Over the past five months, working from home has become the “norm” for many workers. What we thought would be a temporary disruption in our lives has transitioned into a way of life for many, including many school-aged children.
Whether you’re at home working in isolation or juggling work and remote learning with your kids, my guess is you’re looking to carve out more space in your home for working and learning.
Here are a few tips for creating, or just sprucing up, a home office using items you likely already have. While this is not the time for a major overhaul or unnecessary trips to the store, it is the perfect time to make the most of what you have, make it functional, and make it pretty. Because we all need some pretty right now.
Designate a workspace.
The home office looks a little different for all of us. Some have an entire room designated as an office, some have space in part of a room, some may have one end of the dining table or have taken over the kid’s playroom. A few may have suddenly gained an office mate and be forced to share their home office while their kids learn from home.
My best advice is, whatever space you can dedicate as an office, do it. Times are hard enough without having to move your computer off the couch to make room for your toddler, risk stepping on a lego each time you stand up, or attempting a conference call hunkered down in a closet.
No matter how large or small the space is, make it look and feel like an office. This will help you remain focused and serve as a way to distance yourself from household distractions during work hours.
Make it homey
This may sound silly since it’s literally in your home but just because it’s an office doesn’t mean it has to be sterile. We all know you’re working in your pj’s anyway!
Find a comfy chair to work in. Add a nice cushion, maybe even a blanket. Gather some photos and knick-knacks from around the house to display in your workspace.
If you’re doing conference calls with co-workers, this may be the first glimpse they are getting into your home. This is the perfect way to give them a taste of your personal style without revealing more than you really want them to know!
Make it office-y
Is that a word? It should be! I think this one is especially relevant if you’re a displaced worker. If you’re used to working in an office but have found yourself working from home for an extended period of time, it may be important to be in a setting that has an office feel.
Set up a computer, printer, and office supplies near your workspace. Make sure everything you need is within reach so you are able to focus on work rather than searching for tools.
I really like this checklist from balancemb.com. What a great way to quickly make sure that your space is functional!
Art brings us joy. Hang something within your line of vision that you find beautiful, that makes you smile, that gives you hope.
I’m not suggesting you go out and buy a Rembrandt for your home office, I’m just saying, find something pretty that you like looking at!
This could be the last art project created by your child, something you made as a family during quarantine, the favorite picture that normally hangs in your living room, or maybe a picture you bought that never got hung.
If you’re really feeling like Martha Stewart, there are some cool things online that look pretty easy to make.
Try your hand at a wreath made from book pages. All you need is an old book and a hot glue gun, there are lots of ideas like this on pinterest.com. Let’s face it if you haven’t read that dusty book on the shelf!
Light it up
Of course, everyone wants an office with a window, that’s the dream! And just as it’s not feasible for everyone in corporate America, it may not be possible in your home.
But it is important to ensure that your workspace has adequate lighting. Move a lamp or two into your office. Turn on the overhead light. Do what you can to keep the space bright and cheery and reduce strain on your eyes.
If your home office is in a room with a window, be sure to open the curtains and let the natural light in. If you’re not that lucky, be sure that you’re exposing yourself to sunshine throughout the day. It’s the best mood lifter!
If these subtle improvements to your home office are making you crave more design options, check out these swoon-worthy ideas from architecturaldigest.com.
While I hope these tips offer you inspiration for a productive workspace, above all I hope this post finds you in good health. Stay safe out there!