This year has caused a lot of us to rethink how we use our homes … what we want and need from our living spaces. The Coronavirus lockdowns have meant that nearly half the total UK workforce has had to work from home; some for a few days, many for far longer. The figures are staggering. This April, around 47% of the UK workforce was Working from Home (WFH) compared to just 5% in 2019.
As a result, up and down the land, we are now trying to optimise our homes for WFH, alongside all the usual functions. One room, above all others, is bearing the burden: the kitchen.
Here, Wren Kitchens Design Director, Darren Watts, reveals some key tips for getting the kitchen WFH ready.
Evidence suggests that good lighting is key to productivity, and with the right lighting you can be more productive.
Research shows that people are more energised to work under spotlights because they are brighter. Indeed, nearly a third of Brits (31%) say that spotlights are the best for working. Naturally they are also an ideal choice for the kitchen, because they brightly illuminate food preparation and cooking areas. This supports the idea that it is best to set up shop for WFH either at a kitchen island or kitchen table.
Clean kitchen equals a clean mind. Cleanliness is exactly what you need when you’re trying to concentrate and be productive working from home.
Keep your kitchen surfaces as free of clutter as possible, and remove items from surfaces into the cupboards. You would never work from your office desk with a pile of dirty pans next to you, so you should treat your home office space with the same mindset.
Your kitchen has similar benefits as an office. It has tonnes of storage space and plenty of lighting. When working from home, use all these conveniences to optimise your space into a functional working environment.
Make use of your kitchen cupboard space, as it can hold printers or monitors when you’re cleaning up in the evening, as well as notepads, laptop chargers, and headphones. This means they are easily accessible during the working day, but will not be in your way when you’re trying to cook in the evening.
Your kitchen is as versatile as it is robust, so it can bounce into office mode during the day and back out again in the evening. Be creative with your kitchen space.
For example, you can use the tiles and cupboards as whiteboards to put up post it notes to remind you about meetings or, if you’re struggling with your posture, create your own standing desk by utilising the kitchen work tops. All of these can be cleared away to allow you to retain your title as the best family chef in the evening.
Productivity is not the only important thing, of course, with a worker’s wellbeing crucial in these times, especially as we approach winter. One of the problems with working from home is people feel they cannot switch off, having their place of work and relaxation under one roof. If you don’t have a designated office, the kitchen is the best alternative giving you space and light while keeping work away from your places of rest.
Switching to a warmer, dimmer light in the evenings can help to distinguish your kitchen during the working day and your kitchen when you’re off duty. Survey findings showed that a quarter of Brits said the right lighting does make a difference and improved their wellbeing, with 30% saying it helped them destress after work. Nearly half of respondents (48%) say that warm lighting improved their mood, so finding the right environment after work is just as important as your home office.