I wrote a blog post a while ago for Nrth Lass which started “Working from home is such a joy”. I wonder how many people will say the same right now?! I’ve run my business from home for the past 4 years and I love working from home. Admittedly though, the current working-from-home-during-lockdown situation has its challenges, and isn’t quite what I had in mind when I wrote my original post.
But the sentiment of making sure you don’t neglect your home office space is probably even more relevant today than it was then. Obviously we’re all having to make-do at the moment. Especially with schools closed, more people are working in each house than was ever envisaged, and it’s impossible to think that every working space will be perfect. I’m sure dining tables around the country are groaning at the constant multi-functioning demanded of them (as well as under the weight of all the school books, laptops, crafts and coffee cups piled onto them!).
But with our family, working and social lives all merged under one roof, it’s probably more important than ever that we carve out a space for the working part of our life right now. So, how can you make your working space work harder for you whilst you’re slogging it out at home?
1/ ALLOCATE A SPACE
This sounds obvious, and it’s not always easy when there are numerous demands for office space, but try and have a space assigned for working. A space that is yours. This is probably even more important if you aren’t able to dedicate a separate room to it. So whether its a little nook, a space on the landing or a spare table set up somewhere, make sure you claim it for your own. It ensures you have a proper space to focus in, and is at least an attempt to prevent the work/home blur!
2/ INVEST IF YOU CAN
I like to be optimistic, but the reality is that many of us will be working from home, in some capacity, for some time to come. It’s likely that this pandemic will change working patterns forever, and that many people will work from home even for part of the week going forwards. So, if you can, it might be worth thinking about investing in the important pieces. A comfy office chair is essential. Your back will thank you for it. But don’t feel that you have to compromise on style and restrict yourself to conventional office furniture. There’s some great options around and as long as it offers the comfort and support you need to sit there for long periods, be as creative as you like.
3/ ITS ALL ABOUT STORAGE
No-one works well surrounded by stuff. If your working space was an impromptu set-up doing lockdown its likely storage wasn’t planned as part of the design! Now’s the time to take a look, be realistic about what you need, and get those papers filed into a drawer. Good storage doesn’t need to be expensive, or boring. Be creative; add some wooden shelving, buy some colourful drawers. You’re not in the corporate office now, so you can make it as personal and interesting as you like!
4/ LIGHT & BRIGHT
Good ambient and task lighting is essential for work spaces, and this can be tricky if you’re working in a temporary set-up, or can’t make electrical changes right now. But a good plug-in desk light will go a long way to improving the situation. If you have very limited desk space, think about a floor standing lamp next to it. Just make sure you think about the height and direction of the light.
5/ ADD TEXTURE; MAKE IT COSY
It’s no secret that I love sheepskins but there’s no easier way to add softness, warmth and texture to a space. And even if you’re using a spare dining chair, add a throw and it’ll make it that little bit more inviting. I can’t promise you’ll never want to leave your desk, but it’ll help make it a little more cosy!
6/ MAKE IT YOURS; STYLE IT UP
No one does their best work in a sterile space (well, unless you’re a surgeon I guess). Make it personal; style it up. Add a photo gallery wall or frame a couple of those pictures your little one brought back from school (remember those days?!). Or, if lockdown means you’ve seen far too much of your immediate family, perhaps add some photos of your former office buddies!! Buy that cool stationary and add some plants. It’ll brighten up your office, and your day. And if it helps to justify it, remember it’s for work!