We have a little over two weeks to the end of the Movement Control Order (MCO), which may or may not be extended again. Working from home is the new norm, so make your home office look the part.
For those not used to it, working from home can be extremely challenging. One thing I realised very early in my career is that while I wouldn’t thrive in a traditional office space, I needed to recreate my version of that environment at home to be productive. Here are a few lockdown home decor ideas I’ve learnt over the years that may help you.
Carve out a ‘work zone’
Distractions are just something you will have to deal with (as I type this, I have one cat snuggled in my lap vying for my attention and another trying desperately to squat on my laptop). But you can minimize the interruptions by a finding spot in your house that is relatively secluded. I am well aware that this is not an easy task. I would love to have a dedicated room as my office, but I don’t have space.
I also realised, working in the living room with other family members going about their day or the television on in the background wasn’t going to work. I’ve turned a cosy nook in my bedroom into my workspace. For couples who are working from home, you could try sharing that space. Just make sure your router is placed close by and space is well lit.
Don’t underestimate the power of a desk
My first big purchase for my home office was a beautiful and functional desk. Buying a table is not feasible, or indeed possible, at this time. The easiest option is to turn the dining table into your working area. I, however, would only keep that as a last resort. You could instead try using the coffee table or dressing table as your temporary work desk. Maybe your wardrobe has an open alcove you could clear out for the time being or use a shelf in that open shelving unit. You could also turn an ottoman or even a bed tray into a makeshift desk.
Make sure your seating supports your back
Most people don’t have a spare ergonomic chair lying around, so you are most probably going to end up using a dining chair. A cushioned back works well but remember to stretch every hour or you are going to be sore by the end of the day. An ergonomic, memory foam or sleep pillow also eases the strain on your back.
If you are using a low surface like an ottoman, fashion comfortable seating on the floor with your back against the wall and cushions to prop you up to a comfortable height. Don’t sit on the couch and place your laptop on the coffee table. The constant bending down will eventually take a toll on your back. Another tip, don’t work from your bed – you won’t be very productive and that posture is very bad for your back.
Organise your files
Chances are that your temporary office isn’t going to need storage. But if you do have the need, improvise a file cabinet for the time being. You could empty a bedside or end table for this purpose and place it next to your work station. You may also add magazine racks or stacked storage baskets to your ‘lockdown home decor ideas’ list.
Separate ‘workwear’ for home
Some people have found that dressing in office attire even at home helps keep their routine and make them more productive. If that works for you, go for it. For most of us, however, unless there is a conference call, we usually find ourselves in pyjamas. This is inevitable – don’t try to fight it. What I have done is separate my lounge-wear from sleep clothes and home ‘workwear’, and I never mix the two.
It may seem like a silly ritual but the very act of getting dressed goes a long way. You are also more productive if you don’t wear those comfy pyjamas you usually associate with sleep. So, for the time being, pick out three to four comfortable outfits that you will wear only during your work time.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.