How to Get Your Home—and Your Home Office—Ready for Working From Home

How to Get Your Home—and Your Home Office—Ready for Working From Home

For many us under stay-at-home orders because of the coronavirus pandemic, home has become the place where we spend almost all of our time. Working from home brings its own set us challenges, especially for those of who used to going into in office every day.

To help us all figure out how to create spaces that help us be productive while we’re stuck in the house, Black Enterprise spoke with Michiel Perry, the founder of Black Southern Belle and an expert in good living and home decor.

Many of us have found ourselves suddenly working from home for the first time. When it comes to setting up a home office, where do we start?

Try to start small by repurposing where you already spend time. I love working in my kitchen and having access to snacks. No need to start from scratch, you can convert your kitchen table, island, or a small part of your counter as a home office just by adding a laptop, file cabinet, and your writing essentials. This option of reusing a kitchen or dining room space is perfect for folks who miss the coworking and office environment—and who doesn’t love being near the coffee machine?

(Image: Mercede B Photography; courtesy of Black Southern Belle)

What if we don’t have the room for a dedicated office, how can we create a work space that actually works?

That is the case for most folks at home, especially those in apartments. A great place to start is by defining the space through linen. You can use a curtain, table runner, or even bed sheet as a cost-effective and safe way to designate a work station in your home. Look at the space you use already and figure out how you can transform it to be your office, even if it is your bed or couch. When decorating a workspace at home, your productivity is the most important; if you need light, move a table to the window and open the blinds. Think about the things you do at your work office and try to replicate those actions in your office space at home.

What if we’re sharing our work space with other members of our household working from home or distance learning? How do we design a space that works for more than one?

I feel your pain there. My husband and I have worked remotely for most of the past couple of years and with new two babies under two in our workspace, it can get hectic really quickly. Instead of seeing it as a negative, it can be positive. We already moved my husband’s desk space into our bedroom so that we can contain our kinds in one room when we need to get things done. One issue we kept having was losing chargers especially with a 2-year-old son who is obsessed with them. By transferring our office space to the bedroom we created a charging station. When sharing a space, organization is key. From labeling to packing and storing, it is important to make it clear how space will be used.

It seems like most of us haven’t figured out a work from home routine yet, and there’s a constant barrage of news to distract us. Any tips for elements of a home office that can help us with our focus or productivity?

Most definitely. Adding an element of music, art, or creativity to your design is a great way to start, from printing off a copy of your favorite playlist and putting it on your wall as a way to get your day started or adding in a few pieces of workout equipment for a quick pick me up workout throughout the day. I suggest creating a self-care element to your office, whether it be your favorite candle, a gallery wall of your favorite vinyl albums, or a sticky note board where you spend a few minutes writing down what you are thankful for. Your office is not just about getting your professional work done but also doing the work of maintaining your sanity and peace during this time.

(Image: Mercede B Photography; courtesy of Black Southern Belle)

Outside of our workspace, we’re all spending way more time at home than we’re used to. Any suggestions to make our homes work better for us while we’re under stay-at-home orders or stuck in self-quarantine?

This the perfect time figure out what makes you happy, and furniture and design can do just that. From rearranging furniture to adding self-made art, you can explore your inner designer. Organizing your kitchen spaces, bathrooms, and closets is a great way to start. If you are busy with kids, creating home decor projects with them is a great way to make your home work for you and to teach them something new. From using decor as a history lesson to rearranging a library collection on your coffee table or printing phone pictures and creating a simple gallery wall of your cherished memories and travel experiences with your friends and family, decorating your home can be a way to pass the time and explore new interests and hobbies while practicing social distancing.

Any other tips for being happier at home during this time?

Get your friends involved! For those who are quarantining alone, it is a great way to stay connected in a meaningful way and visit your friends. Try a decorating challenge such as foraging for a greenery inspired table arrangement or sharing the favorite art or books in your home. You don’t have to be an interior designer to get started but if you want some help, e-design services are a great way to support small businesses and improve your home at the same time.