Working from home in these uncertain times can take a little getting used to. Most of us (like many of you, I’m sure) weren’t prepared to have our homes become workspaces for two weeks, much less an unknown amount of time. Some of us have kids at home, at least one of us is working from the basement, and some are lucky enough to have spare rooms we’ve moved our work into overnight.
Are these spaces expertly styled to the nines like the ones we complete for our clients? Well… not quite!
To give you a real, unedited, inside look at where we’ve been conducting business over the last few weeks, we are each sharing some photos of our home “offices” with you. Our spaces may not be glamorous or perfectly styled but that doesn’t mean we’ve been any less committed to our work and the people we love to support. (Like you!)
We’ll also share some tactics that have helped us achieve “normalcy” and some that totally flopped. I hope our stories give you some ideas to try that will help you make your space as relaxing, productive, and inspiring as possible. Together, we’ve got this!
Like most of you, I didn’t have much time to prepare a work at home space, so I’m making the most of it. With my three kiddos at home, I’m fortunate enough to have a bonus room off our master bedroom that I can sneak away to for work. It used to be my husband’s old WFH office and has much to be desired with regard to designer furnishings or decor, but I’m grateful to have a dedicated, sun-filled space.
Home Office Features
The funniest part is the frame on the desk, placed there by my husband years ago. I get to look at a photo of me in my wedding gown, with random photos of my kids (as babies) casually ‘tucked’ inside the frame. I keep thinking I’ll get a current family photo to place beside it, but I really only need to walk 30 seconds to see any of them, or to just wait for a walk-in visitor.
Otherwise, I haven’t taken much time to really make it my own, other than a pink pillow on the chair to give me my color fix. I guess I’m anxiously waiting to get back to my design studio and felt if I tried too hard to beautify it, the universe would keep me here!
Judy: Because I do a lot of analytical tasks and enjoy time alone, I was excited about working from home. Having worked from home at times here and there, I knew how productive I could be in a quiet environment.
I’m not known for my IT prowess to say the least, so the first few days of connecting all the electronics and figuring out how to work on a round table felt a little like trying to write with my least dominant hand! I had so much trouble trying to make my printer from the office work, (either wirelessly, or tethered) that I gave up and just bought a new printer!
Biggest Surprises Working from Home
As the “go-to” person at the office for so many things, I am frequently getting interrupted for questions or from someone needing assistance (which is why I sometimes work from home!). For some reason, it didn’t occur to me that working “at home alone” wouldn’t alter this part of my job — it just comes in the form of technology instead of in person!
Elton John is pretty chill, but I imagine he’ll be very excited to see everyone again. We Facetime’d Brianna the other morning so he could get a dose of normalcy! What I miss the most is laughing with my great team over funny little things throughout the day. Laughter is our stress reliever. Someone text me something funny please!
Becky: This is my at-home workspace in my new home in Jamestown! The sun hits my spot beautifully in the afternoon.
WFH Productivity Tips
It’s been helpful for me to shut the door even though I am the only one in the house because it makes me feel that I am in my zone and helps me maintain my focus.
Making phone calls flopped… I am using my personal hotspot on my phone since I haven’t yet been able to set up wifi in my new house, but I can’t be on the phone and use my computer at the same time. I’ve been making it work with zoom or other web-based video conferencing apps though!
Honestly, connecting with our clients via Facetime or Zoom calls has been the best thing during this time. It reminds me of why we do what we do — for real people with real lives and families. Our clients really do become our friends and we love being able to support them in any way we can even during times of crisis.
Brianna: I’m really grateful that I purchased a new desk before finishing my last quarter at college. My old one was way too small! Being able to work here in the comfort of my room hasn’t been so bad considering I’m a natural introvert and a former homeschooler.
It can be a little noisy living off of Route 44 and having my entire family home all day, but that’s nothing some headphones and good music can’t fix!
Meridith: “Nothing glamorous about these digs, but MAN is it conducive to getting the job done! I am in good shape down here in my basement home office and haven’t lost any momentum as far as the procurement process goes.
I have zero distractions (the weights in the back corner certainly aren’t calling my name!), though I hear what occasionally sounds like a herd of elephants overhead. My 3 and 5-year-old daughters playing with Dad are being SO very understanding of leaving Mommy alone to work!”
By far, my biggest mistake was pulling up an Irish step dancing video for them to watch on St. Patrick’s day… I thought for sure they would come right through the floor and land on my head!
Jessie: I will be honest, adjusting to working from home has felt challenging from time to time. I love my normal weekly routine where I am able to go to work, go to the gym, and heck, even just go to HomeGoods when I want, so being cooped up in the house can damper my moods some days. But now that we are about 4 weeks in, I can say I have grown accustomed to the new no
I certainly miss interacting with the team every day in the studio, so I’m grateful for the technologies that our team has been using, such as Zoom and Slack, to keep us virtually connected.
I have found that taking a walk with my marketing assistant (AKA Marlin, our chocolate lab), or doing a virtual yoga class during my lunch break hour really breaks up the day!
Home Office Design
We had been meaning to do something with this spare room in our home, so we decided now was the perfect time to turn it into a home office so that we could 1) have a project to work on while quarantining and 2) so that I could have an inspiring place to work now, and going forward!
In true Blakely fashion, I decided to infuse some color in my new space to send me positive vibes. It’s still a work in progress (the walls need some art, and I’d love a new chair), but for right now I have everything I need. Each morning I’m excited to “go to work” (aka walk down the hall from my bedroom to my office) because now I have a dedicated space to get work done.
Moira: Having recently moved into a new home, the guest room/office is usually the dumping ground for projects that have yet to be completed and is last on the list for any improvements. But…
Multiple Work Spaces
I like to switch up my workspace throughout the day! When I want to escape the sad, bare office walls and enjoy some daylight, I move to the kitchen table. I can open the slider to get some fresh air and have a great view outside to our pond — keeping an eye out for wildlife.
As a company, we recently started using Slack and it has also helped maintain the flow of communication and stay on top of our tasks. I remain focused as I know that the work I am doing will bring our clients joy and a home to enjoy well beyond a stay-at-home order!
Well, they’re not quite the Blakely office we’re used to, but they are all getting the job done!
So, how have YOU been managing your workspace at home? Where is it, and is it working? Have you decorated or added any personal touches? We would LOVE to hear!
Won’t you make our day and tell us about it in the comments below? 🙂