29 Nov 2021

Kildare Interiors: Tips for a top temporary home office during Covid-19

All Things Interior with Louise Higgins of Aspire Design

Kildare Interiors: Tips for a top temporary home office during Covid-19

Try to have a dedicated home office area

During the Covid-19 restrictions, huge numbers of employees and the self-employed have made the temporary shift to working from home, as requested where possible by our Government.

For some this was an easy transition, as they may have worked one or two days a week from home prior to the restrictions; but for others this is a new experience and can be a challenging one, especially if you have children. Here are a few simple tips that may help you with the transition.

Tip 1 — Have a Dedicated Home Office Space

It is very important to have a space exclusively for work, as not having a well-equipped home office can lead to a temporary decrease in productivity as you are less focused on the tasks at hand.

The perfect solution is a separate room with a door for privacy. If you don’t have a spare room that you can dedicate to a home office, then pick a quite area in your home.

This could be your hallway, a corner in your living/dining room or a bedroom etc.

Tip 2 — Make sure it’s Comfortable with Adequate Storage

Don’t lie in bed or on your sofa with a laptop. Instead, ensure you have a dedicated desk with a comfortable chair. It is very difficult to work in a messy space so ensure you have ample storage to keep your office area clear of clutter.

If your temporary office has a dual function with your bedroom, try to keep both areas tidy as a messy room will certainly distract you from your work.

Ensure your desk height is between your waist and ribcage to allow your elbows to rest upon the table without hunching forward and affecting your posture. Likewise, the chair should be comfortable enough for work but not too comfortable as to allow you to fall asleep.

Tip 3 — Lighting & Ventilation

Task lighting is an extremely essential element for any room. In a home office you should aim to maximise natural light and ventilation where possible. A proficient reading light can reduce uncomfortable short-term effects like eye strain or headaches.

Tip 4 — Add Some Greenery

Add some houseplants to your room as these will improve indoor air quality and will also create a serene space. There are plenty of different varieties for you to choose, such as a large, striking palm, some fresh flowers in a clear vase, a living green wall, some potted plants to add to your shelves or some indoor hanging planters. In addition, you could burn essential oils to aid concentration.

Tip 5 — Privacy

Try to limit distractions whilst you work. Advise your family that if your door is closed then you are not to be disturbed. It might also be good to add a sign to the door handle e.g. ‘On A Conference Call’ for moments where you can’t be disturbed.

Employers are very understanding so don’t be too upset if your children happen to walk in on your important conference call as you will find that everyone is in the same boat at this time!

It can be hard for children to understand why you can’t interact with them during the day so perhaps during your lunch break you could all go for a 20 minute walk together to ensure you get the fresh air you need and that your family understand you can only see them during your breaks.

If both parents are trying to work from home during Covid-19 whilst also keeping your children entertained and on top of their home schooling, then it may be necessary to set up a schedule for everyone. This can include a homework roster, time to play, TV time, lunch breaks etc, and will also include both adults having staggered working times.

Lastly, make sure to avoid feeling isolated. If you come from a busy office where you had several face-to-face meetings a day, you may feel isolated when working from home. Ensure you have virtual meetings with your work colleagues and regular manager check-ins to ensure you have clear communication.

If you are the manager, ensure you take time to keep peoples spirits up and acknowledge the hard work of your employees during this stressful time.

Thanks for taking the time to read my weekly interiors column. Remember if there is a topic that you would like covered in a future column then please drop me a line with your suggestions. #Remember social distancing and where possible stay home. Many thanks and stay safe.

Louise is a previous winner of TV3’s Showhouse Showdown. 0863999926;

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