Emma Poole Huna

  • Tauira / Student
    Emma Poole
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Anke Nienhuis, Kate Weatherly

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 together. This became challenging for employees and students to focus on work or relax at the end of the day, impacting their mental health.
My project explored the distractions and lack of separation between work and home during the lockdown in 2020 among university students. During my observations, I found that students were more likely to become distracted or lack motivation at home when working compared to full-time employees. It seemed to affect students who worked in their bedrooms, living rooms or dining rooms as they didn’t have a home office. This merged two environments together, 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 to the student, improving their productivity and mental health during lockdown situations.
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. The simple interaction creates a separation between the two environments which will improve mental health in individuals who work from home.
Huna provides a closed space to work in while the lids are open, shutting off any physical distractions inside their home and allowing more productivity. To enhance the function of Huna while open, there are corkboards on the inside of the lids to which the user can pin any work-related items to. Huna’s lids lock into place by a spring-loaded locking mechanism when opened, allowing the weight of the work surface to stay elevated. To release the lids, the user will pull the handles on either side of the desk which draws the spring-loaded lock towards them and unlocking the lids.
There are two main materials that Huna can be constructed of; inexpensive or expensive. American White Ash is a hardwood and is the wood I used for the model; however, it is more expensive, and students won’t be able to afford it. The affordable material that Huna can come in is pine, which is a softwood and is much lighter, but it becomes less expensive for students.
Huna is a sustainable, hardworking desk that will last a dozen years from the durable materials and will aid the lives of New Zealanders who work from home whether there is another lockdown or not.