Posted on Mar 30, 2020

This week, Kathryn Vasel of CNN Business asked a group of design experts how to create an ideal home workspace. As more people are beginning to work from home, the idea of the story was to share tips on incorporating objects  people likely have at home or could purchase easily and/or affordably. And who better to ask than a group of ASID interior designers?

Here are some initial top #WFH tips:

  • First and foremost, not to mention totally free, we must commit to getting out of bed, making it—with all the pillows—and getting dressed. This allows us to accomplish one thing that will create momentum for the balance of the day. Making the bed also discourages us from getting back in during the mid-day slump.
  • Next you will want to find your perch—a space with plenty of light, little noise, appropriate outlets and provides just enough comfort.
  • Getting a real office chair that is also ergonomic—not a barstool or dining chair—will be critical. While this will likely be the most expensive addition to your home office, it will save your back and posture from a full day of work.
  • Now that you are upright, make sure you have storage in place. A simple rolling cart for files that tucks under the desk or a small area on the desk or in a nearby cabinet may be plenty—just make sure everything has its place so work doesn’t get dragged into living areas and non-work spaces.
  • Once you are situated, you may consider boosting your technology. My husband and I just installed Xfinity pods from our service provider that have allowed a bump in our online connectivity. After you’re are all cued up, create a playlist for your work day—this is an element of #WFH personalization you can celebrate. It will keep you motivated and operating on all cylinders.
  • Throughout the day, you will want to plan for real breaks and know what you are going to eat along the way. Set a time for a “real lunch” and coffee breaks and a hard stop time to call it quittin’ time.

I also shared a bit about my workspace as it went from storefront to homestead two years ago. Here are some of the images of my “shelter in place” office and my responses to more specific questions, too.

1. Please describe your work from home set-up. Is it permanent? Temporary? What vibe does it give you? What functions does it serve? The Kerrie Kelly Design Lab team began working remotely almost two years ago. That process has prepared us well—related to technology, sampling, communication and client/vendor connection—for today’s “work from home” environment. The set up allows for me to work alone or to have team members roll-up and collaborate (when not sheltering in place, of course). The backdrop to the space serves as inspiration, displaying our annual trend boards for products found at market and through our design relationships.

2. Tips for organizing your materials? Separating work from home life? Our materials and product library are lean and mean. After being in the profession for 25-years, we have been able to effectively partner with specific brands, using their sample libraries when needed, tapping into online resources for support, calling representatives when appropriate, while keeping only necessary goods on hand. Our current library allows us to house materials and inspiration in specific areas of the home that can be closed off when not in use. The “everything has its place“ paired with an “out of sight, out of mind” approach allows for nights and weekend to be filled with friends and family activity. *The secretary that I work from next to the glass desk can go from full blown KKDL central to a make-shift bar for a party in a snap!

3. What challenges do you face while working from home? The only challenge I experience in working from home is being on conference calls with the background noise of deliveries and neighborhood activities. In those moments I quickly remind myself, “I’m mobile, I can take this to the backyard, the porch, the kitchen or even my car.”

4. What do you love about working from home? Working from home allows me to keep the rest of our life in balance. I love to start the day with exercise, grab homemade breakfast and then roll in to work mode. I can get ready immediately or if my call schedule demands it, I can do so later. Dinner can be simmering in the crockpot and laundry can be whirling around while I talk on the phone reviewing delivery status, update trade contractors, receive packages or engage via FaceTime with my team. That afternoon pick me up just got easier when working from home—coffee is always at the ready.

I would love to hear about suggestions for your workspace and your must haves for #WFH life. Please share in the comments below!