Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Home Office Is the New Black; Lets Dress It Up and Ourselves Accordingly

Lord a mercy if the home office hasn't become the most talked about space in our homes this month! Here's the facts: most of us will be forced to work from home thanks to this next level pandemic aka the corona virus so we need a plan. As a veteran in the home office lane, who has always worked from home, I'm sharing a few tips on how to quickly carve out a space that's both beautiful and functional to make you as productive as possible.

1. Consider your dining room. How many of us REALLY dine in our dining rooms? Stop walking by them as a shrine and make it a functional home office. I've done this twice in my home. 

This was our old combined living/dining room which I transformed last year for the One Room Challenge to be a fully functioning office by day for our design team, and a dining room at night and for special occasions. 

You'll need loads of storage for samples, school supplies, paperwork and files. This was a custom built-in but since that won't be an option for a quick office conversion, consider bookcases and buffets/servers from a big box retailer for added storage you'll need. 

2. Your existing dining table can serve double duty. Make it a true work-horse by making one half as the kid zone if you're home-schooling during this virus, and the other half where you get work done. It will also help to set dedicated office hours. I've always started my day at 5am which now gives me a solid 3 hours of work time before Xavier is up and hollering for breakfast since his school routine is out of wack. You may not be an early riser, so do the reverse and get the kids day started first and then carve out some office time and consider working later into the night if you're a night owl.

3. Don't have an entire room to dedicate as an office, then consider an empty closet like my design sissy from another mother Stacy did here in a little used closet in her home years ago. 

Via Design Addict Mom
3. Dress the part. I always get fully dressed and wear light makeup even if I have no meetings planned. 

This has always set the tone that this is a place of business. Walking around in your pajamas all day just won't do that. Shower, get dressed and get to work. You'll likely be doing a lot of meetings via FaceTime, Skype and Zoom so don't be caught off guard looking a hot mess. Though feel free to cheat a bit and get dressed from the waist up!

My former home office space, the home's original dining room. I worked here for 5 years before moving to the larger living/dining combined space. This transformation was also a product of the one room challenge because I live for a deadline. I've never installed a TV in either home office. 
4. Limit social media and TV while in the office. I can't focus with the TV on so for us it's always been light music via Spotify or Pandora to get through the day. My notifications on all apps are all turned off, so I only check DMs, Facebook etc. when I pause, not all day incessantly to let them derail my work flow. But do pause and check on your fellow home office squad. We'll all need to feel connected and sane as we grapple with the fallout from this virus.  

5. Take a break. Coffee breaks are key for us always. Ditto some much needed chatter about mindless trivia - latest Netflix binge-worthy show, school and personal sagas, anything to have a momentary distraction. With the kids around this will ultimately save your sanity. Have em take a nap, and join them! A power nap has saved my life on many occasions. Or just walk around the block or your back yard for a few minutes before you get back to work/school work life. 

Any other tips to work successfully from home? Please post in the comments so we can all share and maintain our sanity.

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