It’s been all over the news: Coronavirus has and will likely continue to have an unprecedented effect on everyone’s lives. Between social distancing, quarantining, and the hoarding of toilet paper (wtf!?) it seems like we’ve all been cast in a bad action movie that no one auditioned for. As working professionals, one of the most significant changes has been transitioning to a completely remote work environment.
If you’re like me, my initial thoughts were something along the lines of “I no longer have to commute, I get to wear pajamas all day, AND hang out with my dog!? Not too shabby…”
As the days turn to weeks into now, over a month, we all have to continue to do our best to stay home in order to support our front line workers and help our most vulnerable populations stay healthy. Reality has definitely set in for the majority of us, and if you’re like me, you’re no longer looking at this sedentary lifestyle as a vacation… instead acknowledging the severity of the situation as you start to evaluate the “new normal.”
As I continue to work digitally from the comfort of my sofa (or I’m not afraid to admit it, sometimes even my bed) I’m starting to miss the comfortable back support of a proper office chair and the inspiration that an office full of motivated co-workers provides.
As we all continue to accept the inescapable reality of “working from home” the necessity of a proper home office environment is increasingly obvious. We all need a space in which we can physically separate our work life from our home life, even if it now exists within the same four walls.
Some of us are surely more prepared than others. We have designated rooms within our homes in which we can close the door and get down to work. The biggest benefit of a space like this is the physical separation from the two lives that are inevitably existing within one space. Your home is full of distractions – Netflix, Social Media, your family, a stocked fridge. When you are able to shut the door on all of those distractions and get into a work-focused headspace, your productivity will undoubtedly increase. Similarly, when you leave that space, you hopefully are able to re-enter a relaxing home environment without your to-do list eyeing you down from across the room.
If you don’t already have a designated room that you are working out of, now is the perfect time to reevaluate how the space in your home is functioning. It may be the perfect opportunity to convert the formal dining room that you use once or twice a year into a space that would more readily accommodate the needs of your family. For this vibrant family we did just that. By simply swapping out the existing furniture with two work surfaces and some storage we converted the underutilized dining room into a coworking space for the entire family.
For many of us, resources are already tight. We’re unable to invest in a new desk and computer… and even if we could, it’s not likely for it to be delivered with all that’s going on in the world right now. Equally, for many of us living in a smaller footprint, we simply just don’t have the space to include a true “home office.” With that being said, although it may look differently than the home office spaces featured above, you still deserve a space that fosters creativity and motivates you to continue being productive.
First and foremost, we’ll need to get creative with our definition of a “home office.” Find spaces in your home that could be reimaged to include a desk, or even a console or side table. I can’t be the only person that keeps the “B-Team” furniture in the basement… it might be time to bring some of that upstairs and repurpose it into a desk. In this client’s space we used the empty space below her bedroom window to house a desk. Not only does she now have a productive work area, but she also has a pretty dang good view to go along with it.
We know that sometimes finding a space for a new piece of furniture in your home can be a full-time job in itself. Instead many of us are putting in work at our kitchen table, or maybe even the cocktail table in your living room. That’s the reality for Senior Designer and Head of Marketing, Taylor. She’s repurposed her kitchen island into a work-from-home set up. Her new co-worker, Harvey, certainly seems to enjoy it!
Whether you have a true home office, a space doing double duty, or you’re just working at the dining room table, it’s still important to create an environment that inspires productivity. Here are our tips for creating that motivational oasis.
- Replicate your previous work environment
Traditional work environments are designed to increase productivity. Everything that you need to complete your daily tasks is easily accessible. You should mimic this in your new environment. Keep a cup of writing utensils, a notebook, and sticky notes on your desk. Make sure to have your full water bottle on hand so you have fewer reasons to leave your office and venture into the kitchen. I know I personally fill my water bottle, and then make a pit stop at the fridge and then another one at the microwave, and then maybe I want to enjoy my snack on the sofa!! Avoid all of this by making sure your space is prepped for the work day ahead.
- Surround yourself with images that inspires you.
You want your space to feel different from the rest of your home. A simple way to do this is to set up some inspirational quotes, or a stack of your favorite books to help get you into the proper mindset.
- Increase the comfy level of your chair.
This is especially important if you’re in the group working at your kitchen table… Throw a cushion or a soft throw over that barstool to make yourself a bit more comfortable. A small throw pillow to provide lumbar support will make it feel like you’re back in your ergonomically designed desk chair.
- Keep Your To-Do list visible.
And even more importantly, your distractions out of site. I like to start off each day by writing down my tasks for the day. Creating a list of small steps to achieve big goals makes tasks feel more attainable, and checking each item off is incredibly rewarding. Keep this list visible as a regular reminder of what you should be doing throughout the day. Remove things like dirty laundry or your grocery list from your line of site.
- Keep a positive attitude.
We’re all entering uncharted water here. Even though we believe these tips and tricks will allow for you to be as productive as possible there’s a pretty high chance that there will be days that no amount of inspirational quotes or easily accessible writing utensils will motivate you to get to work… and that’s okay. Give yourself the grace to work hard when you can, and relax when you can’t. We’re all in this together!
Are your gears already turning as you start to evaluate your current work environment and dream of the possibilities for spaces in your home?! We would love to help if needed. The RLC team has been offering a plethora of virtual styling packages from full furniture refreshes (it’s a good time to take advantage of some pretty steep sales!!) to simple shelf and bed styling. Let’s talk about how we can get you up and running in your new stylish home office.