Emma Poole


Bachelor of Design Furniture Social innovation Health and wellbeing

Work from home desk

An issue had arisen during the pandemic in 2020, relating to working from home. Many students and workers didn’t have a separate office to work in; merging their home and work environments. It became challenging for employees and students to focus on work or relax at the end of the day, impacting on their mental health.

Huna is designed to separate the home and work environments during work-from-home by providing an “out of sight, out of mind” approach. When the lids are down, the top surface is used for everyday needs. However, as the lids are lifted the workspace underneath is revealed, as it rises to the surface. This simple action creates a clear divide between the two environments, which can support mental health in individuals who work from home.

My project explored the distractions and lack of separation between work and home for university students during lockdown in 2020. Through my observations, I found that students were more likely to become distracted or lack motivation when working at home, compared to full-time employees working from home. It seemed to affect students who worked in their bedrooms, living rooms or dining rooms more, as they didn’t have a home office. The situation merged two environments, making it difficult for students to focus on work or relax in their downtime.

Huna is a desk that creates a barrier between both home and work environments by hiding work away when the individual wants to relax. This provides an “out of sight, out of mind” release for the student, improving on their productivity and mental health during lockdown and/or work-from-home situations.

Huna provides a closed space to work in while the lids are open, shutting off most distractions and allowing for more productivity. To enhance the function of Huna while open, there are corkboards on the inside of the lids which the user can pin any work-related items to. Huna’s lids lock into place automatically when opened, by a spring-loaded locking mechanism, allowing the weight of the work surface to stay elevated. To release the lids, the user pulls on the handles on either side of the desk which draw the spring-loaded lock towards them and enabling the lids to close.

There are two main materials that Huna can be constructed of. American White Ash is a hardwood and is the wood used for the model; however, it is more costly, and not all students might be able to afford it. Huna can come in a pine version as well, which is a much lighter softwood and with this material the desk becomes considerably less expensive for students.

Huna is a sustainable desk that will last for many years, made from durable materials, and will aid to the lives of New Zealanders who work from home whether there is another lockdown or not.