Millions of office workers now confined to their homes yet still required to work and many will never go back. So now seems to be the ideal time to look at how to create home office spaces.
You might be wrestling with this issue already, and finding that it’s not as easy as it seems. Actually organizing space, separating it from domestic life, and maintaining comfort is a hard balance to strike. But as ever, there are solutions – and greatcontent’s inventive freelance community is the place to find them.
How we’re adapting to the home working challenge
At greatcontent, our 10,000 strong freelance community has years of experience in home working, and our office staff have also put their creative minds to good use since heading home a couple of weeks ago.
We wanted to canvas our freelancer community and staff to contribute their ideas about home office design during this tricky period, so we asked them the following questions:
- How can you turn your living room into a welcoming office space where you can work efficiently?
- How can you keep children happy when schools and daycare centres are closed?
- How do you manage to work in a concentrated way and not be distracted by the streaks on the windows? Maybe cleaning quickly before starting to work?
What started as a light-hearted consultation has produced some really useful feedback, and here are some potentially transformative tips to mix work and home life.
1. Andreina: Gaining motivation from her feline friend
Our winning entry came from Andreina, who has adopted a minimal on the tech side, as you’d expect from a Mac user. Keeping the clutter on your desk under control is a great principle to apply as you try to stay focused at home, allowing you to concentrate on the screen alone. Using a plain surface instead of wood, and keeping the outside world at a distance via blinds also makes a lot of sense.
However, while Andreina’s office is pretty minimalist, there is at least one addition that you won’t normally find in corporate HQ – her cat. Obviously, her little buddy loves boxes, as all cats seem to do, and also wants to be close to its owner. With the box placed alongside her monitor, Andreina can mix up bursts of productivity with a little petting and TLC.
The only problem here is keeping the kitty off keyboards (and away from the essential cup of tea). But it’s a great idea to bring some warmth to a working space.
2. Delaide: Tunes and blooms to stay positive
Our second prize went to Delaide, who took a totally different approach. As you can probably tell from the photo, Delaide is a music lover and prefers to work with playlists on the go. And that’s something we’d advise if you struggle to concentrate. Adding some beats or ambient music that’s suitable for work can blank out external distractions. Or you could alternate writing a text with playing a tune – a good way to break up your time.
Additionally, Delaide has decided to avoid the minimalist approach. Instead, she’s added flowers and devotional ornaments – something that a lot of us will be relying on as the crisis passes. She can work for a while, then swivel her chair to the candle and flowers for a little reflection. Again, it’s a neat way to get away from the screen, while keeping the bigger picture in mind.
Finally, check out the desk itself. With its sliding keyboard compartment, monitor deck, and numerous storage compartments, it should keep key technology safe from damage, and let Delaide store essentials within easy reach.
3. Aleksandra: Cosy enough for cats, but with sneaky productive ideas
Our third-place entry came from Aleksandra. Again, it offers a few very useful home office tips to take on board. In fact, it’s so well-organized that even famously demanding cats are happy to sit at the desk and sign up for extra work.
Well, maybe not, but this is definitely a sensible working space and one that suits those with compact flats. Aleksandra uses an extra keyboard, which allows her to push her screen back a few inches – something that can help to make sitting more comfortable. She also utilizes the hand rests on her laptop to make quick notes. If you’re struggling with posting schedules or ticking off keywords, it’s a neat idea.
Aleksandra has placed her desk right next to a radiator (which may be why her cat is so happy to be a photo model), while her mouse mat has a very sensible hand rest. Nobody wants to add wrist pain to Corona anxiety, so this is a very good call.
We want to hear your home office tricks
Creating a home working space is on many peoples’ minds right now, and there’s no right way to do so. However, it’s always a good idea to learn from home working veterans, and greatcontent’s community has shown that it’s full of expertise.
Even so, there’s still time to make a contribution. If you have any home office tips or photos of working spaces to share, feel free to interact via Twitter or LinkedIn using #greathomeoffice. We’d love to share your creativity, so don’t be shy. We’re all in this together, and everyone has something to contribute.
Text: Sam Urquhart
Image: unsplash.com, Andreina, Delaide, Aleksandra