With so many of us working from home on various days during the week, having an appealing and practical area to work in has become one of the most desirable features in today’s rentals.
This article explores six ways to design a great workspace in a rental, whether you’re a landlord preparing to let a property, or an existing tenant furnishing their ideal home office.
1. Design an office to meet rental market demands
The trend in people working from home has been embraced by employees and employers alike in recent years. In May 2023, 39% of UK workers worked from home at some point during a seven day period. Meanwhile, Scotland reported the biggest rise in people working from home post-pandemic, and this pattern does not appear to be dampening down any time soon. With these figures, it’s no surprise that for both landlords and tenants, having a well-designed workspace in a rental home is a popular option.
For landlords, tapping into this trend is key and means designing a great workplace to boost your rental returns. This is advisable if you want to attract professional tenants, working couples and students; hybrid workers are likely to be higher earners which makes them a rental audience worth targeting. From a tenant’s perspective, your focus will be to create an office that is comfortable to work in and promotes productivity.
2. Use space in the property effectively
Whatever the size of your rental property, there are some great ways to design a functional office that fits perfectly into the room you plan to work in most of the time. Create a space with natural light coming in from a window to reduce eye strain and install blinds to stop glare. Position your screen so windows are not directly behind it. Measure the dimensions before committing to a location and choose an office location with a view which is more appealing.
Pick a quiet spot in the home which might be a spare bedroom or a designated corner of the living room. As a renter, you may feel limited in the changes you can make, but there are plenty of affordable and temporary tweaks you can do to optimise your workspace. Make sure there is enough room for your desk and chair, as well as storage and accessories.
3. Add storage for an organised workstation
Use vertical space for shelving to hold files, books, and supplies. Floating shelves are ideal for rentals since they don’t require drilling into walls.
You can also be creative with storage, with cool boxes or shelves for frequently used items or trunks that can double as extra seating. Invest in drawer organisers and recycling, and paper waste bins to keep your desk tidy.
4. Create an office with comfort in mind
With remote workers spending hours at their home-office desk, it is important to configure your design for comfort and ergonomic equipment to make it a healthy place to work where possible. Standards can slip when you work from home without an office manager to oversee whether you have an optimised desk chair, or are not working with a glare on the screen. You can reduce glare on your screen by adjusting the angle and using an anti-glare filter.
Using a desk that is positioned at the right height is key for safeguarding your tenants or yourself if you’re renting the property, against potential neck sprains, repetitive wrist injuries or back issues. Test different desk and chair heights to optimise them for comfort and posture. Consider using a standing desk adapter if you already have a standard desk. Include a comfortable desk chair with an adjustable height and good arm support with an added ergonomic foot rest if needed.
5. Design with stylish stationery
Choose stationery and accessories that bring you joy when working. Invest in quality letterhead, notebooks, pens, and other items to personalise your space. Incorporate coordinating accessories like an in/out box, pen holder, and desk calendar to keep your workspace neatly organised. Displaying visually appealing planners and calendars can help you plan your days and weeks well. Liven up monotonous paperwork using colourful folders, dividers and post-it notes.
Certain tech gadgets can greatly improve your home office’s functionality. A wireless keyboard and mouse allow flexibility and can reduce desk clutter with fewer wires. Noise-cancelling headphones help you focus by filtering out background distractions in your home.
If you like listening to the radio or need to keep ahead of news for your job, smart speakers like the Amazon Echo enable you to play music or listen to podcasts as well as set audio reminders and calendars. A document scanner is useful for digitising papers and receipts for easy organisation and storage. Meanwhile, mobile phone stands are great for viewing documents.
6. Personalise your workspace
For landlords who want to attract professional tenants or long-term student renters, it’s important to create an attractive standard work space that will appeal to a large net of renters. With the home office being a real perk in a rental property these days, make sure you highlight your home office with standout photos if you’re preparing the property to rent out and at the early stages of marketing it.
For tenants who have moved or who have just started a new remote-working role, you might want to personalise your home office before you get stuck into that huge pile in your in-tray or inbox. Framing and displaying unique maps, signs or prints related to role or your industry, can add a personalised flair to your home office.
Likewise, you can incorporate small potted plants to add visual interest or pick practical accessories like a keyboard and desk organiser that suit your needs and style. Use trendy desk lamps or string lights to customise the look and feel of a new workspace too.
With some creativity and strategic additions, you can carve out a productive and comfortable workspace within your rental home. Focus on multifunctional furniture, well-placed storage, and personalised touches to design a workspace that suits your needs and personality. A thoughtfully designed workspace can make all the difference in how effectively you work from home.