At Tollgard Studio, we’ve been designing ‘working from home’ into family life for as long as we can remember. Whether this means homework for the kids, or dedicated spaces for our clients to work from. Long before covid-19, home and work overlapped to such an extent that it’s a question of living that we always have to answer. For one client we called a dedicated work-space ‘mission control’ which meant a space for the kids timetables and family laptops. One of the problems from working from home is knowing when work is over. Create rules around when you stop using a shared space. Close the door to a dedicated home office when you have finished for the day.
Here are some tips from Monique and Staffan Tollgard on working from home, inspiration and insights into creating a comfortable and stimulation environment to work from.
ZONE – How do you zone spaces? We ‘heat map’ to find spaces that are underused. Spare bedrooms, dining rooms, empty spaces in the living room can all be acquired for a place to WFH.
SPACING & PLUGS – Find a place for a good sized-desk near a lot of plugs and natural light, and ideally a view. You need at least 1m, and ideally 1.2 to 1.6m of space.
LIGHTING – Choose the best light, office light is much more like daylight - a task light is important and access to daylight also.
TECH – Invest in a computer monitor to avoid bad posture associated with laptops. Consider audio privacy - headphones with a microphone for team calls.
SEATING – Invest in a good quality adjustable (ideally swivel chair) - not a hard kitchen chair for months. The relative height of desks / chairs and monitor are really important to get right. If you can’t get a good chair then consider a seat cushion that can help with posture. We really like VITRA chairs – consider how close you need to be to the desk as well. The Eames Vitra desk is a classic for keeps.
STORAGE – A trolley is great for storage or nice fabric or leather boxes that can be stacked away. Gubi shelves are great too and easy to install.
FURNISHINGS – Ligne Roset have a great desk that folds down from the wall with fabric on the outside so it looks lovely when folded up. Living Divani also do a great one called Fju make spaces work harder. Some console tables can double up as desks if you don’t have the depth – on a half landing for example. Not to have to work from the kitchen table as it’s a very ‘red’ space in the house. From Ikea, Made and Bo Concept there are a wealth of budget-friendly ideas. Try and find unique pieces of art – even work with your kids to create pieces together in Perspex boxes or print their work on aluminium to look more expensive than posters. Choose standard size frames and create a wall-scape. For more investment level pieces we love Vitra, Punt, Hermann Miller, Lema Selecta and Molteni modular units like the 505 to create walls of multi-tasking storage and expressions. The Porro Load it is another great desk that hangs from the wall and looks amazingly sleek.
VIEW – invest in a good piece of art to work at and work out whether you want your back to the wall (ninja-proof desk) or look towards the wall. Windows, fresh air.
KIDS CREATIVE/WORK SPACE – Magnetic wallpaper (or the backing behind it) is really interesting for us – especially for creative work. We’ve used Ikea curtain wires with pretty clips for kids art – this would work for inspiration images etc or to do lists at eye level.
We recommend if you are working when kids are at home, share your routine with them and make sure they know when you can’t be bothered. “We have a DO NOT DISTURB sign in red on my door at the moment.” – Monique Tollgard.