Redesigning our spaces to feel at home
The chaos of the pandemic has extracted every ounce of normalcy from our personal and professional lives. And just like that, we could go on to curse the pandemic, the unwelcome shifts it brought, and the almost unreal uncertainty it has hit us with.
However, we won’t be going down that road today.
Right now, we have our homes, our constant spaces, and perhaps the most prominent certainty to hold on to. We have always had a transient relationship with our homesㅡ they used to be a place we hurriedly left and came back to exhausted almost all days of the week.
But probably the only grace the pandemic has showered us with is that it has compelled us to explore within. Not just our homes, but also our hearts.
As we learn to adapt to the newness of our old homes, we’ll also be called to navigate the boundaries of our personal and professional lives.
Before the pandemic, our homes have rigidly stood between our merging personal and professional lives, although technology-boosted accessibility was already blurring those lines. As fleeting as it may be, we could finally switch off in our homes. But with morning meetings slipping into our beds and deadlines sitting on the dinner table, how do we say no when work-lives barge into our living rooms?
Here’s where adaptation comes in, and we want to welcome it.
Adaptation begins with the conscious decision to make enough space for our professional and personal lives to coexist.
We start with the understanding that redesigning a space can give us the headspace we’re seeking. Redesigning physical spaces doesn’t have to be a monumental change unless, of course, you want it to be. It can simply mean adding or removing elements that prepare you for starting your workday and remind you it’s ending so that you get to stay productive and unwind, all within the same setting.
We have already been drawing boundaries, and our tools for adaptation have always been right in front of us. For example, our dining space has us prepared for our meals, our kitchens welcome us only to cook, and our balconies are an invitation to our meditative me-time.
You see, we have already created spaces within our space to flow into our days with patterns and ease. Just like these, we can develop similar settings to not let our personal and professional lives merge.
As a first step to adapt to our own evolving needs, let’s begin with clearly defining our workspace.
We break it down into six steps for you:
1. Make a list of all items that mean work-life for you. For instance, a desk and an ergonomic chair, laptop, smartphone, and chargers.
2. Take all of it into a corner that you can call your workspace. Excellent if it’s a separate room, great even if it’s a corner in your existing space.
3. Try to have your work setting where there’s natural light (if not, a well-lit space will do) and say hello to indoor plants unless you’ve got an enviable view of greenery.
4. You want to keep your workspace away from the bustling centres of your homeㅡ proximity to the kids’ room and kitchen, or the refrigerator, are not your best bet here. However, we may not always be able to decide where our workstations will be, so room separators and even a row of plants come in handy.
5. Last but please take note, make your workspace lively. A dull setting is more likely to exhaust you and amplify your work stress. Introduce green plants, quotes and pictures that inspire you, exciting stationery (if you’re a nerd), an art piece (to awaken your creative genius). You can take it to the next level with candles and non-distracting music because it’s WFH, and we’ve got to set the mood right.
Remember, our goal is to start, and most importantly, leave our work at EOD at our work desk, in the corner that we call our workspace. So that as you leave your desk, you enter your haven and find a home within your home.