Balancing your laptop on your knee with papers strewn across the floor is OK for a while but…..
…. working from home certainly
can have it’s challenges.
Whether it is your faithful pet wanting some attention……
…or those productively-enhancing housemates known as children
You may struggle to find the calm, concentration required for effective work.
One of the joys of working from home is rolling out of bed and sauntering over to your workplace without so much as changing out of your pyjamas.
The downside is that it just doesn’t feel like work, so unless you are going to be video conferencing over Zoom or Skype where you may wish to don a more traditional work outfit - change out of pyjamas and feel somewhat pulled together, but not uncomfortable.
This gets you ready for the day and in work mode, but still feeling good.
The challenge for many is finding the right place to work, if your designated workplace is uninviting, small or impractical, it will immediately take the morning spring out of your step.
We’ve looked at some of the problems you may encounter when setting up your perfect home workspace and present some NOOK solutions that can up your home office productivity and help keep that work / life balance.
Challenge 1: Lack Of Space
Luckily, most of us need little more than a laptop-sized desk surface, creating a workspace doesn’t require a whole lot of room although a dedicated home office / study is a wonderful space to treasure.
Challenge 2: Lack Of Light
Unfortunately, the unused corners of your home are often also the dark corners, but a well-lit workspace is a must.
Perhaps your desk can switch places with a piece of furniture that doesn’t need optimum daylight illumination.
If not, see if there’s the possibility of bringing in natural light by creating a skylight or using glass blocks in a section of the wall you’re facing.
If possible position your work area near a window, facing a window may be distracting for some but may aid creativity in others, with a window behind you natural light over your shoulders will certainly brighten work time.
Maybe a folding desk under a window that can be folded out of the way when not in use?
If all else fails, brighten your workspace by painting the walls a light shade, hang a mirror in a position where it reflects natural light from the nearest window, and accessorise with cheerful colours.
Certainly some sort of storage, a bookcase or filing system is almost always a necessity.
A cleverly designed NOOK, cranny or recess may well do the trick.
You might find an unused corner of the hallway or under the stairs, a messy walk-in wardrobe, an empty area next to the fireplace, or an awkward space behind a door, maybe the upstairs landing, or your hallway.
These could become the perfect spot for a small, discreet home office.
Importantly, make sure you have more than one light source, including a good desk lamp, and maybe some indirect lighting for example, built in to your storage shelves.
Challenge 3: Lack Of Privacy
While a closed office / study door is no guarantee for peace and quiet,
it sure helps.
If that isn’t possible, improvise with room dividers like shelves which can double as office storage, potted plants (which will improve your office air), or a translucent folding screen.
Noise-cancelling headphones are a godsend in busy surroundings.
Challenge 4: Lack Of Storage Space
What you lack in square footage, you can make up by going high, with shelves and cupboards all the way to the ceiling and trays at eye level to augment a small desk.
Make sure you have at least one “messy drawer” where you can fling anything that is in your way, everything else should go into well-organised folders, files or a desk tidy.
A clear desk policy is both a productivity boost and a great way to minimise the inevitable distractions of working in your own home.
You’ll also be glad of a neat desk when it comes to video conference calls!
If the only space you have to work is in your bedroom, try to make it blend in, so it’s not as obvious and conspicuous.
Challenge 5: Lack Of Distance Between Work And Home
In order to switch off after a long day at the (home) office, it’s essential to create some separation between your living and working spaces.
Make your office disappear behind a sliding screen or by creating your workspace under your staircase and fitting doors shut at the end of the day.
Or hide the desk totally within your fitted wardrobes.
Why not paint the work area to match and blend in with the rest of the room?
In the perfect world, create a whole new room by converting a spare bedroom
into a cool home office
or convert your little used garage into an exciting new living space which adds value to your home as well.
Alternatively, if you do not have the space to free up inside, you can opt to add an outbuilding to create a garden office.
The good news is that if you want to construct a small garden office planning permission is not normally required and building regulations will not normally apply if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square metres.
What ever your requirements for a home working office, study or workspace, NOOK design can take care of everything, from converting your garage, opening up your under-staircase area, transforming a fitted wardrobe, building bookcases or room dividers, building a dedicated outdoor office or simply providing a bespoke size desk, we have the skills and expertise to help.
Please get in touch by calling 0191 580 8550 or email
Working from home tips
So if you work from home and have a dedicated office or small work NOOK – here are a few tips for improving your “office” days:
Create a routine
Working from home has tons of perks, but it’s so easy to get off track and spend your day catching up on household chores rather than actually getting career-work done.
To help put structure in your day, create a routine for yourself.
Decide what time you want to be sitting down checking emails and getting started on your work and stick to it.
Write a list of to-dos and an allotted amount of time for each task.
Jobs around the house still have to get done, but these should be before or after your allotted work time.
Have a dedicated work space
Having a desk or an office really gets you in the “get stuff done” mindset.
Creating a space for working at home can also give you a sense of accountability. If you notice it’s mid-morning and you haven’t made it to your desk or office yet, you know you better get in gear.
Make it enticing – add personal touches that make it inviting and inspiring, even if just a favourite computer background or photo!
2-minute end of day sweep
Make it a point to sweep your desk at the end of each day.
Take 2 minutes to clean up the area around where your working.
Take coffee mugs back to the sink, wipe it down, put things away, set yourself up for an easy, clutter-free morning to follow.
Learn when to unplug
One of the downsides of working from home is you never “go home” because…you already are.
This can make it super hard to know when to shut down the laptop and stop looking at emails.
Being plugged in 24/7 is really hard on a person, so make yourself a schedule where you unplug at a certain time and stick to it – you need to recharge as well as phones!
If you work from home, take advantage of a more flexible schedule when planning errands and appointments which need you to leave the house.
Use a whole afternoon to do these each week so that you’re not coming and going or getting into different mind zones each day.
Eat away from your desk
Eating in front of your desk is extra tempting when you’re at home, but give your day more structure by moving away from your desk for lunch. Eat outside or a different place in your home, but break it up.
What ever you do, if you are working from home - enjoy