By Vanessa Warne, Furniture Category Director, VOW
The lines between home and work are constantly blurring. With more people taking work home from the office, working remotely or on the go between sites, the SOHO (small or home office) trend is on the rise.
Giving employees more flexibility and potentially a better work-life balance, mobile working also offers benefits to businesses who can extend the resource pool in their search for new talent, by relaxing geographical constraints. It also gives organisations the ability to expand their scope without needing to increase office space.
- Do products fit?
Products for the home office need to be compact, non-intrusive, complement existing decor and fulfil storage needs. SOHO workers can choose from desk and storage units that feature clean and contemporary lines and can fit a home office or study. Single bench desking is often ideal for the home office as its modular configuration allows total flexibility and greater access, thanks to recessed legs.
People looking to purchase mobile workstations, home working desks and printer storage furniture should be mindful of these products’ durability and any assembly requirements to ensure they’re making the best choice.
- Employers’ duty of care
Employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for remote workers as they do for site based ones. This duty of care for all workers, wherever they are, means employers should carry out health and safety risk assessments at the start to ensure workstations are wholly suitable and office equipment is fit for purpose. Trailing cables should be avoided to minimise the risk of accidents and electrical equipment should be tested, certified and maintained just as it would be in any workplace. Where applicable, employees should be trained to work and use any equipment correctly.
- Spec according to usage
Is the employee is working on a computer for long periods of time or only occasionally? Appropriate products need to specified, for instance, a posture chair for the all-day user and a lighter SOHO chair for occasional use at home.
- Think flooring
Flooring is often overlooked, but is important. End users should be advised on floor protection such as chair mats, which protect carpeted, wooden or laminate flooring.
- Keep it tidy
Home offices can be kept neat with desks that offer built in cable management, or with the use of appropriate cable management accessories.