Tom Walker (He/Him)
I am an aspiring product design engineer from Perthshire, Scotland. The pursuit of my MEng in Product Design Engineering provided me with a variety of challenges to test and improve my design skills as well as a rigorous engineering education. The creative community at Glasgow School of Art has inspired me, giving me an appreciation of the world of design across the disciplines.
I have enjoyed responding to the diverse, open-ended briefs of the programme with exploratory ideation, user-centred development and physical making. As well as being throughly interested in innovation design, I also have a passion for traditional manufacture and craftsmanship.
Inspired by our unusual working circumstances this year, I chose to focus on the practice of working from home for my final year project.
Alkov: Private and Personal Workspace
My final year project looks at the practice of working from home. My research showed me that working from home in bedroom spaces can cause issues with relaxation and sleep due to a lack of psychological detachment after work. Having a dedicated office space is a great solution to this, but is not an option for many people, especially those living in small flats in cities. Other problem areas with working from home were also identified through interviews and observational analysis: lack of privacy; poor acoustics for video-conferencing and musculoskeletal concerns from sedentary behaviour.
Alkov is a temporary workspace designed for those who are working from home without access to dedicated office spaces. These users are encouraged to work in communal home areas, such as their living room or dining room, rather than their bedrooms, and are provided with the tools to do so effectively.
During office hours it provides the user with a private and personal place to work, partially separated from the rest of the communal area they are working in. Iterative user testing revealed that users valued the minimisation of visual distractions and heightened feelings of privacy – and felt it benefitted their workflow. At the end of the day, the product and work tools are packed away and wall-mounted or stowed away, helping to facilitate a level of psychological detachment between the user’s work and home life.
Sound-absorbing panels and an integrated light bar ensure the user’s voice and image is clear for video-conferencing. A modular storage rack, pinboard walls and whiteboard provide the user with the tools to create an organised and effective space. The light bar also has break timer functionality, alerting the user when it’s time for them to take a break from their static position, to aid musculoskeletal health.