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How great design can help hybrid working

The hybrid model of working looks likely to stay for the long term. Making some design changes can help you streamline this new approach to work, writes Anya Cooklin-Lofting

Sunday 06 March 2022 00:01 GMT
Nubo Desk, designed by GamFratesi for Ligne Roset
Nubo Desk, designed by GamFratesi for Ligne Roset (Ligne Roset)

A hybrid model of working has taken shape in many offices throughout the country, allowing staff to divide their time between laundry-intercepted projects and gossip-punctuated tasks. By that, of course, I mean that working only part-time in the office has become a new (rather comfortable) reality for many who, for all they knew, had committed to many more years on the relentless treadmill of daily commuting before the pandemic took hold.

However, I find there is a wider margin for organisational error with this structure. I love the way it frees up time, saves us money and limits the hours we spend on packed train carriages, but there have been countless mornings on the way to the office that my stomach has dropped, knowing full well that I missed something off the list (usually my lunchbox). So this week, I’m looking at ways to streamline and own the hybrid approach, making the journey between home, the office, the gym, post-work drinks and home again absolutely seamless. No surprises here, but it all comes down to great design.

First things first, an organised hybrid worker knows that the at-home office space is just as important for productivity and inspiration as the company office. It all starts with a great desk, and there are some fabulous options to discover that take space-saving really seriously. String Furniture, the 1949 utili-flair-ian shelving and storage company, has updated its collection of modular furniture with an add-in desk surface that affixes to its iconic shelving brackets. The String Work Desk allows String collectors and lovers of authentic Scandinavian design to use their preexisting shelving system in a new, handy way.

String Work Desk (String Furniture)

Habitat’s new Swivel Desk is also a home working winner. Its swivelling component means it can be tucked away after a day’s work, and it features so much nifty storage space that you don’t have to look at all your professional gubbins during your downtime. Another super stylish option is the Nubo Desk, designed by GamFratesi for Ligne Roset. A generous desk can be easily unpacked from a wall-mounted pod, which is inspired by the Pan-Am blue travel cases of the 1960s.

Moving between two (or even three, if you count the local café) workspaces requires careful planning that can be aided with handy, thoughtfully-designed products. For those who like to hit the gym before their first meeting of the day, Microfibre towels are non-negotiable. Lululemon’s range of colours is the best, while Decathlon’s Nabaiji collection offers larger dimensions at less than half the price.

Habitat Asha three-drawer Swivel Desk in Sage Green (Habitat)

Another tip for pre-work gym-goers is to invest in a good quality jewellery storage box. The bottom of my gym bag is littered with earring butterfly backs, so I’ve made a point of storing any jewellery I’ll be wearing in the office in a compact jewellery case the night before when I’m packing for the morning. Some of the best options out there for style, function and innovation are from Luxtra London’s range of cruelty-free, vegan leather jewellery boxes. The plant-based leathers are made from either AppleSkin, an eco alternative made from (you guessed it!) apples and Piñatex, a textile made from waste pineapple-leaf fibre. With Luxtra London’s personalisation options, these sweet boxes (which start at £65) can be printed with colourful initials, making them great gifts, too.

Luxtra London personalised portable jewellery box (Luxtra)

The work-from-home order during the pandemic turned us all into aspiring chefs and I have certainly discovered a passion for preparing food and taking the time to enjoy the cooking process. Especially at lunchtime while working from home, taking a few minutes to prepare a nutritious meal is worth every moment for the soothing, mindful break it allows. Preparing food at home will always trump picking up a tray of wilted sushi or a sad, soggy wrap from whichever lunch rush franchise has stationed itself nearest to your office. Bringing leftovers into the office brings with it a semblance of the home comforts we have come to appreciate, so long as you remember to pack your lunchbox. Black and Blum’s recycled PET lunch bags are available in stylish colours like sage green and can be compacted down or tied safely to the handlebars of your bike (if you’re so inclined). Maison Kitsuné’s layered black polypropylene and bamboo box will make you the envy of all your colleagues, while design purists may wish to opt for more of a statement look for lunch al desko with Sakura Adachi’s Food à Porter lunchbox for Alessi.

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