• Hanna Shiplett

Homework: Improving your At Home Workspace

Our lives since the pandemic have had to completely reconfigure themselves in every way imaginable. From time with our families, social gatherings with friends, neighborly conversations in the driveway, and chatting with our co-workers in the break room, there isn’t one facet that hasn’t been affected. We have had to figure out “a new normal” for the time being-how to maintain our relationships and connections, both personal and professional, with as little disruption as possible, all while getting some work done along the way.

If you are one of the lucky ones to still have a job, you most likely have had to figure out how to do your job in the comfortable, yet likely un-structured home office. You may be finding yourself without a space in your home reserved for only office-y things! It’s time to get creative with your space and figure out what will work for you, and allow you to be as productive as you can be.

Here are some tips that I have found to be helpful in carving out some space that allows me to be creative and productive while at home:

· Make sure your new space has plenty of electrical outlets for your electronics and some task lighting to avoid eye strain. The last thing you need is to be running to the ER because you tripped over an extension cord. Eye strain caused by poor lighting? You’ve only got 2 eyes…take care of them! And if you have a bright window nearby, capitalize on that. Natural light makes us feel awake and ready for the day.Beware of a window behind you as it could create glare on your screen.


· Find a comfortable chair that allows you to sit properly for an extended period of time without straining your back. You may find that your dining chairs are too high, but that your patio chairs are just right. Remember, it’s likely only temporary, and the health of your back is oh so important.

· Don’t forget to personalize your space, just as you did at your “real” office. Adding some fresh blooms or a small photo of a loved one can brighten a moment like no other. Collect a stash of pens, notebooks, a letter tray, etc. This will keep you from running around trying to find these things when needed throughout your day.

· Take advantage of Zoom, Skype and other group chat platforms. These can be very useful to network with co-workers during your workday, and then also chat with family and friends after hours. Consider your background when setting up your space. You don't want to have to clean every inch of your space for every call so facing a wall easily will keep your background uncluttered.

· Don’t let yourself be distracted by laundry, dishes, yardwork, etc. Those things will wait for you just as they did before. Make sure when you do take a break, that you actually are taking a break. Throwing in a quick load of laundry is still work! Take a walk around the yard, do a few stretches, or call a friend to check on them. Everyone handles stress differently, and checking in on a family member or neighbor can be just as uplifting to you as to them.

· Put in a good work day, and then “head home”. Even if that means just closing your computer and walking a few steps to your living room. Now more than ever, you need time outside of work to clear your mind from everything the day may have brought.

This unusual time has been challenging for everyone, including us at Eden & Gray Design Build! Finding ways to be productive at home while seeking balance between work and life has been a challenge, but we are so thankful that Spring is finally here, and when this is all over, we look forward to reconnecting over a big cup of coffee and really great design.

Next week Hanna, owner and designer at Eden and Gray will be presenting her full design for her home office including some of our favorite suppliers as we support the businesses that support us year round. Keep an eye out!

Lisa Farrell who wrote the above article is a local gifted and talented decorator in the Des Moines area. She is a design assistant for Eden and Gray Design Build. Her specialties include styling, accessorizing, furniture specification, organization, and helping her clients live happily in a beautiful space with and for their families and friends.  

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