Working From Home
Updated: Aug 7
Now, our living space becomes our everything space. How do we divide our homes into multi-functional spaces for the whole family to operate and survive?
Right now, the majority of the world is working from home; these are unusual times. We need to change our daily habits and routines; this can be jarring to well-established practices.
There are many blogs and articles on the effectiveness of working from home, from ensuring you dress for work, comb your hair, walk the dog and schedule regular breaks, to name a few. The likely hood of getting back into a formal office space is quite low right now. Last week we stayed home and made do with getting on Zoom calls, multi-tasking, long days, late nights and a lot of our work hygiene abandoned. This week allows us to review some of that and think longer-term about the temporary situation.
Identify a location within your home space that can become your workspace. That might involve moving a table around to face a window, removing a chair at the dining room table to ensure you have space enough around your feet, creating space on the work surface, and putting items that have drifted into and onto the tablespace. Placing plants and flowers on window ledges.
Where do you and can you sit? Is the best place the kitchen counter, dining room table or bedroom? I would always advise being seated on a chair with a back, not perched on a kitchen counter.
3. The view:
Inside or outside? I would opt to face a window where possible. Natural daylight helps regulate our waking and sleeping routines. Looking in the same room all day can get tiresome, and you will find yourself drifting off, critiquing your home layout, dreaming of new wall colours and better bookshelves.
4. Desk and chair:
The dining room table has now become your office, try and use the same methodology set out for the office, straight back, knees at a right angle with the feet on the floor, and the table at the right height to not have to overextend the arms. You might want to place a cushion behind your back and or on the floor to raise your feet.
Most people are probably working from a laptop; positioning is critical here, and we do tend to hunch over our laptops. If it's an option to raise the computer and use a separate plugin mouse and keyboard, the laptop should be at eye level in the middle of the screen is optimal. Books and magazines can serve as risers.
Sockets and outlets: nothing is more frustrating than a 5% battery alert when you're just joining a conference call where you'll be screen sharing. It might be useful to bring out an extension cable, and plug in the laptop and mobile device. Be careful of wires and cables in your living space with children and pets; these can be trip hazards.
Light and natural daylight: luckily, the days are longer towards the end of March, and most of our working hours happen within natural daylight time. If your home needs a light on during the day, think of relocating a lamp to your temporary desk space.
Temperature is critical, too warm can make you feel sleepy and tempted for an afternoon nap, too cold, and you're uncomfortable. I would advise wearing layers and setting the temperature 1 or 2 degrees lower than when you're usually at home.
Ventilation is vital, crack a window open, and let the air often circulate throughout the day.
Eating and drinking at your temporary desk can quickly lead to clutter and mess. Coffee and a glass of water are okay. Do think of relocating to another place in the home to eat lunch. You will benefit from a screen time break and being with others that share your home.
Keep your desk space clean; the same applies to equipment and devices.
The most important is to accept the temporary-ness of this situation. Embrace it fully, be comfortable and create a space where you can be as productive as possible.