Updated: Aug 22
So it looks like this #WFH thing is here to stay, doesn’t it? I mean, even as our offices open back up, we’re being given the option (and some of us are begging) to stay in our PJs with the promise that we’ll be just as productive at home. The issue, however, is that many of us do not have a dedicated space in our homes to do our jobs and we end up wasting time running back and forth throughout our living spaces getting the little things to make this area that we spend so much time at nice and cozy. The idea is that we need to kind-of ‘cubicle-ize’ our home offices, ya know?
OK so you’ve got your mind (well, most of it depending on how you spent your 20s) and this mind is used to do your jobs, both paid and unpaid in the case of you parents out there (I feel ya, BTW). For most of us, this will call upon the need for devices. I, for example, work with my laptop and phone simultaneously, while my husband uses a laptop, Chromebook and phone. Some of you need multiple monitors (I question the ‘need’ part of that – I think y’all just think you’re fancy but whatever). These things require space so you’ll need to assess your home for flat surfaces. On top of that, you need to seriously consider how you handle distractions, be they visual or audible. If you can’t handle either (like me), then a room apart from the others in your home, preferably with a door, is essential. If you can handle the visual distractions but not the audible (like my hubs), then noise-canceling headphones should do the trick. Either way, look deep into yourself, grasshopper, and be honest about who you are and what you need. Remember, if it doesn’t work, you’re back to the office (#Idontwannawearpants).
Next, you’ve got your body. This body needs a good temperature, fuel, and various degrees of professional appearance and hygiene. For the temperature part, consider if you’re a ‘usually hot’ or ‘usually cold’ kind of person. If you’re the former, then AC and fans are crucial, as are an extra pair of pants to throw on in case someone comes in the room. If you’re the latter, then blankets, space heaters and layers will help. As for fuel, if the fridge is on the other side of your living space, then be sure to eat well before you ‘go to work’ in the morning and bring some healthy snacks and extra beverages with you. It’s the same as when you go to the office, right? If you’re on a roll, you don’t want to have to stop to eat and your buddy in the cubicle next to you is NOT there to grab something for you while he’s out. When I go to my home office in the mornings, for example, I bring my coffee and tea with me and I keep granola bars and applesauce pouches in my desk drawer. That way, if I’m hungry, I don’t have to go upstairs, get distracted by my family and all of their ‘family things’ and end up coming back down three hours later. Got it? As for the appearance and hygiene parts, it all depends on who sees (and smells) you and how much you really care, anyway. I, for example, live in yoga pants with my hair in a ponytail all day long. On the rare occasion, however, when I have a live call and want to play the part of someone who has her sh*& together, I keep a hat, makeup and a mirror in my desk drawer so as to fake it convincingly. All of that said, though, in the end - you do you.
The spirit part is where it gets fun, because we all have some crazy a*^ spirits and they, dear grasshoppers, are what keep us going throughout the day. Think aesthetics and warm-fuzzies. For aesthetics, make sure that you create an environment that makes you feel productive and happy. Lighting and color are huge, as are decorations and the little things that you keep close by. If you need natural light to keep your spirits up, then be sure to work in a room with windows. If you hate the color of the walls in the room where you spend your working hours, then do some painting. If you need reminders of why you work, then put pics of your kids somewhere near. If you like working with your cats nearby, then put the cat tower close to you and keep treats and catnip in your desk drawer (that’s me, BTW). Either way, remember that this is all to keep you pant-less for the duration of your career, so look deep into yourselves and decide what that crazy spirit of yours needs.
In the end, friends, it’s all about us and finding the balance between what we can and can’t control. We’re still newbies to the whole pandemic/social distance thing and we’re learning as we go. Several years and decades from now, we’ll surely be able to look back on this and see what stuck and what was just a fad. My wish for you, dear readers, is that you’re looking back without pants on.
Aubrei Krummert is a Certified Professional Organizer in Athens, Ohio. She specializes in Home Productivity and works with clients across the United States, doing on-site and virtual sessions. Contact her now.
Photo by Tina Witherspoon on Unsplash