I have been working from home for years, moving between the living room and kitchen, and sometimes even my bed, depending on the light, the weather and what I’m working on.
And I live in a small home, with an open-plan kitchen/living room. It has been vital for me to be able put everything away out of sight, when the work is done. Personally, I have identified that as serving my self-care.
In an ideal world, our work would be out-of-sight (with the aim of also being out-of-mind) during our down-time. But the COVID crisis has forced hundreds of thousands of people across the globe to create an at-home work space, and for many there isn’t the luxury to situate it in a spare bedroom or other under-utilised room.
This image depicts a scene that is probably typical in many homes right now…and a scene that is likely to be ongoing for some time to come. If you are living with something like this, I would encourage you to explore ways of minimising this working view at the end of each day. Living with the obvious signs of our day’s work permanently in sight, is subconsciously draining.
It might be yet another time-consuming task to find and install a way of addressing it. But disguising, if not altogether hiding these visual cues when you’re officially off-duty will reap rewards.
Can you install wall shelves to move files and other paraphernalia off the kitchen table? Even if this doesn’t fit with your design plan and aesthetic, it is worth considering as a temporary measure. When the time comes that you no longer need to dedicate this corner of your home to work, you can remove the shelving and fill in the holes. Or keep them and replace the work paraphernalia with plants, art, books and attractive display items.
In the meantime, they can not only clear up space, improving the intended functionality of your dining table, but they can also facilitate storing vital supplies more stylishly. Choose shelving that blends with the room’s style, or paint them to blend in if you can’t find what you’d like within your budget.
Use attractive baskets and other containers to hide files and other work debris, bringing them down from the wall when you need them and returning them out of sight, and out of the way, when you’re finished with them.
Replace an ugly computer desk with one that fits with your kitchen aesthetic and choose one that comes with built-in wall shelving, or under-desk drawers and cupboards where your files can live. There’s an abundance of options to suit different needs, from drop-downs to three-legged corner desks, and a wide selection of those that come with in-built shelving.
Following are just a few ideas available from high street stores or online:
With everything we’re dealing with right now, prettifying the corner of your home that you’re now working from may not feel like a priority. But I would urge you to seriously consider it. It may need to involve some financial outlay (perhaps your employer can cover that), but if spent smartly on the right pieces it can serve the dual purpose of meeting your work needs, while also serving your personal need for your home to also be a sanctuary in which you renew yourself after your working day.
Our self-care has never been more important. And having your work stuff always in plain sight, not to mention taking up everyday space, may be having a subconscious drain on your mental energy.
If you can’t hide it completely, at least minimising what’s on sight, clearing stuff out of the way, and presenting the area more attractively (and in keeping with your aesthetic) will have a beneficial effect in this regard.
It doesn’t have to be an instagrammable arrangement. Personally, I have simply dedicated a kitchen cupboard to the everyday paraphernalia, while the paperwork I need to access on an occasional basis lives in the hall cupboard.
Everyone’s set-up and needs will be different, but I highly encourage you to get creative and look for a solution rather then just living with it. It will make a difference to your wellbeing.