I hope this finds you well.
With everything that's going on in the world at the moment, it's totally natural that anyone with a blog is trying to think of ways they might be able to help their readers in any small way they can. Right?
Well, I had been speaking to a friend, Eleanor who happens to run Eden Fabrics & Interiors, a little while before COVID-19 happened, about writing a blog post or two together. We actually started along the lines of 'bringing the outdoors in, when it's too cold to go out'! The irony...
So last week we had a call about what we could do, and discussed how our homes have become a much, much bigger part of our lives... They have become our safe place. And I think everyone is a lot more grateful for what we have, possibly than ever before.
That being said, a lot more people are now working from home and with that of course, comes various challenges. So with both Eleanor & I having studied/currently studying Psychology, we wanted to bring you some top tips to help you navigate the challenges of working from home, backed up with some hardcore scientific research (if you love that stuff too!), along with some great buys that will help create a mini work station for now, but equally won't look out of place when you're back in the office (and won't break the bank either!).
We have four tips for you, and four workspace suggestions, so we'd better dive straight in!
MULTI USE SPACES
Rooms are full of emotional and behavioural cues; the items in a room inform us of its function. This can prove challenging to negotiate when unexpectedly working from home, especially if we’re short on space and are already giving our spaces more uses then they would usually have (used to be a lounge, now a play room and yoga space, anyone?).
When spaces lack definition in this way, our actions within them do too – are you supposed to put your feet up and relax, or do twenty more minutes of work that’s sitting there looking at you out of the corner of its eye?
Perhaps you’re supposed to simply assume the foetal position in the corner because you don’t know where to start with the clutter or how to navigate the lava pool of Lego under your feet? If this is you, it’s time to define some zones so that you can define what it is that you do within them.
Trust me when I say that clear and purposeful zones will result in a clearer mind and more purposeful actions (remember Becky Stanton's guest post around detoxing your work space, you can read it here). This will mean that at the end of the day, you have a protected relaxation space that allows you to breathe a contented sigh and unwind in - perfection.
So, how do we go about doing this?
THIS IS YOUR OFFICE
Find a space in your home and call it the office (or command control, H.Q or the den of dreams… whatever floats your boat). This could be a spare bedroom, a garden room, under the stairs or even the corner of a room.
If you can, try and sit near to a window as this is so good for our mental health during this time of isolation; in fact, having a window nearby can “promote wellbeing by reducing sensory monotony and feelings of confinement and isolation, and they may prevent the development of claustrophobic reactions” according to Space Psychology and Psychiatry (Haines, 1991, cited in Kansas & Manzey, 2003), so do your best to follow this advice for prime happiness levels!
CLUTTER FREE ZONE
Ensure the space is clean and tidy and find yourself a desk or table that can accommodate your laptop and any other go-to items. If you don’t have one, there are many brilliant options available online which we will cover here too. Gather all of your work related items and re-home them right here.
This is your space, so personalise it – make it an extension of yourself. Put a poster on the wall, place a quirky desk lamp, a cool clock, a sentimental photo or some fresh plant life around; make it pleasant for yourself to be there. Utilise whatever you can to create organisation here; and if you’re lacking in that department, there’s plenty of cheap and cheerful options online to keep your focus high and stress levels down.
Use the office only during office hours. You’ve done the good work already, so don’t go confusing your unconscious again. If it’s a laptop you have and you want to use it outside of working hours, pick it up and take it elsewhere. This will promote a healthy separation between your work and home life, and make you more likely to be productive when you’re ‘at work’ too, as your mind understands what it’s supposed to do in this environment. Being able to switch off that computer and walk away will allow you to switch off too. Compound this by making your relaxing evening space even more so with cosy candles, comforting textures and dreamy smells.
Now, there could be one troublesome blip here – lets say you literally have no space to use for a home office. None. Zilch. In this case, there are still things you can do! Some small and multifunctional pieces of furniture available right now could be your lifesaver, such as a small bureau or storage coffee table – both items that can be closed away when it’s time to unwind. The Lomond coffee table from MADE is a perfect example; and I should know, as I own one!
The lift up section of the table makes a very convenient desk for your laptop and paperwork, and the ample storage inside means that all of your paperwork and memos can be stored safely with ridiculously easy access to them on the next working day. Plus, its available in three different beautiful finishes and will look incredibly sleek in any contemporary home.
Or, if you have a little more room to spare, this Norden Home bureau at Wayfair would be perfect for not only storage and workspace but for closing at the end of the day too. I would highly recommend this kind of bureau for that exact reason – it closes at the end of the day, just like the office door behind you.
And for the super space conscious, how about this quirky and bijou Nouveau wall hung desk from Office Furniture Online? This piece could really take advantage of an otherwise unusable space in a tiny home, and again be closed away at the end of the day.
Alternatively, you could look at a console table, like the VITTSJÖ from Ikea, to perhaps go in a currently underused room, but when all this is over wouldn't look out of place in a hallway or become a dressing table in a bedroom instead? And check out Louise's upcycle on @thestylepad if you fancy a home DIY project at the same time!
We hope you found these tips useful. Let us know if you have any of your own tips that are really helping you right now - we would love to share them as well!
Thanks so much for reading,
[Photo credit @storiesbychloe]