Due to the situation that we all find ourselves in at the moment regarding Covid 19 and the importance of social distancing to aid with flattening the curve, many of us are now working from home. With working from home comes a lot of challenges in regards to turning our existing homes, places where we live also into places where we now also work and where our children learn. We no longer have the commute too and home from the office, school and in some cases due to space limitations no space where we can close the door at the end of our workday and move into our living part of our lives rather both work and life are melding together giving us very minimal, much-needed downtime. How can we set up our homes to be good functioning spaces where we can work as well as double as safe havens for us to live and relax in too?
Firstly, I know when this all happened (as it did in my home) we probably tended to just do a quick initial fix to get over the line so we could survive and meet work requirements, school requirements the best way we could. This is fine, and now that it has been a few weeks you will have gotten a feel for what is and isn’t working in your current set up. Considering this new arrangement may likely be lasting longer than just a few weeks, you may have already started thinking could there be a better way to get you and your family functioning so that you could have your workspace and also have your play/living space too? What if your work areas were functioning really well and looked beautiful and inviting too? Wouldn’t it increase productivity? What if you had a separate area to go to at the end of the day where you could unwind, relax and recharge so you were living from a place of rest rather than frantic survival?
Here’s a few thoughts I’ve popped together:
- Give yourself plenty of grace. Everyone’s lives have drastically changed, we are more stressed, there is a lot of pressure coming at us from all angles so take the time to congratulate yourself for how far you and your family have come.
- Keep the main thing the main thing. Prioritise what is important to you. At the end of the day, it’s you and your family that are working through this together.
- Consider zones. Look at your home with fresh eyes. Are you using the spaces as best as possible? Could you set up a work zone in a different area? If you have a small home or space challenges, Could you or your partner work in that small space in the stairwell landing, or could the front entry be transformed into an office? How about the junk room or spare room could that be repurposed? Would it be worth outlaying a bit of time over the weekend to shuffle spaces around so your home functions better for this new season?
- Storage. If you are homeschooling from the dining table but still want to have dinner together as a family at night you could set up each child with a box (or their schoolbags) where they store their school things at the end of each day and bring out each morning. If you are working, while homeschooling you could also pop your work items in a nice storage box to store away at the end of the day too.
- Home office. If your kids are older and can work independently then you might want to have your own setup, be it an actual home office or a desk in an allocated space in your home this will allow you a place to come and work and then leave at the end of the day. Take the time to set it up so that it functions well for you and your work needs and also take into consideration good ergonomics to ensure your good health long term. Decorate it beautifully with items you love, pop up some art, a soft floor rug for underfoot, a lovely table lamp for the desk, some flowers, your favourite photos of your loved ones on the desk too, get your favourite candle out and burn it, have a music playlist ready to inspire you. You could set up an occasional chair and side table in the room too, as a little area you can sit and think or brainstorm and enjoy a cup of tea. This is YOUR space, that you may be working from for some time so take the time to set it up so that it LOOKS pleasing to you and inspires you to work.
- Transient. Do you have a laptop and like to work from different locations around the home such as the lounge, kitchen, dining table, outdoor table, garden etc…. giving you more freedom and change of scene. It’s important to work out what is going to suit you best. If you like moving around the home you can still have some of your favourite pieces that you bring with your laptop too.
- Set up a peaceful zone. Consider creating an area in your home, or even outside if you are limited in space, where you or any family member can go for some uninterrupted downtime (even if it’s just 5 minutes). A peaceful space with no tv, computer etc… where rest and quiet can be had. I think with all that is happening and the busyness that comes from an active household a space like this could be really valuable. I know we have one in our home.
- Allocate breaks. Be sure you allow for breaks for all who are working from home, kids and adults alike and get outside for some fresh air to help with concentration and to bring a change of scene and perspective too.
The main thing to keep in mind is this won’t be forever, but there is no harm in setting the space up to how you like so you can enjoy working from home rather than endure it due to either it not functioning or looking attractive.
We’d love to hear about what is working for you and any tips you may have. Feel free to share them in the comments.
We are thinking of you all and hope you are well.
P.S. If you would like some further support in setting up your home office we are currently offering online consults, feel free to contact me here to make a booking.