When you work from home and don’t have a separate room that can be turned into a dedicated office, you need to be clever about how you keep your professional and personal spheres separated, while still in the same house. It’s not as difficult as it sounds – once you know what you’re doing – so take a look at these tips that will make it easier than ever.
One of the key elements of any home-working space is your desk. If you try to repurpose a pretty little table and pop your laptop on it as a makeshift desk, you’ll never be as productive as you could be, were you to invest in one of the models that are available to buy now. Modern and classic desks work nicely depending on the style of your home and, if you position them perfectly, you can create a working area that you can escape from when you’re off the clock and ready to relax.
Placing a desk in a corner can help to block out distractions, though it can feel isolating. A better idea is to place your desk somewhere that lets you see everything that is going on, with your desk acting as a physical and mental barrier to getting involved until you are able to. That way, when you do finally rejoin the rest of the household, you are making an effort to do so and deliberately disconnecting from your work.
In a busy home, getting the privacy you need to work can be almost impossible, but if you don’t mind some solitude, room screens are an excellent way to block yourself off. Because they are portable, they don’t feel too cloying or claustrophobic, but when you need to knuckle down and not get distracted by kids and the television, they are a valuable tool. They also happen to look lovely, so you could be adding to an already beautiful scheme with a set of coordinated screens.
Sometimes, the only option is to sacrifice a spare room to become a dedicated office. You shouldn’t feel bad about it or guilty, but make sure that you use it as effectively as possible and recognise that the smallest spare room will be more than adequate. If it isn’t, a garden room office might be a better consideration for you.
Don’t just think of bookcases as somewhere for displaying things, as they can work wonders as discreet room dividers.
Imagine a living room that has to also be a home office. Now picture an open-sided bookcase that not only acts as a handy storage item, but also helps to create a barrier between where you work and where you relax. It looks good, works as it should and helps to keep you focused too – a multifunctional piece!
The last tip is something so simple but effective, and it centres around the issue of lighting. Having a dedicated desk lamp means you can focus on what you need to, regardless of what else is going on around you. It also offers you an opportunity to both literally and symbolically switch off at the end of a work shift – a small gesture that helps to make the distinction between work and home that bit more distinct.
You don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing home office to be able to be productive in your role, but making a clear divide between professional and private areas is key to getting your work-life balance right.