Lockdown, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, has meant that millions of South Africans have now experienced working from home. Although some would have had a relatively well-equipped study to work from, for many others the lack of a city office would have meant setting up computers in a spare bedroom or even storage room.
As it now looks as if working from home – even if only on a day or two per week – could become the norm for many companies in future, every clerk or business rep has probably decided that it is time to create private working space where they could be inspired and creative. For many, that will mean installing a computer and other office essentials in a special room, as far away as possible from exuberant young children, TV sets, or their spouse’s animated chats with friends on cell phone.
But there’s an important element often overlooked in establishing a home office: flooring. It will need flooring to set the right tone for the room and also determine acoustics, durability, and many other important factors.
Dave Keefer, Business Development Manager for KBAC Flooring, says home office flooring should not only complement the décor in the rest of the house but also have a professional look because, once Covid-19’s isolation aspects have been relaxed, important clients could well call to finalise matters that cannot be handled via IT communication.
So, what are your choices when it comes to home office flooring?
Keefer says top of the list is carpet which looks homely, and offers warmth in winter. “Carpet is not only very forgiving when it comes to dust but studies have shown that clean carpets are beneficial to health because they act like a filter, trapping allergens and keeping them out of the air in offices. These trapped allergens – such as pollen, dust, fungi and, in home offices, pet dander – can then easily be removed through proper cleaning techniques and equipment,” Keefer explains.
“Top quality carpet also helps to insulate the office from outside noise and, for maintenance, simply needs regular vacuuming and occasional professional cleaning. Short-pile carpets are more wear-resistant than long-pile and can be more easily cleaned should you – or the cat that dropped in for a scratch – spill coffee. You can choose between wall-to-wall carpets with sound-deafening, cosy underlay, or carpet tiles which nowadays also have strong acoustical qualities. Carpet tiles now come in more styles, colours and patterns than ever before and are versatile, robust and easy to install.”
If the office has a swivel chair on wheels, it is wise to spend a little more on quality, hard-wearing carpet and invest in special mats for protection against chair movement.
Keefer says for home offices with an entrance directly from the outdoors – or to simply add a luxurious look – vinyl flooring is a wise choice. “Eco-friendly luxury vinyl tiles offer a staggering variety of designs and finishes that can mimic nature or wood, and have exceptional moisture- and stain-resistance. LVTs also require low maintenance and are equipped to deal with rolling chairs or cabinet relocation although the placement of pads under the desk legs and the cabinets is always recommended. Damaged luxury vinyl tiles or planks are easy to replace,” he explains.
For home offices on ground level, an option could be laminated wood floors – a hybrid floor covering consisting of a particleboard wood base topped by a transparent wear layer. “Laminate floors tend to be a little noisy in offices in double-storey homes but they are affordable, durable, resistant to wear, and with an exceptionally wide selection of patterns and colours, give an office an upmarket look.”
With engineered wooden flooring, the home office will show the beauty and elegance of genuine hardwood flooring, but without breaking the bank in the process. It looks like wooden flooring, but has a lower level of contraction and expansion and is easy to install and needs little maintenance.
“Today’s linoleum floor coverings are a far cry from days of old. They are now luxury flooring products made from predominantly natural raw materials and durable enough for ultra-high foot traffic areas so will withstand even the most active of home offices. There’s also rubber flooring to consider for a home office with a difference. Rubber floor coverings are slip-resistant, pleasantly warm underfoot, permanently resilient and combine high walking comfort and good sound absorption value.
“And don’t forget woven vinyl flooring which combines the warmth of textiles with the durability of vinyl to provide sheer elegance to your home work station,” Keefer states.