Still working from the couch? It's time you gave your back the support it needs - literally.
Back in mid-March, the idea of spending two whole weeks stuck inside our cramped, tight-for-space homes whilst working exclusively from our kitchen tables, sofas and often occasionally beds was daunting. Little did we know, those two weeks would eventually stretch into 34–and counting.
Another day not in the office, another day working hard at our impractical desk set-ups, another day staring at the same four walls. It's tough. Granted, it's an extremely fortunate situation to be in: employed and working from the comfort of our homes but it's not without its obstacles. Some of us are lucky enough to have pets for colleagues, others face the challenges of having kids running around in the background during important work video calls. Not everyone has a separate room they can transform into a home office – or even a proper desk to work from, for that matter. It’s tough.
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And although it's been this way for many for the past eight months, the majority of us find ourselves back working from home for at least another four weeks in line with the recent government restrictions. Sure, you could return to the art that is attempting to balance a monitor screen on a stack of books. You could also even risk chiropractic damage from balancing a laptop on your knees as you sink deeper and deeper into the couch. Or, you could finally set up an at-home working space that works for – not against – you.
That said, we understand that space is not a premium and the idea of cluttering what little space you do have with an unsightly standing desk is also not an option. But the good news is that you can have the best of both worlds. With a little ingenuity, you can set up your home office space just about anywhere.
To prove this to be true, we quizzed Valerie O’Keeffe, CEO of ClarityVP Consulting on how to set up a home office, even in the smallest of spaces.
1. Create dual-purpose spaces
"When space is at a premium, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to be able to dedicate a whole room to a home office, so it’s worth thinking about how you can create multiple uses for your space. Guest bedrooms are a great place to start as they are frequented less often. You could add a small desk and sleek chair that won’t be obtrusive should you have guests come to stay. Add shelves above the desk area and invest in some matching storage files to keep your work materials organised. When it comes to multi-purpose furniture, a desk could easily double as a dressing table with the addition of a freestanding mirror that you could add/remove depending on the use."
2. Create a wall storage unit
"Fill a wall with modular shelving including a desk. To make the space feel less utilitarian, keep office supplies in attractive storage boxes, and use the shelves to display your favourite possessions too."
3. Make the most of underused spaces
"No one said that home offices had to be self-contained spaces. Thinking outside of the four walls concept is a great small home office idea! If you have any wasted space (under stairs, large landings, hallways, kitchens or dining rooms), this could be the ideal place for your home office. You could even consider using paint, flooring or rugs to zone the different elements of the space, so it feels more intentional than makeshift."
4. Get creative with your office storage
"If your home office is just your kitchen table but you still need space to keep your papers, stationery and tech, think about using under your bed for storage or a section of your wardrobe. Use desk organisers and folders to separate from your personal storage."
5. Don’t forget to enjoy the little things
"It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re stuck inside working in a less than optimal space. Take a minute to step away from your work and find the good in something. Instead of getting angry at your canine co-worker for adding their two cents to your important conference call, try to laugh it off or better still – get out of the house for 10 minutes of fresh air! Remember, having your home fridge, and favourite tea’s and coffees available all day every day is a luxury we would not have taken for granted 12 months ago."
Main image by James McDonald