Even before the pandemic closed our offices, working from home has been on the rise. Remote working is a popular benefit for employers to offer their staff: in fact, 8.7 million people in the UK said that they had worked from home pre-COVID (ONS), which is just less than 30% of the workforce. That figure grew to nearly half (46%) during the pandemic (ONS).
COVID-19 aside, remote working may be so popular because there are many advantages for both employers and employees. Business owners can enjoy increased productivity and employee retention, and for their workers it can mean all the comforts of home — and no daily commute!
But as more of us work where we live on a potentially permanent basis, we need to be sure we’re doing so in the right environment to stay motivated. A laptop balanced on your knee in front of the TV won't allow you to do your best work, and post-COVID, we need to make sure we have a designated space in our homes designed with productivity in mind. A home office conversion in your loft space could be just the ticket.
A converted loft is the perfect place for an office. It’s a separate, secluded area away from distractions, and it's usually the place in the home that gets the most natural light, providing you with perfect working conditions. A conversion also means you don't have to give up a bedroom or living room to work remotely, and if your situation does change, you can easily use your home office as a wellbeing-boosting hobby room.
If you're interested in the long-term benefits, statistics show that a home office is now one of the most desirable features property hunters are looking out for. According to RightMove, there has been a 326% jump in use of terms ’office’, ‘workspace’ and ‘working from home’ in property listings. So, with a simple and cost-effective loft conversion, you could add value to your property and make more money down the line when you choose to sell.
So, whether you're still planning your loft conversion or are wondering what best to do with the liveable space you have up there, let’s dive in with our top tips for creating a comfy home office in your loft.
In this guide, we'll cover:
A big challenge when designing your home workplace is to make sure you have enough space to comfortably perform your duties, especially if you have a small loft space to work with. Sometimes, awkward shapes and a lack of headroom may be restrictive to your office layout.
Fortunately, your loft space must fulfil certain head-height requirements in order for your loft conversion to go ahead, so you should have enough room to work comfortably. Otherwise, you can consider options such as a dormer conversion or a storey extension to get the height you need for your home office if you have a very tiny loft.
When turning your converted loft into an office, you should begin by finding the right place for the most important pieces of furniture first — your office chair and desk. Then, you can move onto the less important aspects of your new office, such as storage. When these have been decided, you’ll be in a good position to place additional furniture, depending on the remaining available space.
Your desk needs to be in the most comfortable part of your room in terms of space, light, and temperature. You should also consider whether your chosen location has access to power points for your computer, lamp, and other electrical elements, plus enough room for you to get in and out of your desk chair easily. Remember that ergonomic chairs are recommended for working for long periods of time, as they can support your spine properly. This can improve posture and help with back pain and RSI, associated with office working.
Rather than taking up valuable furniture space with drawers, cupboards, and cabinets, look for bespoke storage solutions that can be built into the low or narrow areas of your loft, known as 'dead space'. Commonly, the available spaces for storage are either side of the door, or under the lowest points of the sloping ceiling where furniture is difficult to fit. Though made to order, you can often find perfectly good budget solutions for bespoke storage, which are ideal for those working to a tight budget.
The beauty of working from home in your loft is that you can customise the space to suit your requirements entirely. So, depending on the nature of your work, you can incorporate the right features and furniture you need to get things done. In addition to your desk and chair, think about what else you need to work comfortably from home. For example, you may benefit from additional features like:
While your office space should be focussed on features and furniture that motivate you to do the best work you can, it's important you include some home comforts as well, such as a cosy seating or recreational area. These can make sure you're managing your energy levels properly and can improve your productivity — as well as your wellbeing.
We all know that light is key for both health and productivity, and sunlight is unbeatable for putting us in the mood to work. This is because natural light can make us feel more alert and focussed, but it can also improve our mood (Healthline). So, not only will your cognitive function be improved with a light and airy environment, but you may actually enjoy working more too!
The good news is that your loft is perfectly placed to make the most of sunlight (as well as provide the best view), particularly if you opt for multiple roof windows. In fact, your loft is often the part in the house with access to the most natural light, so there are few better options.
Another benefit of increased daylight means any houseplants will thrive, and plants are another proven motivator for office workers as well as contributors to improved air quality (PsycNET). So, your new loft office is the perfect place to add some beautiful plants too.
When selecting your new roof windows, consider all the options available and find a style that delivers everything you need. To work comfortably, you should let in lots of productivity-boosting light, so a roof window that offers maximum glazing area is important. But sometimes you’ll also need shade, for example during hot weather, or at the times of the day when the angle of the sun may interfere with your computer screen. Remember that FAKRO offer a huge range of perfectly designed and easy to install roof window blinds that can help you customise your lightscape and provide perfect working conditions.
When planning your office layout, try to avoid placing any furniture between you and your windows to ensure you get the most natural light possible. You should also prioritise shiny rather than matte finishes when selecting furniture, as these can help reflect sun beams throughout your room which helps open it up, transforming it into a great place to work.
One of the oft forgotten parts of installing windows is to consider the reach. It's important to factor the reach of your windows into your loft design, as they might be situated behind your new desk and be difficult to open and close. FAKRO roof windows come with their handle conveniently situated at the bottom, in easy reach ready to deliver fresh air when you need a boost.
You also need to think about the level of security your windows offer your new office. Even a basic computer set-up is comprised of valuable components, which could be targeted by thieves. Not only will insecure windows make your office goods easier to steal, but it opens up a risk to the rest of your home below. This is where a FAKRO roof window can help, as they offer the very highest standards of security. These windows feature the topSafe® system, and deliver unique reinforced elements to the handle, keep-plate, and hinges for unrivalled security and peace of mind.
While natural light is best, you should still make sure you have an adequate lighting system for after the sun sets, or very cloudy days. It's always recommended to have multiple illumination options and layers of light, from ambient sources such as spotlights, to focussed task lighting from a standing or desk lamp. That way, you can create a more natural lightscape and customise how light or dark the room is to suit your mood and working style.
Consider the sources of your light too. LED lightbulbs are a great option for home offices because they give off clean light, don't overheat as much as other bulbs, and they're thought to be better for the environment. That means less distractions for you and more alertness for tackling projects, even in the evening.
While you want to provide the most work-centric space possible with your home office, taking regular breaks is a huge help to both your mental health and your productivity. For example, your eyes can become strained after staring at computer screen or documents all day, so it's important to have something else to look at. One of the advantages of having your desk close to your roof windows is that you can simply look out of them and enjoy the view, soothing your eyes and giving your brain a bit of a break from your project.
Stretching and moving to make yourself a cup of coffee is another way to take a short break and give your eyes a rest. And, having options for making a brew closer to your new workstation may come in handy — especially first thing on a morning, or when deadlines are pressing. So, you may want to think about building a small kitchen area in your loft to prepare coffees and lunches.
In addition, how about a cosy seating area? Here, you can relax with your coffee without being tempted to just hang the washing out or fix that squeaking door that’s been annoying you for a while now. Don’t forget to include energy boosters such as biscuits, fruit, and other snacks which will help you beat a mid-afternoon slump!
If you’re lucky with the shape and space of your loft, you can even check to see if you can install an en-suite for even more convenience. By keeping everything that you need close at hand, you’ll be more able to focus and stay productive. So, think about things that motivate you and consider incorporating them into your loft design. Some people may enjoy having a reading nook or small library, a gaming area, an indoor garden, or an aquarium to help them relax and refocus.
Environment can contribute greatly towards our mood and wellbeing, including how motivated we feel at work. When decorating your home office, you should choose a theme or colour scheme that you find inspires you to work well in your field. Here are some examples:
Of course, you can decorate your office however you like, as long as you have the right tools in place to do your job. But, for more of the latest interior design trends, check out our guide.
We hope the tips here can help you transform your loft into a beautiful and productive home office. By focussing on creating a great work environment with lots of natural light, you can stay positive, work effectively, and add lots of value to your home too! If you're looking for more options for improving your property, why not read our guide to home improvements that add value?
At RW4Y, we have a wide range of options for your loft conversion to suit your style of working. From roof windows and skylights, to loft ladders and more, we're sure to have the right solutions for you. Remember, you can always chat with FAKRO about your next project, or discover more helpful guides, advice, and inspiration in our knowledge hub.
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