WORKING FROM HOME
Updated: Jan 25
At Owl Design we are lucky in that we have always had the option to work from home or the office, whenever it suited us and the projects we were working on. This kind of flexibility was something that us founders (Simone and Sophie) were passionate about when we started the company. Many of us were also forced to work from home, suddenly, and totally unprepared! Although initially sounding like a great idea, many people soon discovered it was actually quite difficult, with not enough space, too many distractions and nothing to break up the day. So as experienced 'home workers', we thought we’d share some of our tips on creating a productive home working environment.
Photo: Kelly Wearstler
We have always been advocates for working from home, as not only does it save on commuting time, it also increases productivity without the constant distractions often found in busy open plan offices - if done right. Working from home can also give you a bit more flexibility, meaning you can work to your own timetable to help you get the most out of your day. Given the choice, most people would want a little more input into their working environment, from the chair they sit on to how they position their desk. Sadly, this isn’t feasible in most traditional offices.
We believe that as the world is recovering from the current pandemic, we will see a more permanent shift in how we work and attitudes towards working from home. Having a home office may soon become the norm. We know working remotely isn’t always possible, but for many careers, having the right laptop and good wifi is all you need to set up for the day. With many companies currently having no choice but to let employees work from home, they will hopefully overcome any trust issues they may have had regarding productivity.
Photo: Laplace & Co.
Working from home isn’t easy; you need self-discipline, to be able to set yourself goals, and have (and stick to) a routine. If you can do this and remain organised and motivated then you’ll find your well-being and productiveness improve. Here are some of our top tips which we have found super useful when working from home:
Plan a daily routine and stick to it, not forgetting to include self care!
Get up at the same time every morning
Make your bed
Have a shower and get dressed (no working in your PJs)
Have a healthy breakfast
Write a to-do list for the day
Have a set lunch time, preferably away from your desk
Cook a healthy lunch, this is one of the bonuses of working from home having your own fully stocked kitchen, so you don’t find yourself eating processed food.
Go for a walk or do some stretches. The only downside from working from home is that it’s far too easy to sit and not move anywhere as you no longer have to walk to a station, for example. Make sure you get some movement into your day!
Set a time for your working day to end, and stick to it, so you don’t end up constantly in work mode.
Re-purpose commuting time. When working from home, it’s tempting to extend your hours to get things done, instead, use commuting time to achieve a goal, learn something new or exercise.
Productivity & Workspace
If possible, create your workspace somewhere that you can close the door on at the end of the day in order to try and keep the boundaries between work and downtime. If this isn’t possible, make sure you always tidy any work documents away: all out of sight, out of mind.
Think about what makes you feel productive and helps you stay in the zone. Maybe play some music, light a candle or invest in some new stationary.
Set time aside at the end of the day to tidy your desk.
As we mentioned, working from home means you can create your own schedule, so work when you are most productive. If starting the day early and finishing early means you get more done, then adjust your work hours (just keep your colleagues in the loop!)
Focus on one task at a time and set a time limit. It might also help to turn off your phone / emails so there are no distractions when getting this done!
Only check emails at certain times of the day, if possible.
Set some boundaries. If you share your home with friends or family let them know that you aren’t available during certain hours to keep distractions to a minimum.
Designing your home workspace
When planning, think about how much space you need. Do you just work from a laptop? Or do you need multiple screens, or ample desk space to spread out documents? This will be the main factor in where you can position your work space and the type of desk you need. For example, if you only work from a laptop then there are many small desks available, from fold up to wall mounted which could easily be placed on a landing or alcove without taking up too much space.
Natural light is very important when deciding on where you work. A dark gloomy corner will not only cause more strain on your eyes but also dampen your mood causing you to be less productive. If you can place your work space near a window or well lit room that would be ideal. Choosing the right desk lamp too not only will improve the visual aspect and design but also help create ambiance and brighten the space.
Most jobs require sitting at a computer all day so making sure you have the right support and are comfortable is super important. Everyone has their own preference to an office chair, from padded to mesh, on wheels or something more classic, there is something for everyone.
If a brand-new note pad and pen which glides over the paper doesn’t inspire you to knuckle down then I don’t know what will! Like a child’s first day back at school after the summer holidays, treating yourself to some new stationary never looses it’s charm. From Muji to Choosing Keeping we’ve put together a few key pieces to keep your home office running smoothly.