How to arrange a home office?
The current situation has forced us to change the way we live and, in many cases, the way we work. Quite a few people have swapped the corporate office for one in the comfort of their own home. But exactly – can we really talk about the comfort? Due to the challenge of combining remote work with childcare, many parents would surely get just a little bit desperate thinking about their recent experience. Taking breaks from video conference to answer your kids’ endless questions, the perpetual “mummyyyyyy!” and preparing meals for the whole bunch. Is it like that for you, too? You are not alone! After 4 months, we notice the pros and cons of working remotely. We can also draw conclusions about how we work most effectively. We already know what conditions are conducive to working in a home office. Of course, the ideal situation is to be able to arrange a separate room for an office, so that the home chaos can remain behind closed doors. However, many people do not have this option due to limited space and the need to share it with the rest of the household. In the following text we suggest how to arrange a place for work and focus in a small, domestic space.
Verify your needs
Each profession requires different tools. In a home environment, the best situation is for people who only need a laptop for work. It takes up little space, so it’s easy to carve out room for an office. However, some people work with documents and need a place to store them. Each of us has developed our own way of doing things over the years. Some people cannot imagine working in a mess, while others come up with the best ideas only in chaos. Or maybe the limitation is the working hours? If your working hours are rigid, it’s even more important to have a workspace that gives you peace of mind and doesn’t distract you. Especially since being at home means an endless list of responsibilities. Looking around, we see how much we have to do – put the laundry in, cook dinner, etc. To sum up – a home office should be adjusted to the type of work and available space, but also to other members of the household.
Comfort comes first! Remember about ergonomics and appropriate colouring of the interior
No matter what type of work you do or what style of work you do, look for a secluded spot in your home. If you can’t carve out a separate room, then choose a place that isn’t in a passageway, especially if you share an apartment with other people. It is good to separate the work area so that the rest of the room is not associated with work. While it’s very tempting to work from bed in your pyjamas at the beginning of your remote working adventure, when working from home all the time, it’s best to develop the same rituals as when you go to the office.
When looking for the right desk space, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, the lighting – place the desk opposite or next to the window. This will allow access to natural light that will not be reflected in the monitor. And if you need to illuminate the workplace with artificial light, opt for cool light – this colour is the least tiring to the eyes. Also check where you have an outlet to avoid cables in the middle of the room. We know from experience that it is difficult to keep all the ergonomic principles of working on a computer at home, but it is worth remembering them when planning your office. What we recommend most is to focus on a properly chosen chair. Remember that even the most comfortable position does not exempt you from movement! Take 5 minutes every hour to “stretch your bones”.
For better concentration, make sure you have the right colour scheme as well. It should be consistent with the entire interior, but preferably in muted colours. Different shades of grey, white or, for fans of stronger accents, subdued green will be safe. It’s a good idea to mark your workspace with a different colour or pattern on the wall. You can easily do it thanks to Motivo decorative wall. You will find lots of tranquil patterns and you can install them yourself by gluing the panels directly to the wall. Motivo can also serve as a board to attach notes or photos. You can also think about motivational mottos or goals that will remind you of what you want to achieve. It is also worth thinking about flowers. The interior will be more pleasant, and the greenery will be a rest for the eyes from the monitor and good for concentration. If your space allows, you can think about enclosing your workspace with an open shelving unit, i.e. with two-way access to the shelves. This will give you some office privacy and extra storage space. Just remember not to limit your access to light with this solution.
Keep it tidy
Sounds like a cliché, but it will really make your job easier. While tidiness during work is very individual – some people can’t focus seeing an empty coffee mug on their desk – tidiness is key after work. When working remotely, we can’t just leave the office and forget about work. That’s why it is important that your home office doesn’t have papers and other work-related items lying around so you can rest your head with peace of mind. A good solution are containers sliding under the desk, where you can hide all unnecessary things, as well as documents.
Additionally, think about the other people you live with who don’t necessarily want to be part of the office. Let’s also remember the young family members. Tidiness will protect you from having, for example, a very important contract painted on or soiled. By the way – what about the kids while working remotely? Unfortunately, this requires more effort because parents are actually doing two jobs at once. For us, it worked to plan our work day in advance along with the kids’ “work” day. During on-line appointment times, we recommend scheduling independent tasks for your child right away. It’s hard to suggest one solution because every child is different, but if possible, think about slightly involving your kids in your work. You can ask them to draw something related to your work or just a portrait of their parent at work. And to make this task more interesting, make “puffy” paints together from things available in the kitchen. You can find the recipe here. Of course, it’s hard to talk about sticking rigidly to these plans, because there are often some family “crises”. However, it will help to develop a routine similar to leaving home for preschool, school and work.
An office in the kitchen? Why not!
In small flats there is often no chance to put a desk. You can use the kitchen table to work. Unfortunately, it comes with the responsibility of disassembling and stowing your work tools every day, but it has its pluses. When your work duties are over, you lock everything up in its designated place and enjoy your time off.