With so many of us now working from home I felt like it was a good time to talk about how I transitioned from working in an office environment for 10 years, to then suddenly switch to setting up working from home when I started my own business.
I share my rented home with my partner of 15 years, Derek, and my 3 gorgeous dogs who keep me company during the day while I work from my home studio. Setting up from home was the most cost effective thing for me to do while trying to get things off the ground. I occasionally do pop out for meetings and I also take a wallpaper training course in Manchester city centre every 6 weeks which is good to mix things up a bit. The coronavirus has put a stop to my meetings and teaching for now, but I find working from home really enjoyable.
Having the dogs keeps me to a routine which is great and has meant I fell into a structured day straight away. I think I would have struggled otherwise after 10 years of a 9-5 job. It was difficult at first learning to bend the rules around what time I should be working and when to have breaks or do odd jobs around the house (too tempting). There is nothing wrong with changing the times you do your work, as long as the work is getting done and you get everything off your to do list.
We moved to a slightly bigger house in January so I could have more work space. As I hit my second year of the business things were picking up and we really needed the extra space. I use the 3rd bedroom as my office where I do my admin and Mac work. The conservatory is my studio where I paint my watercolours, store samples, check product and mail out orders. Repurposing furniture we already had for storage was cost effective, and I got myself a little fold away drawing table to make the space more versatile. I like to keep these areas light & bright so my paintings and prints stand out and add pops of colour. I accessorise with everything I can get in gold and have a ‘Lets Do This’ print on my desk for motivation!
I have also created our lounge/dining area to fit with my brand so I have the capability of hosting meetings at my home. You will see I haven’t wasted any time in decorating the living/dining area with one of my wall murals!
The biggest challenge from my point of view was not having a team around me, or having any one around to bounce my ideas off. I soon realised its a quick youtube video tutorial or whats app photo to my creative friends for a bit of feedback and it’s not an issue anymore. It has made me realise I am much more resourceful than I thought, its given me more confidence in my own decision making and my skill set has expanded from having to learn different aspects of the business on my own.
The main thing I quickly realised that it wasn’t so much the routine that I craved, but more a list of jobs to check off as I got them done. I have found it so much more relaxing when I opened my mind to flexible hours and it actually reduces stress. Having a few routine things in place throughout the day does keep me sane. Like making a point of walking for 20-30 mins, or doing a yoga video on your lunch break helps re-focus and motivate the mind, ready for the afternoon. It can be really small things, but if you do them everyday it feels like there is some structure there which really helps.
Also, take advantage of having the freedom to create a workspace that looks and feels great. It’s amazing how motivating it can be to be in surroundings that make you feel happy! Organise it just how you like, add little prints or items you love – could be a quirky lamp or a gorgeous cushion for your chair, and listen to your fave tunes or podcasts throughout the day. I have included the link to this gold shelving unit. I also found these wall planters were great for holding all my stationery & keeping it all tidy right beside my desk.
It can feel very strange at first but you soon learn that working from home is a fantastic way to break the barriers down on creating the perfect work life balance. Everyone will be different in their approach, and finding what works for you is all part of the experiment.