Like many in these uncertain times, I have found myself unexpectedly working from home for the foreseeable future. I don’t have a real office at home, and while I thought I would be able to last this out from the couch, I am struggling to be productive in my space. Do you have any suggestions for creating a makeshift home office with what I have?
We’ll start by acknowledging that we are right there with you. It is hard enough to focus on productivity with the constant inundation of information and abundance of uncertainty in the air. Add in all of a sudden having a “transitional dining room” that now doubles as a home office into the mix and you have the exact opposite of a recipe for success. We’ve found that some adding some simple structure and creativity in our ‘new’ environments has done the team wonders. Whether you are looking to make the most of a small or studio apartment layout, feel inspired to tap into your internal “interior decorator” spirit, or just want an helping hand in thinking about how to make your space and furniture transitional, we’re here to help.
Here’s our guide to mapping routine into WFH days:
Step 1. Taking Stock: Start with a few questions - What type of work do you do? Silent reading and analysis, video meetings, creative output? What does a typical productive day in your traditional work environment look like? This first step is about laying out time spent at your desk, in meetings, at the studio, or traveling during ‘regular’ times. Even if you have a small or studio apartment layout, think about what chair you use, what direction you face, etc.
Step 2. Schedule Time: To the extent that you have scheduling power over your new WFH life, map each of these tasks to their most productive time of the day. Are you a morning person? Assign your most challenging tasks for coffee time. Does social interaction give you energy? Aim for meetings during afternoon slump.
Step 3. Build Your WFH Toolkit: At what first glance might seem like a dire situation with limited flexibility is actually a world of possibilities. Your space = your rules. It’s not just your physical desk you have power over, it is all other environmental factors in your home.
Step 4. Creating Space: Now the fun part - the merging of your toolkit and daily work schedule! This is where we merge the things we need to get done during each part of the day with resources we have to facilitate them. This is a completely iterative process - your own personal interior design consultation. Think of the output as a sketch that you can continuously revisit and tweak.
Step 5. Boundaries: Designate the beginning and end of your work day. It’s easy for working from home and homing from work to completely blend in the space time continuum of quarantine life. Setting boundaries on your time can make your work time more efficient and your rest time more renewing. Having a hard time sticking to it? We’ve been experimenting with everything from alarm clocks to accountability buddies.
Creating structure in your schedule can help you feel more productive from home. And creating designated space at home for work, even a stacked book standing desk at the kitchen counter, can create boundaries between different areas of your life that help you feel more in control of this new reality. In these unprecedented times, just because all parts of your life are happening at home, doesn’t mean they all have to blend together.
Let us know how your makeshift work environments are turning out! We’d love to see how you’ve used your space to improve your work via social @thelandingsocial or via writing at email@example.com.
Yours in #CreatingSpace,
Ellie and The Landing Team