How to work from home, when you’ve never worked from home before.

"Modern home office shelving"

Soooo, we find ourselves in unusual times hey? I don’t know about you, but I’m on an emotional roller coaster and I want to get off! 

Our lives have pretty much been turned upside down and inside out by something very scary that we have very little control over. We need to stay in when really, all of our natural instincts are telling us to run for the hills! Added to that, we now need to work from home, when perhaps we’ve never done this before.

I was thinking about what most people are experiencing now and it’s working from home, home schooling children and being in and around the home A LOT. So let’s see if we can come up with some strategies that will help us survive our national “Big Stay In” (my natty slogan will catch on, trust me)


Carve out some office space

If you and your partner are both working from home and you have no designated space to do so, you need to get something set up and pronto. Working at the end of the dining table ain’t gonna cut the mustard when your boss wants to Zoom with you and your dear child is sat next to you scoffing his lunch!

Near a window is best, natural daylight is your friend. You don’t really want to be directly in front of a window if you’re South facing, it’ll be waaay too bright, so sit side on in this instance. Also, it’s best not to have a window behind you. To balance out the light generally, pop on a table lamp which should cast an even glow.

I wouldn’t normally advocate setting up a home office in a bedroom, but in these strange times, it might just be your best bet. It’ll hopefully be far enough away from the children that you can concentrate (with what time you’ll actually get, what with the home schooling timetable) and deter you from working too much at night. But a small desk can be set up pretty much anywhere, see below for some neat ideas on squeezing in office space where once there was none.


Zone your rooms

By this, I mean create spaces for different functions. Let’s say for example, the only space you can realistically carve out is in the lounge or dining room, then zone those rooms so that your “office” portion feels separate. You can do this by moving furniture to create a “block” e.g pull your sofa away from the wall and set it at a right angle, use a bookcase or shelving as a divider – et voila, it’s just created space behind where you can put a desk. Or it can be a play area, or a den, or the naughty corner. I don’t know, I’m just helping you create the space, it’s up to you how you use it! Have a look at some of these images to give you some more ideas.


Sort out the children’s space

Once you’ve zoned your rooms, you may find some space for the kids too. If you’re not lucky enough to have a playroom , or a dedicated space for the general detritus that comes with having kids, then create some space in their bedrooms. Somewhere they can write/read is really going to help with the home schooling. If you’ve not already, setting up a small desk area doesn’t need to be expensive. Ikea has a huge range of kids desks, and other items like table tops you can “hack” to make up what you need. Also, they’re currently still delivering. This means you might (I stress might!) get some work done yourself!


Routine & Structure

I work from home anyway, so it’s not new to me. If I could give any advice it’s to really try to get some sort of routine/structure to your days. I fully appreciate it’s easier said than done right now! The neat little video that the employees at Aprtment Theray did is fun, (link below) there were some good tips. The main ones for me are to:

  1. Get dressed. It’s fun lounging around in sweatpants when you’re used to getting dressed for work, but trust me, you’ll feel better if you get dressed. Also, your boss and co-workers will appreciate seeing you looking like you’ve made the effort!
  2. Spend the time you would have spent commuting to make yourself something nice for breakfast. Or do some exercise, or go for a walk, or just relish in the fact that you can spend that time with the family. That morning rush will be back with us before we know it, so make the most of the time you have now.
  3. Call your co-workers. This is a great tip. I generally work by myself at home, and I do sometimes miss the office banter/gossip that goes with having colleagues. It’s still important to chat and keep those relationships, outside of the video conferencing calls.

I hope you’ve found this at least a little bit useful. Stay safe, stay home and wash those mitts 🙂

Angela xxx

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