As many people are finding themselves working from home for the first time in this scary this global pandemic, I thought I would share what I’ve learned in the 5 years I’ve been working from home. I have learned that although it’s absolutely a privilege most can not afford, it can be really challenging to stay productive and on track. Although often my days are interrupted with client meetings and site visits, at times I have found myself really struggling! So just wanted to share some tips I have learnt over the years xx
First I would like to tackle your space....
Designated work area.
If you haven’t worked from home before, or it’s been a while, you might not have a desk. My friend called me commiserating that she’s taken over the dining room table — her notebooks and computer and headphones and planner and water bottle and day-bright lamp have taken over the room! You might be occupying a similar room in your house — maybe you haven’t seen your coffee table in week?
Pick a spot. Set up your computer and all of your gear around you as neatly as you can. And then rummage around for a basket or a bin or a tote where all of your work stuff can “live” at the end of the day.
And if you are one of the lucky ones that have a desk, but not a designated room you work in. Find a clever little spot for your desk. Whether it be in a neat corner in the living room, or in the spare bedroom. In essence you are creating a floor plan! I personally love to positioning the desk closest to a window, a source of natural light, and maybe a view... Move things around and get creative! You don't need a boss to promote you to get a corner office, you can create one of your own!
Personally I have a designated room! Designers come with a ton off stuff!! And will be completely honest I am a bit easily distracted! So to have a room where I can lock myself away from the noise of the washing machine and maybe the fridge too!!
Dressing Up your space.
If you are anything like me you will need a beautiful space to get your creative juices going! Maybe pattern is your fancy... or calm and color pallet. Some fundamentals are very necessary!
Comfort is key, having a sturdy comfortable chair for your desk, this is a cute option to add some pattern play! And maybe a second more comfortable option for a change of scenery, for the creative juices to flow, and a place for clients to sit when they come by.
Storage space, a way to keep work items organised and pretty! Whether you use cupboard space to keep things away neatly or if you go for the option of open shelving, baskets! Organization keeps the mind clear and focused! I learnt this the hard way... its very easy to feel overwhelmed in a cluttered space! Baskets and boxes are another way of bringing in some fun in your space.
Lighting the way, adding in lamp lighting or a desk light, to bring in some soft, warm lighting. This does not do much besides create an environment that is inviting and a place you want to be in. while natural lighting gives an emotional quality to a space, adding softer lighting creates an atmosphere were your idea's can develop.
Adding in Green.
It is a well know fact that I love... love a good house plant! Bring in plants to your work space is not only a way to add some life to the room but also helps to keep you calm and cleans the air -and most importantly adds the pretty element to the room! I like either a Snake Plant or a ZZ plant. Both look lovely, are good for cleaning the air, and are low maintenance!
This is the fun part, adding in your flair! Your home office can be a great place to experiment with textures, colors and designs. Whether you want to go wild with patterns or keeping it calm and collected in a hygge style. For a more patterned playful space, a great way is to layer a fun rug and get artsy with a gallery wall. Painting a cupboard or desk a bold and vibrant color! Making the more functional elements of the room more attractive! And if you are anything like me and concentrate better in a more calm space, neutral colors on your walls and floor, paired with natural wood, plants and some kind of textile, like blankets, throw pillows, nature rugs or a yarn wall hanging, create a simple yet cozy working space. My personal fav is to light a scented candle so the room is filled with a beautiful and inviting smell! Clients love this when they come for design meetings!
This about wraps up my thoughts on your working space! I could go on but think I have said enough! Now for the difficult part.... the human part... how to get motivation and how to increase your productivity....
Get up early, and get moving
I have never found it easy to get up in the morning, its my worst part of the day... I don't want to be dramatic, but it makes me sad! I am most definitely a night owl! I have only this year started to get this right, having a definite starting time, getting up early and exercising.... never ever would I have thought that I would say that!! But moving my body and then sitting down for a quiet cup of coffee or tea before "heading" to work. has really done me wonders! Sticking to this schedule or which ever ones suits your life style best is really a game changer!
Dress to impress.
I know it’s weird to get dressed (and do laundry!) when no one is going to see your outfit. You’ve heard the phrase, “Dress for the job that you want,” and I’m not suggesting that you put on your business suit before settling in front of your laptop. But I am suggesting that if you shower and put on clean clothes, you’ll feel better and be more productive. Ditch the sweats tomorrow, and put on your coolest pair of pants and favorite top. It’ll feel like you are owning your day! In the beginning I would sit down "quickly" to do some emails and then look up and its lunch time! Still in my pj's. This is not so good i you suddenly get a pop in guest!
It’s incredibly tempting to always be steps away from the fridge, its amazing how much power it holds when you know what you stocked in there. Or, are you forgetting to eat? Both are common. Write yourself a menu. Write down what you’re looking forward to eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Build in a snack break! You’re the boss around here! Do you ever wish your office had a smoothie bar to hit up in the afternoon? Make that happen for yourself.
Everyone thrives on a Schedule.
This is one that I hated... being a creative spirit and all! But had to swallow my pride when I suddenly upped my game in productivity! Make a list. Break it down by the hour. You can take up to 30 minutes on this activity. Write it out in your best penmanship and doodle little boxes next to every item to check off. Make it so beautiful that you can't wait to start. This will add structure to your day, and you’ll be swelling with a sense of accomplishment when the day is done. And if all your boxes that are not ticked at the end of the day, don't be to hard on yourself. Tomorrow is another day!
I really do hope that this is slightly helpful and gives some inspiration for home offices and following your passion and chasing your dreams