The thought of working from home for many people can be a nightmare. Whether you’re limited on space or simply don’t think you’ll be able to focus on work, there are many things you can do to help overcome this.
Having worked from home for 7 years and only recently stopped, I’ve got some ideas and tips to help make working from home that little bit better. For me, it was all about having a structured time of when to work and when to take a break. This is vital to stop yourself working outside normal work hours.
Here are a few of my tips and ideas if you’re embarking on working from home. Most importantly, if you’re working from home due to this Covid-19 pandemic, please stay safe and well!
The best place to work
It’s important to find the ideal spot to work in where you can focus. In an ideal world a home office would be perfect, or an outbuilding which you can use. But don’t worry, repurposing your guest bedroom into a workspace is easy with some new furniture. A fold-up desk like this one from Amazon is cost-effect and you can fold it away when space is needed.
Finding the right chair to sit in all day is a little bit harder than choosing the right desk. Firstly, you need something that will be comfortable and not give you a backache. I’m using this white modern chair which is okay for a few hours but does become a little uncomfortable. So a cushion will be a relief to your muscles!
If you’re using a laptop, I’d highly recommend buying a laptop stand (I have this Griffin one) to lift your screen up. We’ve all had that neckache from looking down to a screen and it’s NOT fun!! A laptop stand mixed with a keyboard and mouse is ideal. I use a Logitech keyboard (both at home and at work) and mouse which is great for connecting up via Bluetooth.
If you’re keen to see my desk setup from when I worked at home, you can view my desk setup post here from December 2018.
When I say good lighting, I don’t mean make it as bright as your office, hell no! Nobody needs that! However, a good light source is essential to help you stop feeling tired when looking at a bright screen all day.
Start off with the location of your desk. Is it near a window? Natural light is best and will help you feel better having some access to natural light.
A desk lamp is a great way to flood your space with the light you need. Go for a lamp with a shade so the light doesn’t shine straight into your eyes and avoid any glare on your screen. The best kind of bulb to go for is a smart bulb (my new favourite is the TP-Link KL60) which you can dim as and when you please. This is great when it starts to get a little darker, as you can adjust the light so it’s not like you’re sitting in an airport terminal.
Just because you’re working from home, you don’t need to replicate every aspect of your office. This is where you can get a little creative and fill your workspace with things that make you comfortable and help with work. Whether that be your favourite scent in your diffuser or a candle, make your space comfortable.
I’d always avoid having the TV on in the same room. You may think you won’t get distracted, but you most likely will. Get yourself a good speaker and listen to the huge amount of playlists available on many streaming services. If you’re getting sick of trying to choose some music (it’s possible), opt for some instrumentals of music.
There is a YouTube channel called Audio Library which features a huge amount of music and many without vocals. Always nice to have on in the background which won’t be a distraction!
End of day storage
When it comes to the end of the day, the last thing you want to see is all your working equipment, especially if your workspace is in a room you need to use. You could go for the easy option and get a nice basket such as this Felt Storage Basket or go all-out and treat yourself to a new sideboard.
Alternatively, put everything away in your usual work bag. This is what I tend to do when I work from home as everything is in one place and safely packed away.
Bring the outdoors in
This seems to be a theme across all my posts, but bringing some plants into your home can have a good effect on your overall mood and look to your space. Whether you opt for a big bushy palm or a few cute succulents, surround yourself in nature.
Not good at keeping plants alive? Don’t worry, you can still get some easy to care for plants. I’ve just discovered an app which popped up on my Instagram called Hedira. You simply add all your plants, give them names and the app will remind you when they need watering and provide care tips. I’ve only been using it a week and I really like it so far!
You may be working from home but this doesn’t mean you can’t get cosy. If it’s cold, running the heating all day will ramp up your energy bills which isn’t ideal. So wrap up in a soft blanket, get comfortable with a load of cushions and treat your toes to a soft rug.
Remember to give yourself a break, that’s hugely important. Step away from your desk and go sit in another room for a few minutes and make a coffee – this is where a coffee machine comes in handy. If you need some fresh air, pop out and grab a coffee or sit in the garden for a bit.
Working from home does mean access to a kitchen which is fully stocked, but won’t be for long if you snack on things. I had to stop myself from endlessly staring into cupboards! Keep some fruit near your desk or a bowl of nuts.
I hope this post has been some help with setting up your work from home space. If you have any tips for working from home, share them in the comments below 👇