During these unprecedented times, many of us have found ourselves, quite suddenly, cooped up at home, working in cramped urban studio apartments or flat shares. For many of us, the realities of inner city living may be starting to grate. You all know what I’m talking about – the noisy neighbour with a passion for Metalica, or perhaps your charming housemate who’s collection of empty pizza boxes and used mugs is starting to resemble a Tracy Emin exhibit. Regardless of your situation, adjusting to working in a space designed for eating and sleeping can be tricky. In the following article, we’ll be looking at 5 easy peasy steps we can all take to make working from home bearable and as productive as possible.
1. Choose a space within your own domain.
For many of us, the options here are going to be limited. There are a couple of key boxes we need to tick. For those house sharing, this space is probably going to be a corner of your bedroom. While communal living may have its perks, working on a kitchen table with mad Denise hollering down the phone all day will not help you to focus and produce.
2. Position you desk by a window.
During these anxious and uncertain times, we must not underestimate the power of fresh air and natural light. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of getting natural sunlight to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD syndrome). If isolation in 24 degrees Celsius doesn’t make you sad, sitting in a dark corner for 8 hours will. Throw back those curtains and open the window!
When working, sleeping, eating, exercising and watching telly in the same space for 24 hours, things start to get very messy, very quickly. Make this space sacred. Get into the habit of cleaning as you go. Vito the dirty plates, try to give the carpet a once over at least once a week and keep surfaces clear.
4. Get in the zone.
Make your desk the epicentre of tranquillity, organization and cleanliness. This is not a place to litter with after breakfast breadcrumbs, nor should it become a temporary loading area for coffee stained cups and half nibbled kit Kats. Set out all the tools of your trade in an orderly fashion. Make this a nice space to be in – pick some flowers, pop your favourite pot plant on the side – create a place where you enjoy spending time and that offers an easy place to work!
5. An oasis of tranquillity.
Hear that? That’s the sound of Barbara flushing the toilet above your head for the 6th time today. If you weren’t already distracted (and disgusted), then you are now. This is a tricky one. When living in close confines with other people, its always going to be nosier than one would prefer. If, like me, you can simultaneously work while blaring Enya at an unsociable level then you should be fine. Otherwise, I would recommend now investing in a decent pair of noise cancelling headphones.
As the disrupting and unsettling realities of the lockdown continue to inhibit our day-to-day lives, it’s important that we carefully manage, more than ever, the spaces we now inhabit. By following these steps, hopefully we can all continue to
support the practices and businesses we work within, while maintaining and improving our own mental health and wellbeing; during this work from home period.
If you have any additional suggestions or insights, we’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line!