We realise a lot of you will now be working from home and for some of you it might be a new experience. We’re hear to help with some tips on how to create a productive working environment including advice from Cate St Hill and Abi Dare who are not only interior style experts but are also very experienced with working from home and have kindly shared their top tips too.
For those of you who haven’t got a home office it’s definitely worth trying to reorganise things to create a space that allows you to sit comfortably and quietly. This may be a small corner or nook in your bedroom, spare room or at the kitchen table. Just make sure you clear away any visible distractions and if you find yourself working in your main living area then it is worth tidying your work away at night to separate work from relaxation.
"I find having a dedicated workspace is vital, as it helps me get into the right frame of mind each morning. Where it is and how it’s decorated can have a big impact on your efficiency and wellbeing, so experiment a bit to find out what suits you. I function best in a calm, clutter-free environment, but others might prefer to be surrounded by colour – it’s a very personal thing. Even if you end up working from a dining table or the kitchen counter, think about any small adaptations you could make to ensure it’s as comfortable and inspiring as possible – perhaps hanging a favourite artwork on the wall or shifting furniture so that you have a view out of a window" Abi Dare.
It’s important that a workspace works to your strengths. Maybe you prefer music, a candle burning or being surrounded by plants. Now you’re in charge of your space you can have more control over your working environment and how you work. You may wish to set yourself up with an ambient desk lamp or a cosy rug beneath your feet. You may be an organiser and want to sort folders and paperwork on a shelf or within a storage box. Take time to consider these things to ensure you’re as effective as possible from home.
"To get in work mode, it helps to have the same routine everyday, just like you would if you were commuting. Get up at the same time, have a good breakfast, get properly dressed and get to your desk at a set hour. Likewise, set aside time for lunch away from your computer and have an idea of when you would like to finish for the day. Set yourself some boundaries – it helps give you the permission to switch off at the end of the day" Cate St Hill.
Whilst working from home may not be your preferred choice there are some benefits. You may find you save time from no longer commuting or that meetings are shorter now they are not carried out in person. Why not use this extra time to your advantage with some exercise, fresh air or reading. Depending on your employer and daily schedule you can perhaps build in a little more flexibility to your day to suit you and your loved ones.
Social interaction and a change of scene is also important. Whilst this may be a little limited at the moment why not call a friend or connect with your local community online. Set some time aside for getting out of the house, maybe a walk to your local park or a walk around the block. Perhaps there are family members or flat mates working from home too. Schedule a break together and share a chat over a cup of coffee or lunch.
With the recent news of school and nursery closures, this adds an even more challenging element for those working from home with children. We are directly affected by this too and still processing how we are going to make it work. Some of our ideas include tandem working, so one of us looks after the kids for an hour whilst the other works and then we swap over. Or one starting their day earlier so the other takes over in the afternoon. We'll also be trying to set up activities for the children to keep them occupied and stimulated (and to give us a moment of peace?!) Check out The Playful Den, Five Minute Mum, Play Hooray and Book Bairn to name a few lifestyle blogs and businesses that are packed full of ideas for children that hopefully you may find helpful.
However you choose to work just remember to switch off at the end of the day. It’s all too easy to keep logging back on. Time away from the desk and work is just as important to help spark new ideas and creativity.