In April 2020, almost half of people in employment in the UK did at least some of their working week at home. This is compared to just 5 per cent in the previous year . With the trend for home working set to continue as we look to 2021, Elizabeth Briggs, category manager – sliding, room & building at Häfele, describes how joiners can create the perfect home office for their customers, even in the smallest of spaces.
The need for a dedicated home office space is becoming a pressing issue for much of the UK’s working population. While the dining table was fine as a temporary measure, after months of sore backs, disturbed video calls and a lack of distinction between the work and home environment, many people are now looking to create a more permanent space.
The desire for a separate space, combined with unforeseen disposable income saved from travel costs or cancelled summer holidays, means many joiners are seeing an upsurge in requests. Fortunately, there are lots of solutions available that can help create a perfect office space, whatever space is available.
Location, location, location
While the homeowner may have an idea of where to locate their new working environment, joiners can add value with lots of ideas that meet and surpass the customer’s brief.
If the home has a small footprint, or the homeowner needs a space for just a day or so a week, a more temporary solution might be called for. Conversely, they may wish to re-jig a room within their property to create a larger, spacious area to work from every day.
For the more temporary approach, or where space is at a premium, solutions such as the Accuride 0116 Sliding Track System are perfect. This ball bearing mounted carriage system has a huge 360kg load, meaning it can be used to create extendable, pull table top workspaces with ease. Likewise, Häfele’s table top swivel fitting sets can also be used to allow one piece of furniture to have two functions, for example a sideboard becomes an L-shaped work station.
Thinking about a more permanent approach, the natural choice would be to re-fit an existing room as a home office. However, a spare room is a luxury many homeowners don’t have. Here, sliding and pocket door systems can be used to allow clients to have the dedicated space they need, while not sacrificing a room in their home.
Using sliding door or pocket door systems, homeowners can partition off an open plan kitchen or dining area for example, making an office space that’s there when they need it but can be hidden away at 5.30pm. These innovative systems also have an added space-saving bonus as they take up around 1270mm less operating space per door versus a traditional hung door.
The Hawa Concepta pivot sliding system is one such example. This clever solution hides away within a wall recess and doesn’t need a floor channel, making it the perfect concealed option. As well as being a great solution for the homeowner, it’s also designed for easy fitting with all adjustments carried out from the front, and thanks to a unique scissor technology, it’s highly versatile too.
The system can carry up to 2.6m in height and a maximum door weight of 50kg. This allows joiners to create a substantial hidden office space for their customers.
If needing an easier retrofit partition option, joiners can recommend the Hawa Junior 80/b top hung system. This solution can be used to create a sliding interior door to divide a room and hide away a working space when not in use.
A further challenge many joiners will face is how to create a quiet working space for their customers, especially when multiple members of a household are working from home or the space is close to a playroom, for example. Häfele’s Slido Classic 80-S is the perfect solution, as the sliding door system boasts increased soundproofing levels. Giving between a 28 to 32db reduction, the product can be combined with doors with a soundproofing core to make for a quieter workspace.
Building the perfect office
Once the location and set up of the office is agreed, the next job joiners may face is creating a functional working environment for their customers.
The saying ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ is especially true when homeworking; having a clear, clutter free space helps with productivity and mental wellbeing. Joiners can help in this department by working with their customers to consider two factors in particular: cable management and storage.
Häfele offers a range of cable management solutions, ranging from cable organisers and outlets, to trunking. Handy pop up powerdocks are also a great way to keep spaces practical but clear and tidy as they can be incorporated into a desk or hidden in a drawer.
In terms of storage, Häfele offers a wide range of options including the Schuco Smartcube shelving system that can be fitted in endless configurations. Hafele also offers a vast portfolio of the highest quality drawer runners, including our newly launched Matrix Box P drawer system. Matrix P has top, tool-free adjustment as well as easy installation and removal for easier fitting. These drawers can also incorporate an optional lockable function.
When making a bespoke drawer system, joiners can also use Häfele to Order, which has recently been extended to feature a bespoke timber drawer service. Through this, joiners can submit their requirements and Häfele will supply handmade, high grade solid timber drawers in a choice of wood types, complete with drawer runners.
Adding the finishing touches
Finishing touches such as lighting are an important factor when creating a practical home office for customers. Lighting has traditionally been an area that joiners would steer away from, however, thanks to innovation in this area, it’s becoming easier for joiners to provide the full package.
Loox by Häfele has been developed specifically for the furniture industry. A simple, modular plug and play system, joiners can easily incorporate it into office furniture designs to create a practical, well-lit working space for customers. The system also features modular USB charging stations and audio systems that can be integrated into designs with ease creating a true 3D experience.
As joiners find themselves quoting and completing home office projects more regularly, they can be reassured that there is a whole host of clever, easy to use products and systems out there, helping them create the ideal working environment for their customers, whatever their needs.