How to create a productive workspace at home

From embracing natural light to bringing the outdoors in, follow these expert tips, inspired by London City Island, on how to optimise your home office

Over the past 18 months, we’ve spent more time working from home than ever before – and it is something we’re likely to embrace in the future. We spoke to Katie Lloyd of award-winning interior design studio, Benningen Lloyd – who styled the show apartment at London City Island – to get an expert insight into the best way to adapt your home into the perfect office environment.

Let in the light

Ensuring you get plenty of mood-boosting natural daylight in your workspace can have some serious wellbeing benefits, with research finding it helps reduce headaches, eyestrain and blurred vision, promote better sleep and improve productivity. Luckily, this wasn’t an issue for Benningen Lloyd. “The apartment at London City Island has natural light in abundance as it’s on the 19th floor,” says Lloyd. “It has panoramic views all across the city and out to Essex and Kent, as far as the eye can see.”

For those who don’t have the luxury of a workspace filled with sunshine, try using mirrors to help diffuse any natural light you do have around your room. Alternatively, invest in a light box lamp, which simulates sunlight and make sure you always leave your desk at lunchtime to spend time outdoors and make up for that lost daylight.


Many of us have had to adapt our homes into workspaces

Channel positive energy

“With a lot of time currently spent working from home it’s important to consider the impact of the psychologies of space and find your own ways to unlock the things that keep your spirits up,” advises Lloyd. One of the best ways to do this is by filling your space with things of beauty; whether that’s books, art, photos of far-flung destinations or by simply lighting a scented candle.

Don’t forget to take into consideration what you’ll be looking at while you work too. “It’s important to have a sight line that brings you joy – whether that be a view, a painting or a plant. The elegant desk in the guest bedroom [in the show apartment], for example, faces out of the window with uninterrupted views as far as the eye can see, creating a calming feeling of space,” says Lloyd. “But the apartment also has views into the practice rooms of the English National Ballet, which can be extremely inspiring to watch!”


The apartments at London City Island are light filled spaces for work and entertaining

“It’s important to have a sight line that brings you joy – whether that be a view, a painting or a plant.”

Katie Lloyd, Benningen Lloyd

Prioritise comfort

It might sound obvious but ensuring your workspace is ergonomically viable is key. For this, as well as a decent sized desk, a good chair is really important, even if that means going for substance over style, advises Lloyd. “Office chairs aren’t always pretty but sitting at an ergonomic chair while working will not only put you in work mode, it will help with posture.”

Create balance

While not everyone has the luxury of dedicating a room to be their office, adding an element of separation from the rest of your home is important for maintaining that work-life balance. “If you’re trying to set up a workspace in your home, it’s important to think of it as a separate entity to the rest of your living space,” says Lloyd.

“Closing the area off at the end of the working day is key. If you can’t physically close a door on your desk, a top tip is to have some stylish storage boxes, that allow you to easily pack away and turn the room back into your relaxation area.”

Another great way to break up or round-off your working day is to go for a run or swim in the London City Island outdoor pool. A trip to plant retailer and consultancy The Wild London to pick up some beautiful plants to adorn your workspace also has its rewards.


It's important to have quiet spaces for a healthy work-life balance

Go green
But you don’t need to create an urban jungle to reap the benefits of bringing the outside indoors. Research shows that simply having a small plant on your desk can reduce stress levels, as well as increasing productivity and creativity and, of course, helping to purify the air around you.

“There’s a reason why some of the world’s most successful companies have introduced biophilic design into their office spaces,” says Lloyd. “Plants are notoriously good for any living environment, reducing stress, absorbing noise levels and adding stimuli. Plus, keeping a plant alive can add additional purpose to the working day.”


Words by Georgie Lane-Godfrey 


The stunning views from the apartments at London City Island