New research from online furniture retailer, Furniture Choice reveals Brits spend a third of the working week, working from home, with one in five (21%) claiming they feel it makes them more productive.
If you’re partial to this new way of working and prefer the comfort and flexibility of your home, there’s much to consider! Not only do you have to think about comfort, style and location, you also have to consider practicality, space and of course, WiFi connection.
We’ve created a list of must haves if you run a business or regularly work from home.
- The ideal home office
While it might seem like a given, creating the best home office for you is key when working remotely. It needs to be a space you can call your own and one which encourages productivity.
Whether your home already has a dedicated room you can use, or there’s space to convert or extend to create the ideal office, make sure there is actual practical working space available.
Key things to consider when looking to adapt a space into a home office, are its proximity to an internet point in case of WiFi issues, and where it is in the house. Try to keep it separate enough that you can avoid distractions.
- Other adaptable work spaces
Let’s be honest, there’s going to be times you want to escape your home office – no matter how great it is.
The best way to ensure you don’t lose concentration and productivity when you go into another room, is to make other rooms adaptable working spaces too.
A light and airy kitchen is the perfect room for this. With some simple furniture and accessory choices such as a table for a desk, double glazing windows to prevent noise interruptions and storage for all your notes and equipment, the kitchen can quickly become an ideal place to get some work done.
- Temperature control
If you’re trying to crunch some numbers or be creative then there’s nothing worse than being too cold or too warm. The best thing about working from home is that you don’t have to worry about other people’s preferences.
One study* has found conditions between 21 and 25 degrees are best for productivity, so if you’re planning to convert a garage, be sure to look into the correct insulation to avoid freezing in winter. For optimum control, install air conditioning in your new home office for complete temperature comfort.
- Natural light
Keep yourself alert and find a home that let’s in natural light. Picking a room with large windows will allow you to welcome in natural light and drastically improve your working space.
A good way of allowing extra light is installing skylights, making your new decor light and breezy.
- Visible greenery
When viewing the room you think could be your home office, look around to see if you can see greenery outside. According to research, workers with plants showed 15% higher productivity than those without.**
If greenery isn’t visible, try to envision potted plants and hanging baskets in the space. It’s important for your motivation to have these in your new office, so make sure you don’t compromise on space in this particular room.
- Open spaces
We’ve already established the importance for a spacious home office, but having other open spaces in the home is just as valuable. Think about the other rooms you can work in, like the adaptable kitchen or living room – are they spacious enough for you to not feel cramped and enclosed?
An open plan living space and spacious back garden are important things if you’re going to be cooped up at home all day.
If you’re a home worker, consider these key features in your home in order to ensure optimum productivity and focus.
Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture Choice said: “Working from home can be incredibly rewarding, and according to our research, a productive choice – but only if the surroundings are right.
“Creating an environment that strikes a balance between comfy and clutter-free can be difficult, using these tips in your house search will make the process as seamless as possible.”
For more home office inspiration, check out Furniture Choice’s guide here.
Ahead of expected IPO, Deliveroo recruits Next’s Wolfson to board
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Deliveroo said on Tuesday it has beefed up its board ahead of an expected initial public offering this year with the appointment of Simon Wolfson, the veteran boss of clothing retailer Next, as a non-executive director.
The food delivery company said on Sunday it had raised a further $180 million from existing investors, including minority shareholder Amazon, in a move that values the business at more than $7 billion.
Deliveroo is set to hold an IPO in the coming months, in what would be the biggest new share issue in London for three years.
Wolfson’s appointment comes after Deliveroo named Claudia Arney as the company’s first chair in November.
Deliveroo founder and CEO Will Shu said Wolfson would bring “great knowledge and insight” to the board.
Wolfson has been Next’s CEO since 2001.
He is also a peer of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, sitting in the upper house of parliament.
(Reporting by James Davey and Paul Sandle; editing by Sarah Young and Pravin Char)
Dollar drops as traders prepare for Yellen to talk up stimulus
By Tommy Wilkes
LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar dropped on Tuesday as investors prepared for U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen to talk up the need for major fiscal stimulus and commit to a market-determined exchange rate when she testifies later in the day.
The dollar’s fall came after a 2% rise so far in 2021, a gain which caught off guard many investors who had bet on a further decline following its weakness in 2020.
The dollar has been helped in January by rising U.S. Treasury yields and some investor caution about the strength of the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. But most analysts are sticking with their calls for a weaker dollar from here.
“On fiscal policy, Yellen is to suggest that the US `act big’ and make use of the low borrowing costs. On the dollar, it should be reiterated that the new administration is committed to the market-determined exchange rate. Both are in line with our weak USD outlook,” ING analysts wrote.
President-elect Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package.
The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported Yellen, who is appearing before the Senate Finance Committee, will affirm a more conventional commitment to market-set currency rates in her Senate testimony on Tuesday.
That contrasts with outgoing President Donald Trump, who often railed against dollar strength.
The dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of other currencies, dropped 0.3% to 90.472, but it was still above the its more than two-and-a-half-year low of 89.206 touched at the start of this month.
With the dollar weakening, the euro gained, rising 0.5% to $1.2132.
The single currency was unaffected by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s facing a confidence vote to stay in office. The result vote is due after 1800 GMT.
More volatile and commodity-linked currencies, such as the Australian dollar, also benefited from the weaker U.S. currency, with the Aussie up 0.3% at $0.7707.
Rising commodity prices in recent months have boosted currencies of countries with large commodity exports, such as Australia and Canada.
“We continue to see scope for further gains in commodity-related currencies in the year ahead, which should benefit as well from the strengthening global recovery once vaccines are rolled out more widely,” said Lee Hardman, an analyst at MUFG.
Sterling rose 0.2% to $1.3620.
The dollar rose against the yen and was last up 0.3% to 104.02 yen, although still consolidating in a narrow range after reaching a one-month high of 104.40 last week.
Emerging-market currencies were mostly higher but were some way off recent highs.
(Editing by Gareth Jones, Larry King)
Creating a people-centric workplace centered on flexibility, experience and wellbeing
By Anne Marie Ginn, Head of Video Collaboration, Logitech EMEA
The light is appearing at the end of the long, dark tunnel that has been 2020. With vaccination schemes now underway, we can (albeit cautiously) dare to dream of a general return to relative normality. Yet in the wake of the pandemic, neither our personal liaves nor our work lives will ever be quite the same.
A wholesale change to working practices, and the nature of how and where we work, is set to be one of the big lasting legacies of 2020. Cal Henderson, co-founder of Slack, recently came forward to say he thinks that the age of the office is coming to an end. In a less extreme view, AWS’ CEO Andy Jassy predicts we’ll see the rise of ‘hot offices’, where employees will mostly work remotely, only coming into the office when they need to work on specific projects. And Microsoft founder Bill Gates predicts the age of business travel is over, with only 50% of business trips set to resume.
As the office evolves it’s clear employers will have to adapt their spaces in line with new, post-pandemic wellbeing and workplace trends, and create an office centred around “super experiences” that makes it a destination in itself.
So, in what ways will working practices change, and how do we see the physical workspace evolving?
Re-focussing on the employee
Ultimately, the pandemic has re-focussed the discussion on how employees can best work, and how teams are spending their time. It has also given employers the opportunity to ensure they’re in a better position to help people find a good work life balance.
Yet even after Coronavirus, it’s clear we won’t be working from home forever. The UK government says work from home orders may stay in place until April 2021 and with this in mind a flexible, and hybrid, way of working is set to stay. Employees feel that way too – a recent Simply Communicate survey found only 2% want to go back to the full week in the office.
With the digital tools available and the experience gained over the past 10 months, the idea of everyone being in the office everyday seems old fashioned and unnecessary. People don’t want to travel into an office to then just be sat at their desk for eight hours. What they want is to connect with colleagues, to learn, to be inspired and to share with others.
Whilst getting your head down to work is important, social time and collaboration is equally valued, and central to general wellbeing. For many employees, their work is central to their sense of self, their meaning and purpose, and after a long period of being at home alone, they’ll be yearning for those in-person, face-to-face experiences. This should be placed at the forefront of modern office culture and design.
An office designed for the people working in it
Offices will become destinations unto themselves – for collaboration, innovation and strengthening team relationships – and less about desk-based or task-based work. The space should also be vibrant and different.
These offices should offer a mixture of meeting rooms and open operational space, which will promote gathering for teamwork, collaboration and companywide networking events. At the same time, smaller collaborative working areas, enabled by video, will facilitate break away group work for those both physically present and working remotely. Banks of individual cubicles will disappear, and instead we’ll see occasional, dedicated concentration pods for when employees need to get their heads down between meetings. And how about relaxation pods should employees want a quick break and recharge?
Beyond work, offices also need to become social destinations in themselves. A recent JLL study found that nearly half of employees hope their office will prioritise social spaces, such as coffee areas, lounges or outdoor terraces and gardens. Common areas play a central role in nurturing informal work relationships, which improve development opportunities and help career outlook – especially crucial for people early in their work life. These spaces allow employees to maintain the inspiration, energy and social connection that comes with belonging to a physical team and environment – something which many found a real challenge to maintain virtually during the pandemic.
Flexible schedules and shared spaces will also lead to a “rightsizing” of office space, where organisations will rethink their real estate, in what will undoubtedly save costs. Some are even predicting that we’ll see the creation of an office ‘ecosystem’, which will comprise of employees working from offices, houses, and third places such as cafes, coworking spaces, and libraries.
Tech and video as the glue for hybrid working
While all of the above will support flexibility, functionality and employee wellbeing, for it to all work it needs high-end peripherals, such as Logitech’s MX Series of high-performance mice and keyboards, and collaboration software to pull it together. This tech needs to help us and not take us away from people, helping our collective mental health in environments that could be potentially isolating.
This human centred approach to work collaboration requires non-intrusive, seamless video conferencing and productivity tools. Through each space in the office, from large town hall style areas, through to smaller huddle rooms, personal workspaces and even satellite offices in the suburbs, these video solutions and smart productivity technologies can help to bring together a team as one.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of high-quality video tools available that can fit the needs of the modern worker within each individual environment. From large 4K cameras with the ability to pan, tilt and zoom to focus on an individual speaking within a large room, to wide angled huddle room cameras for smaller groups, and webcams with integrated high-quality microphones and optics to make sure remote workers are seen and heard just as clearly as if they were physically in the office.
The hybrid opportunity
The hybrid office presents itself with an opportunity to make work better for employees, while creating a more committed and motivated workforce. There’s also potential to save money through reduced office related overheads.
Tied together by smart technologies such as video, this hybrid office has the potential to make employees happier, more motivated and equipped to do their best work. Video will pivot from being the technology we used to survive during the pandemic to the one we use to thrive.
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