Creating the perfect home office: 5 top tips for avoiding the biscuit tin

At first working from home was a solution. It was a way to stay safe, follow the Government’s coronavirus guidance, and avoid the daily commute.

However, for many it’s starting to become a problem. Meetings are creeping into the diary during what would have been the time you were reading a novel on the train. You’re sitting at your desk for longer. The kids may have gone back to school, but there’s mess everywhere, and you haven’t worked out where to store everything before little Jamie colours in the latest invoice you were due to send to a client. And let’s not get started on the ever present biscuit tin and washing pile.

Here are five top tips to help you carve out a home office that is productive and stress relieving, rather than stress inducing:

  1. Space: Easier said than done. Whether you’re lucky enough to have a room, a corner in a bedroom, or even the end of the kitchen table, earmark a zone that is your office – that no-one else touches. There are some great space saving desks, or with a bit of imagination, customised solutions that pull out or flip down can be created to suit your home.
  2. Ergonomics: Industrial diseases and bad backs aren’t issues to be taken likely in the office, so why should it be any difference at home? Try to set your home office up so there is as little strain on your body as possible. Your office should be able to support you, or if you work for yourself, there is plenty of online advice available.
  3. Storage: Luckily, in this technological age, the physical in-tray isn’t as full as it used to be, but inevitably there will still be paperwork and tools of the trade to house. Whether you favour drawers, boxes or shelving, there are plenty of solutions to suit the office space you’ve earmarked.
  4. Design: How your office looks is an important element of productivity. If you’re able to create a calm or energising environment, you’ll be better able to focus on the task at hand. Even if you can’t redecorate, give some thought to the sort of desk space you’d like to work in – you’re going to be spending a lot of time there. A bunch of flowers on your desk, or a colourful noticeboard, may be all you need.
  5. Mindset: I once knew a guy who worked from home, and every morning he would leave his house at the same time, walk round the block and return home. This “commute” allowed him to clear his mind and get his head in the game. Whether it’s a cup of coffee after school drop off, or a quick skim of the paper, find a routine that enables you to have a bit of cerebral space, and trigger a new commute reflex. Once we’ve taken our journey to work, we know we have to work, so what’s your new routine?

If you need help creating your perfect home office I’d love to hear from you. My name is Helen McClure and I run a small interior design studio called At Home by Design, near Godalming. To read more about my design story or say hello please visit or email


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