the past 10 years. However, lockdown has made me re-appraise my workspace to being a place that I can close the door on at night. The kitchen table, whilst making coffee easier to reach, also intrudes on non-work time so I gave in and converted my little home music studio into more of an office-studio.
“This means I can both shut myself away and work and also shut my work away and ‘home’. I think finding a work/life balance during this period is one of the hardest things to do, so ensuring it can go behind a closed door is really important.”
Lorraine Dixon, Open Narrative
“It took me at least two years and three room moves to finally find my ideal space to work from home, complete with a salt lamp, potted plants and dog bed under the desk.
“I can’t imagine ever going back to an office. The idea of the morning and evening commute fills me with dread. But, successfully working from home requires discipline and a designated space. It does take a few reminders to family and friends that ‘popping in’ for coffee because they know you’re at home isn’t appropriate. Cleaning the bathroom can be a task that is a positive use of time when you are procrastinating on making a sales call or analysing data. Yes, I would rather clean the loo than check my sales data, so discipline is important.
“My home office began in the living room, a small and compact alcove that I soon outgrew. The backbedroom came next, better WIFI and more space so that lasted for a year or so before I found the perfect place in the attic. There are two flights of stairs, so no-one calls round and the postman has learned to be patient. It’s good for my fitness levels too.
“The additional benefit of having my office at the top of the house is that I am not tempted to check my emails or just sort that little thing out once I’ve closed the office door and descended to the ground floor.
“Having a dog ensures that I take regular walks in the fresh air. Dude, the cat keeps a close eye on what’s happening and networking means I’m not isolated. Sheffield has a great networking scene for small businesses and during lockdown this increased due to Zoom opportunities.
“As for sustainability, I don’t need to travel, my electricity is through a 100% sustainable source and there’s no plastic packaging on my lunchtime panini.”
Rich Davies account manager at Affinity
“During lockdown Affinity continued to function with the team working from home to ensure our level of service to clients was maintained.
“Being a technical company, we had lots of weird and wonderful set-ups but two that stood out for us were our MD, Colin Beaumont, who had a fairly typical set home office set up.
He said: ‘Being able to run Affinity from home was critical both for our clients and also for myself and the Affinity Team. ‘It also helped that my home office wasn’t far away from the kitchen, so a fresh supply of coffee was always available.’
“David Eastaugh one of our Technical Services Engineers has a slightly more technical set-up and he added: ‘My wife is glad I’m back in the office now as the electricity bill will go down!’”
Richard Michie, CEO -The Marketing Optimist
“The whole Marketing Optimist team began working from home before lockdown, so we’ve been doing this for a while now.
“My set up is pretty simple –Ikea desk and chair, laptop, phone etc. To keep me inspired, and to have stuff to fiddle with, I’ve got loads of Star Wars Lego around and my Tie Fighter sits proudly on the desk.
“To remind me of my roots I’ve got an illustration of the Roxy Nightclub on my wall by Sheffield artist Jonathan Wilkinson. Working from home has worked out well for us overall, but we do miss the office interactions which have become a lot harder over Zoom, it’s not quite the same.”
Fancy a home office in your garden? Or office-appropriate furniture for your home workspace?
The DL Company
Address: 20 Jessops Riverside,
Brightside Lane, Sheffield S9 2RX
Call: 0114 244 0202