Create the ideal workplace – in your own home

working from home

working from homeHave you been offered the chance to work from home by your employer? Perhaps as the demands of your role become more flexible, during the school holidays, or maybe in conjunction with the upcoming 2012 London Olympics?

It seems more than ever, we are being handed the option or even encouraged to stay at home this year. In fact, between 1996 and 2006 the nation's 'at-home' workforce effectively doubled, according to Office for National Statistics data.

Some employers in and around the capital are also recommending the practice this year, with productivity set to suffer from huge build-ups of traffic on the roads and overcrowding on the bus and rail networks.

So what is the best way to ensure you manage to recreate that office feeling in your own home? After all, once the kids have spent the evening running around and leaving their usual clutter about the place, it can be hard to detach yourself from family life for eight hours and focus like you would in the workplace.

Luckily Stephen Nelson, a home designer at John Lewis, offered some basic tips to home workers when talking to the Independent recently.

He was keen to stress to working mums and dads that a laptop on a cushion does not constitute the ideal working set-up, and that with just the tiniest bit of planning, you should be able to leave the thought of dirty pots and pans behind and get on with, well, whatever it is you're meant to be doing!

At the very minimum, a productive, comfortable workspace needs some sort of desk area, good lighting, storage and a chair that won't cause any discomfort, Stephen advises.

In addition, a landline telephone (which shouldn't be a problem) and some vaguely pleasing visual stimulation are required - he recommends getting as far away from that kitchen as possible!

It is not even necessary to have a whole room dedicated to your studies if that is not an option, and Stephen assures us that even the most modest of homes will have the potential for a suitable workspace.

In fact, cultivating a fairly discrete office space will not only enhance concentration, but help you switch-off come 'home-time' - without the reminders of files and folders knocking about the place.

Being close to a good source of natural light is "optimum," says our work-from-home guru, who claims that dingy corners are "bad for the soul". Plus, window gazing can serve as an effective screen break.

Dressing tables can double up as desks, and bureaus can be transformed from work to play with the flip of a lid, he added.

Here are some great tips on how to organise your workspace for under £10.