Home Office – workplace of the future?

Valuable tips for the transformation of the working world from office to home office

USM furniture for office and home office

Home office – what you should consider as an employer

Pour yourself a quick cup of coffee, slide into your slippers and settle down in your home office. While others rush out of the house in the morning to catch the bus, sit in the full subway, or queue in the traffic jam to get to work on time, others enjoy the home office bonus: get to the desk stress-free, within the easiest of commuting distances and all the comforts of home at hand whenever required. So the theory. However, since the Corona pandemic, many have realised that the home office “ideal” has little to do with the cliché of a relaxed working day in sweatpants. Home office has long been a controversial topic in many companies, but in context with Covid-19 it has become a popular and appropriate model: open-plan offices can be avoided, at risk individuals protected and childcare duties performed without the employees and their work being left behind. Even politicians now see this model as an advantage that could be further developed and expanded. Has the home office finally become the workplace of the future? What are the arguments in favour of and what against, for employees and employers? Despite the many freedoms, are there rules that must be observed? What needs to be considered when designing and furnishing your own office? A quick look into the new working life.

Home sweet home office – Pro & Contra for employees

It is little wonder that the home office has increasingly become a popular workplace alternative: it opens up numerous advantages. And yet it should have become clear in Corona mode that the idyllic idea of the workplace in one's own four walls also has one or two pitfalls. Avoiding them is the key to successful home working.

Individual and flexible, but with limits

What distinguishes the working day at home from everyday office life is the possibility for self-organization. Even if there are core working hours and fixed meetings, the working day can still be arranged more freely and adapted to your internal rhythm and that of your life. Once the first to-dos have been successfully ticked off and should the concentration drop in the afternoon, this phase can be used, for example, for childcare or for sports: as long as tasks are done effectively and working hours are observed. However, amongst all the flexibility there is also the danger that suddenly too much work will be undertaken. After all, the desk is around the corner; however with good time management, self-determination not only makes you more productive, but can also makes you more satisfied in the long run.

Concentrated and motivated, but not lonely

Be it the neighbours stereo or the children's fun and games – the home office does not always offer the desired peace and concentration. As a rule, however, most homeworkers in their own domain find it easier to stay on top of things than in the turbulent open space. Not least because in the office constant phone calls and questions from colleagues disturb the peace, but the general distraction is greater. However, one should be careful that the sense of community does not fall by the wayside and that communication and mutual inspiration are also maintained from the home office.

Family-friendly and practical, but without chaos

Send that quick email, bring the documents to the colleague on the fourth floor and then go to the day care center so that there are no reproachful looks and tears again. Work and family can also often be better reconciled in the home office and distributed more fairly between the partners – for female power in the job and father's adventure. In addition, you not only save time for the commute to work, but also the costs for petrol, trains, etc. However, there should be clear rules and a retreat to work. Otherwise Punch and Judy shows become part of the meeting and the home office becomes a nerve war at some point.

Vitra furniture Home Office
Thonet design classics in the home office

Leadership with distance – Pro & Contra for employers

For many entrepreneurs, the topic of home office was previously out of the question, however some concerns have been answered since the corona pandemic, as not only employees, but also employers benefit from this flexible concept. What speaks for it and what should be considered.

Flexible concepts for tomorrow

Many employers are concerned that unequal treatment of workers could lead to resentment. Because not every task can be done from home and not everyone has the spatial and technical capacities. And yet this distribution of the workforce is of great advantage not only in times of a pandemic to maintain safety distances. After all, flexibility is the magic word of our time – in all areas. Deadlocked work processes can be innovatively restructured and technical support can be provided for the home office if required. It is important to promote team spirit in other ways so that there are no discrepancies.

Data Security

Many companies have sensitive data that can only be accessed based on location. Companies must individually classify which position is possible from home and which data may “leave” the building and take data protection precautions. However, there are now numerous solutions and examples for this.

The art of trust

Many employers fear that their employees will work less from home. After all, their presence and engagement in the office can be better checked and controlled. However, the opposite is usually the case. Working hours and breaks are recorded much more meticulously, overtime is recorded less often, and there are also no classic distractions or constant coffee gossip. Those who can organize themselves and implement their needs in their working life are not only more effective and creative, but also feel valued. A major advantage when looking for a job.

The five golden rules 

1. Work from home, but safely 

So that the home office does not become a security gap, strict data protection requirements are required. Communication should only take place via a VPN connection. Regular software updates, virus protection programs and firewalls also offer additional security.

2. Help for self-management

Managers play a central role in the home office because they have to provide comprehensive information, clearly communicate tasks and, under certain circumstances, adapt processes. 

3. Discipline protects

Work and private life should definitely be separated. This applies not only to the reliable fulfilment of tasks and adherence to deadlines, but vice versa. Because homework should not degenerate into overtime or constant availability. So, don't let Netflix distract you or sit at your desk until late at night. And never forget the importance of movement!

4. At home, in a team

Regular virtual meetings help to maintain communication with colleagues and to simplify the workflow. During the video conference, care should be taken to present yourself well. Neither the pyjamas, the neglected kitchen, or the raging children leave a good impression on the boss or colleagues.

5. Dot the i's, cross the t's

From occupational safety obligations to accident insurance protection, there is also a lot to consider legally and to clarify regulatory in advance; so that all sides can work together with a clear conscience and feeling.

Thonet design classics in the home office

Space to think and work – the ideal home office

While the design space in the office is just between flower pots and family photos, the home office reveals completely new perspectives. However, there are also challenges, because not everyone has the right space and options in the drawer – with enough space, enough light, all kinds of technical equipment and wonderful tranquillity. For this reason, employees and employers should think in advance about the needs and the requirements of the job. Thoughts that are worthwhile in the long term, after all, the home office actually seems to be the crisis-proof office of the future in broad professional fields.

In search of the sacred place

The key to the home office, in addition to the technology that should be provided by the employer, is the perfect place. Is there perhaps a separate room that can be converted? Or does a part of the apartment have to be transformed into a workplace in no time at all? Where is it not only quiet, but also bright and friendly enough? And is the telephone reception and Wifi connectivity guaranteed?

The basics

Once this first individual step in the search for a location has been completed, it is all about the equipment. Even if the idea of ​​doing business from your bed sounds like a film, in reality you still need a table or the best desk. With space for the workstation, i.e. a laptop, one or more screens and enough storage space for documents and sketches. Whether a simple kitchen chair or a multifunctional swivel chair should accompany the working day is not just a matter of taste, but also a question of comfort. If you often work at home, you should definitely choose an ergonomic model to protect your back and health.

An office in your own style

Should your own workplace be reduced and kept clear so that you can concentrate better? Or would you prefer a cozy place with lots of plants and a lounge chair for making phone calls and thinking? Do you need storage space in the form of roll containers or shelves? Or maybe even modular systems that can be flexibly transformed and expanded and adapted to different living and working situations? Are pin boards helpful to visualize processes or mood boards? Which light creates a positive mood? And do you prefer natural and sustainable materials or do you get durable surfaces and special effects? Not to forget the colour concept!

A forward-looking model full of possibilities

It is crucial that you feel comfortable in your own office. Because a pleasant working atmosphere not only affects our creativity and productivity, but also our health. An improvised workplace may work for a while, but in the long run it will not meet the requirements. This no longer only affects employees who feel increasingly uncomfortable over time, but also the employer. With regular home work, occupational health and safety regulations must be complied with and even checked if necessary – from the correct screen distance and sufficient lighting to the ergonomics of the office furniture. If the home office is a long-term concept, the appropriate equipment should be considered together. While some companies not only equip their employees with the necessary technology and office materials, but also with the appropriate furniture, others build on their own initiative. As with all topics, communication is the be-all and end-all. Because together changes create new opportunities and future-proof solutions – in every place and in every room.


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