I’ve talked to so many struggling to create a workspace at home. I’ve worked from home for a long time and forget others don’t have designated space, two large screens, headphones, printer/scanner, etc.
Some of you spent the first week with your laptop literally on your lap while trying to homeschool and silently praying for recess.
Now that we’ve all realized this isn’t going to end anytime soon let’s figure out how to make it work the best we can.
Here are my top ten ideas for creating a workspace on a moment’s notice:
- Think about what you need.
Be honest with yourself. If you’re going to spend most of your day on Zoom calls and you have two kids, three dogs, and a cat, you need a private space or be prepared to make a lot of excuses.
- Think beyond the obvious.
Don’t assume the space you should use is a guest room, or kitchen, etc. Take the time to look around your home with an eagle eye. If you’re going to have to do this for a while, be willing to think outside the box. Do you have a walk-in closet you only use for off-season clothes that you could turn into a private office? Don’t ignore your garage. Based on where you live and the weather, this may be a very viable option with a small space heater or air conditioner.
- Maintain work/life balance.
Working from home makes it easy to blur the lines between personal and professional lives. Keeping a distinctly separate workspace makes this much easier for you and those that live with you.
- Keep your office out of your bedroom, if at all possible.
If it’s the only option, then try to separate it in some distinct way. A privacy screen is a great idea.
- Gather the supplies you need, just like you have in your office.
Nothing will be more infuriating than being in the middle of a project and having to search your house for a paperclip. Gather the basics and set up the area for success.
- Set office hours.
Realizing you may be homeschooling, dealing with other financial issues, parenting, helping other family members, etc. days will start to blend. A little normalcy will feel good. Try to set work hours for yourself and stick to them as much as possible. This will help you feel a little bit of control in a pretty out of control situation.
- Take breaks.
You’re working in your home. There’s no commute, no decompression time, no way to move from one part of your life to the other unless you create that opportunity. Take breaks for lunch or mid-day. Even a walk around the block will help a bit.
- Day pajamas and night pajamas might be a funny meme, but be careful of this one. I’m not saying go all out to commute to your closet office, but there is some benefit to putting on real clothes and getting “ready for work.” This helps with balance and keeping working and personal separate
- Add a little life to your space.
A plant or some flowers can help keep your spirits up when the days feel long.
- Last but not least, be kind to yourself.
These are extraordinary times, and working out of your comfort zone isn’t easy. You don’t have to pretend it is. But it doesn’t have to be all bad with a little intention and a bit of Feng Shui.