At the timing of writing, it’s the 23rd of September 2020. If you’re reading this in 2025, have we stopped talking about COVID yet? Are we still working from home?
Unfortunately yesterday Boris made an announcement that saw many of us return to working from home for the second stint of the year. Some people also never returned to the office. Consequently, A lot of us are sick of working from home.
I’ve worked from home for years, so I’ve got my routine pretty down. Even for me, this time has been challenging. Usually, my days are peppered with site visits, calls and meetings, all of which have slowed.
But there are some fundamental points to make working from home more bearable. I’ve worked from home during house renovations, while on the road, and in a one-bed flat. All of that to say, I like to think I’ve got some useful tips. So read on, and leave any of your suggestions in the comments to help others too.
Music is a massive part of my life. My level of productivity is seriously affected by what playlist I have on, and it truly gets me through those tedious low energy hours (2-4 for me!). I think one of the main benefits of working from home is that Stacey can’t tell you to turn your rubbish music off, you’re totally in control!
Speakers or some way of listening to music is an absolute must for an at home work set up in my opinion. Failing speakers, headphones would do the job. Get the music on and get cracking. As I’m writing this, I’m listening to this playlist and enjoying it a lot. That level of concertation makes my home office feel calming.
One of the things I found most stressful about changing jobs was loosing my double screen. Life is so much more relaxed with a dual-screen! For those of you who are craving to get away from a laptop and back to a big screen, I find having a large monitor very helpful. It doesn’t have to be a giant desktop iMac, a simple TV or monitor and HDMI cable would do the job.
You can pick them up for as little as £60, and they make a massive difference to anyone having to work on spreadsheets, websites, and generally have a tone of stuff open.
When we lived in a one-bed flat, I found working from home hard because there was only space for one desk. We shared that desk which was pretty annoying. I’d say that a one-bed flat is one of the most challenging places to work from as your space is so limited.
If you do have the space for a desk, get one. One that’s not your bed, or sofa, or toilet. Preferably somewhere which is your dedicated workspace which you can walk away from. Ikea does some great slimline desks which might work for you. When your work and your home are the same places, it isn’t easy to draw a line between the two. This is an excellent way of helping you form some separation.
If you’ve seen my Instagram, it’ll be no shock to you that I love a plant. My house is a bit of a jungle, and I love it. In my office, I have four plants and three cacti. The monstera that sits next to my desk is my pride and joy.
Plants have a calming effect on us, which is why they’re great to have in and around your office. They’re stress relievers and increase productivity. Plus they look cool. Have I convinced you yet? You don’t need to spend a fortune either, the middle aisle of Lidl is always full of gold.
Comfy chair & a pleasant environment
A chair that you sit in for hours on end needs to be comfy. That goes without saying, right? Something which supports you and makes you feel that you can concentrate without having to readjust every five minutes is ideal. I have a chair I can melt into; it’s bliss.
I also think having a relaxing environment that you look forward to working in is essential. Whenever I spend a bit of time jazzing up my workspace, it makes me feel more excited about sitting down at my desk and cracking on with some work. For you that might be a candle, some photos of your previous work, or a nice rug.
You should see now how all of these points tie together. Having a clean space is part of having a comfortable environment as mentioned above, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. Perhaps you’re moving house, you live in a house with five kids, or your home is a building site (I’ve been there!).
Try and find even a small space which is yours, and keep it tidy. That might be a small section of the dining room table, get your hands on whatever you can. The tidiness will give you mental clarity and help you to have a calm experience while working.
I hope you’ve found these tips on making a calming workspace helpful. If you’re struggling with the loneliness, you can also buddy up with someone to work with on zoom. It feels weird to start with, but leave zoom open and both work. You can chat away when you need to, but also get on with work. A calm workspace will help you be productive and keep your mind calm during these incredibly stressful times.
Comment your tips below or send pics of your workspace!