Ike Obanye, Founding Director of London-based architecture practice Iketecture, shares how to balance work, rest and play all under one roof
Let’s rewind to just 12 short months ago when the very idea of being able to work from home would have filled many of us with delight. Once considered a sanctuary. A place to be our natural and true selves. Our homes used to be the safe place we would leave and come back to from a hard day at work, school, or play (or all three). But now, our homes are having to perform in ways they were never designed to as Covid-19 has changed its function completely. So, in order to help you Iketect your homes and live your best lives in lockdown, these are our top five hacks for leading a better and more productive remote-working life.
1. Have a routine and make Alexa your best friend
The power is in your routines. When you used to commute to work, you had a routine. So, why not be the boss of your life and make yourself a routine that works for your home/life and work/life? One of the main issues people face while working from home is the belief that schedules don’t matter. We believe we can make up any time wasted at a later date. However, this is a difficult habit to get out of, so it’s best not to fall into this trap in the first place. Using Alexa to set timers and alarms has worked wonders for us and many of our friends.
2. Organise your space(s)
The key to a good home/work balance, is being able to separate the two completely. If you can designate a corner of a room as your workspace then that is fantastic, but you will still benefit from finding somewhere to put your work material away at the end of the day. If you are not able to see it, then you are less likely to be tempted to do just a little bit more work. You may even want to splash out on something that is specifically for use as part of your home office set up.
Try and create zones in your home or room. One zone for deep/quiet work, another for play, and a completely separate zone for eating. Your zones should be distinct, clutter free, and suitable for the activities. For instance, your Netflix and relaxation zone should be soft, cosy and warm. But your deep workspace would be bright, medium temperature, and clutter free.
3. Consider ergonomics
We may also need to think about the equipment we use to carry out our work and how we use the equipment. For instance, we are used to adjusting the mirrors in a car whenever someone else drives it before us or adjusting the height of a bike seat after your younger sister rides it. We will have to make the same adjustments with our home spaces as we are now using them differently. So, make sure your working space fits your body (not vice versa). Good posture whilst you carry out your work in your home space will stop you finishing work full of aches and pains or suffering from neck or eye strain.
4. Let light shine
Celebrate the things you love throughout your home space. Plants, inspirational artwork, and accent walls with pastel colours are great for cognitive functioning and priming serenity throughout our home space. Invite the outdoors in too by having a variety of plants to help reduce stress and increase productivity.
5. Embrace distractions
Your home is filled with distractions that can disrupt your work. From pets to children or even that load of laundry that you really want to get done, part of the joy of being able to work from home is that you can afford to be a little more flexible with your time. If you were in the office you would probably take a break and stretch your legs, so do that at home too. Pop outside and hang the laundry out, make a fuss with your cat or dog, help your children with a maths problem. If you do the hours you need to, then these distractions can be positive rather than negative as they allow for quick breaks and a chance to step away from the screen.
Image by Cristina Estanislao (Unsplash)