Work-From-Home Survival Guide: Establish Your Workspace (and Limits)

· 707 words · 4 minute read

Why do I make everything complicated?

So, even if you are in the position of home office worker temporarily, you still want to establish workspace as much as possible and set limits around it. Obvious reason for that is that you want to defend the holy grail of productivity, but these blog posts are not only about that. You will feel much better and be able to much better fulfill conditions to keep physical and mental well-being while working from home if you define what is your workspace and the limits concerning it.

Ok, what is workspace?

Ideally, your workspace would be a room in your house/apartment dedicated only to work without other major attention stealing moments (TV, roommates, partner doing their loud hobby, etc…).

But this is a high bar to achieve. Not everybody has a spare room for work area. So, what are the alternatives?

Free corner space in one of the regular rooms where you can fit a small desk is a solid option. If this is not possible, dining table is more viable option than trying to make bedroom work as you spend hours switching in different positions which would otherwise look like a yoga excercise.

Do not worry about the scenery

When you are choosing where to establish your workspace, you should focus on trying to find a place you can be productive at, where you can focus on work and where you will feel comfortable. Do not worry about scenery.

Do not worry if your kitchen elements will be behind you. Do not worry about the mess in the room. Do not worry about those boxes in the corner in case you've snitched a room for your workspace from one of those half-available rooms which will "next year be guest room" which fair amount of families have.

There are two main reasons for that:

  1. Nobody cares. Really.
  2. Modern teleconferencing solutions like Zoom have ability to replace the background in your calls. You can use it to make some funny, or how I like to do it - apropriate background images for your calls. You don't believe me? Here is me on top of my Corona-caused-quarantine work-from-home zoom background: /images/work-from-home/zoom-background.png This specific image I've stole from Twitter. If the author of the picture I'm using reads this post - please contact me to be credited.

Everything is apropriate

So, basically, whereever you set your workspace is apropriate. It's important that you have ability to focus on work when you need to do work, and that you feel as comfortable as possible while doing it. Everything else technology can solve for you.

About limits

In order to be productive working from home, you need to set up some limits. For yourself and for your household's co-tennants alike.

This means when you work - you work. Don't allow yourself any interruptions of work which you wouldn't have in the office - wherever possible. That means that you likely don't need a TV running in the room, even if it's only news channel running on it whole time, but you might also not be able to keep your offsprings off your work area.

What you can't control

Speaking of offsprings - in my experience, hardly anyone really minds children dropping into the video meetings. At one moment in life, you have likely ended up to work with adults, so they already know what it means to have family and children. And literally, even if they don't have children of their own - there is no need for you to be that person who awkwardly pushes your chidlren away from the webcam because you feel like they are interrupting the meeting.

You know what else nobody ever had a problem of with interrupting a meeting?


Dogs. And cats. Or even turtles in case your pet is an hyperactive one.

Best effort

So, in short - set some limits, try to ensure workspace where you work will not be interrupted. But also, learn to appreciate that you can't control everything. Home is a home, in the end, and not the office. It is meant, and you've likely equipped it for, leisure and not work. Specially so if you are in this temporary and not permanently.

To be continued…