Working from home: Designing for the new normal

Remote work was once exclusive to business magnates and nomadic hedonists… Come 2019 and almost half of Australians work remotely in some capacity as employers and employees alike realise the benefits of flexible work arrangements. 

Speaking from my own experience as a freelancer I’ve relished in the flexibility and autonomy of remote work, but I’ve also endured firsthand the trials of such a lifestyle. We each thrive in different contexts though I have personally found that remote work can compromise work / life balance (more so than the most demanding of 9-5 roles) and that productivity is intrinsically affected by the environment in which you work.

The notion of working away at a coffee shop is idyllic but challenging and working from home can often feel isolating or distracting. I have come to realise, that the single most important success factor for remote work is creating a designated office or studio space.

...the single most important success factor for remote work is creating a designated office or studio space.

Having a separate area will allow you to psychologically and physically divide your professional and personal lives which is integral if you want any chance of work / life balance.  It also legitimises your professional practice and disconnects you from the distractions of home. 

As more and more of us take the leap or naturally progress into arrangements of remote work, Plyroom has applied steadfast approach of designing for a simpler way of life to the home office. For there’s no room in the house that will benefit more from good planning, minimalist furniture design and considered storage pieces… it affects our livelihood after all. When designing your own home studio or modern office, a clutter-free and minimalist space will eliminate distraction and optimise productivity. 

5 tips for working from home and designing a productive home office



As tempting as it is, don’t set up shop on the kitchen bench or living room table (see James Clear interviewed on the Psychology Podcast to understand how environment design plays a crucial role in habit change). A generous workstation or modern desk with storage will allow you to organise your stationery, objects, tech etc. whilst providing sufficient room to work. 


As stated in The Conversation, one British study identified that ‘bringing plants into workplace not only increased productivity by 15%, but also increased concentration and workplace satisfaction’. Plants positively correlate to self-esteem and mood, so when managing your work deadlines, stress and work, we welcome any mechanisms to reduce the tension. Take a read of our article, ‘5 Indoor Plants to Enhance Wellbeing’ to discover more.

The Stella Collective studio in Melbourne photographed by Peter Clarke via Yellow Trace.


Loose papers and stay pens plague focus and productivity. A clean space really does support a clear mind. Explore considered shelving and storage options such as our Shibui Large Shelf or Big Nest Storage Cabinet, each of which are practical in a home office (but are also appropriate for any other room in the house if work arrangements change over time).


Equip your space with adequate technology to ensure you can work seamlessly and productively each day (and avoid countless headaches). No one is immune to the odd genius bar appointment, but mandatories should include reliable Wi-Fi connection, an efficient laptop or computer and cloud-based storage so you can access files anywhere (all of the things we may have taken for granted when working in office). Productivity and project management applications like Asana or Harvest are non-essentials but certainly aid in the workday.

Kinfolk Magazine's Copenhagen studio via Yellow Trace.

Create ambience 

In addition to the basics, we also suggest a few small additions to cultivate a calm environment. A speaker for your favourite work playlist. A soy wax candle or diffuser with aromatherapy (like rosemary, peppermint or lemon oil) intended to support clarity and concentration.   

Need help cultivating a productive and balanced at home workspace? Discover Plyroom’s complete range of minimalist furniture for the modern office or request to speak with our in-house interior designer for advice.

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