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Working from Home – It’s becoming a challenge

Working from Home is still new,  but the gloss has started to tarnish.  You are realising this situation is not just for a couple of weeks, but likely months.   It is starting to bug you that the separation between your work and home lives is becoming blurred.   Take steps to reduce the blur!   This is critical.   Removing the blur can be achieved through a number of different strategies.  This time, let’s look specifically at the work area you have at home.

A workspace is best if it is defined.     Whether that be a desk in an office, a simple folding table in your spare room or desk in the corner of your home that is not used for anything else.  The crucial bit is “… not used for anything else”.   I can hear the questions already!   Let’s say you are Working from Home for the first time and you have limited options.  Our homes are where we live, not work, usually.   So, you are using the space you usually have set aside for craft or your hobbies.  Seems reasonable?   This is a logical space to use for your work, right? 

I would suggest this is not a good place for you to work.   The prime reason is that this space is your hobbies or craft zone, or the place you go to forget about everything and unwind, destress and generally feel better mentally.   It’s your special place!   Now you are “contaminating” that space with work memories.  The benefits of having a hobbies or craft space will be diminished and you will consciously or subconsciously begin to resent the space.  The benefits of your craft or hobbies will be reduced as there will be the nagging reminders of work and what is next on the task list.   The distraction benefit of the craft or hobby are gone.

What is the solution?   Purchase a table/desk specifically for use as a workspace.   There is no need for all the bells and whistles.   It just needs to be large enough to accommodate the things you need to do work.   See if you can pick up something from a second-hand store that has a bit of a story.  Or duck into your local furniture store and get something that suits your budget.   Remember, at the end of the financial year it will be a deduction (most likely,  but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you will get it all back), so maybe spend a little more.   At the end of this period when we can all return to our previous normal, sell it on to someone else or donate to a charity.  Close the chapter of Working from Home by removing the elements associated with that activity.  If the furniture is something you already had and use as an office or you just want to keep it, actively remove all of your Working from Home things.   Clean the slate as they say.  Restore the area to what it was before you were Working from Home.  Prepare for the next chapter, whatever that might be!

Work chairs are a very different thing.   If your company is amenable, see if you can take your office chair home.  Chances are you are using one of your dining room chairs.  These are designed to be comfortable for about one to two hours.   The camp chair that you love to sit in and read will not have the right support for someone using a keyboard.   I have been watching the YouTube channels of professional race car drivers building their home simulators for the eRacing Series.  Some have race seats while others have picked up what was laying around.   I wager, two rounds in, all will have proper race seats.   Office chairs can be expensive.   We all hope the need to Work from Home will only be for a few months.   The spend on an office chair can be hard to justify.  There are some more budget friendly versions about.  The key is making sure it is sufficiently adjustable for height, back support and rests.

And finally, have all of this furniture located in a well ventilated, light and bright space that ideally you can cover, close off or in some way isolate from “home life”.   If it helps, put a sheet or a blanket over your workspace at the end of the day to create that “leaving work” feeling.  Create a screen or use one of those old privacy screens or room dividers!  The screen is to replicate closing your office door or leaving your office workspace at the end of the day.  It is closing off work and returning to home, mentally and physically.  

More to come.