Establishing Routine + The Makeshift Office
Routine, Routine, Location, and Routine- are the overall principles of a successful work from home strategy, at least in my opinion. In my last post, I asked you to list your day of tasks as if you were still at work and then create a new list based on being at home. We’ve had two days to contemplate our intermingled schedules. I know the task I gave you was not easy. And some of you are still struggling with it. For those that have, please note, that even though you have identified what your routine is at work, it is not a simple transfer to home. Especially when you have to work around your partner potentially being at home also along with your kids, along with your pets and along with all the rest of the daily, weekly and monthly household tasks literally slapping you in the face right now! Take a moment and breath. Give yourself a break. Know that your schedule is not perfect and will adapt over time and again remember this is a temporary situation.
I told you I would do the same exercise and it was hard. And since I work from home already for me the most vital starting point was my 5 year old son’s school schedule and how I could facilitate his learning all while trying to conduct my regular 9 to 5 business.
I started with breaking out his “school day” which really for him is Daycare and afternoon kindergarten. When I tried to put times to the schedule it fell apart. I got stressed, as the last two weeks of him trying to follow a timed program failed for us.
Instead I broke the work day into 2 halves- AM and PM and then allocated morning tasks and afternoon tasks and where those tasks were to occur. Key aspect is that the tasks don’t necessarily have strict time allotments as it will change day to day. And they don’t have to be in a prescribed order. The types of tasks enable him and I to have dedicated work time, activity time and family time within each half. Remember that you also need to get up from your computer, stretch your legs, call a co-worker etc.
The big realization for me, was that Oliver struggles the same way as most of you trying to work from home. When he is at home he behaves differently than at school so now I am blurring his concept of home time and school time. So what I decided to try this week, and fingers crossed it works, is that I am applying the same principles I am giving you for finding your makeshift office space for him.
I have a home office and it is large enough to accommodate two people. So I looked at my office and I had a large open space under the window. I started looking around my house for a surface that could act as a desk. We had an old ikea tv stand that was already back into its original components as it was in our storage area- it will make a good work surface! It is deep enough to facilitate a laptop coloring/exercise books etc. I asked my husband to bring it into my office and we laid the left side on to one of the kallax bookcases I have as a part of my material library. And we secured the right side with a makeshift leg. As he will be sharing the school time part of his day in my office I wanted him to feel like it’s his space while also still keeping it looking like my space. This was important to me as I don’t want him coming in at all times of the day and playing. This is temporary and when he’s back at school that work suface will return to storage. But for now this will be his dedicated school space alongside my work space. He loves the idea of working beside me.
Now I am not saying that any of you have to work alongside your children as that’s probably part of the struggle. But perhaps dedicated work space that all can use at different times of the day may work for your family structure. Talk as family and try to understand eachothers’ concerns and challenges. Also recognize that you may not get all your work done in the same span of time you did while from your workplace. Be okay with breaking up your day. Be cognisant of the times you need to communicate with co- workers and establish that as meeting time. But also, and this is the hard part, don’t work all day/ all evening as you will burn out.
Now that you have a suto-routine sorted, let’s find you a spot in your house to work from.
Here is the list of the key criteria. You may not be able to get everything, just try your best.
- Work Surface and comfortable chair- this can be as simple as a dining table, folding table or sofa table that you can pull a chair up to.
- Access to Internet / Electrical/ Phone- Now that we are in isolation, it’s critical that you are in a space that allows you to have good connection as the internet is overloaded. Speak with your boss and co-workers about an appropriate app that can facilitate virtual face to face meetings. I am hering good things about Zoom.
- Good Lighting – A bright and well lit space will help keep you alert.
- Window and Plant – Natural light will aid in the feeling of isolation as it connects to the outside world. Plants make people happy and you should be happy in your workspace.
- A space where “the door can be shut” when you are done working- This will depend on your home layout. But if there is a way to create a truly dedicated space then do it! Perhaps it’s the spare bedroom that now has the bed pushed out the way for you to set up a desk or if some of you have the formal living room that is common in many of the linden woods, whyte ridge, fort garry homes, make that the new home office. If it has doors even better. Find a quiet corner in the basement or mudroom. Even something as simple as taking the doors off a closet and grabing some lumber from your garage as desk will work right now. However there are spaces that do not work; avoid areas where family tends to convene, eat in-islands, tv rooms or your personal bedroom.
Here are some images of home offices just for inspiration- however remember they don’t have to be big or full of new stuff as this is a temporary situation. Do not feel like you have to buy office furniture to be efficient in this time period. Right now it’s more about you looking around your home for things that can be reused, dual action, and DIY pieces. If after all this is over, you decide you want to do a nice home office then we can chat! Please post your makeshift offices! I want to see them!
PS- Please remember to post your makeshift offices! I want to see them!
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Soma Interiors is looking for engagement as on our blog posts. And we are here to try to assist you in your specific needs. DM me on Instagram or leave a reply with you specific questions and we will provide suggestions in the form of #designertipoftheday or further blog posts. If you want a more indepth consultation of your personal workspace we can set up a virtual consultation. #hireadesigner #virtualconsultation #supportlocal #smallbusinesswinnipeg #helpingeachotherintimesofneed