Working from home has become another one of those “new norm” topics. Since the pandemic ensued, we have become acclimated to working from home. With our recent move, I (Shannon) am the only one who needs a work-from-home space, but as a minimalist, I wanted the space to be fluid in our home, as well as sleek, and clean, yet have all of the essentials I need to be productive at work.
The designated work space is housed in our “music room,” or what is also known as our guest room. The music room is Ger’s space to play his guitar, zen-out in his own world, but it also serves as a guest room. We can move a few things around and pull out the Frontgate roll away bed (which is super comfy btw) when someone comes to visit. Fortunately for me, it is my space to be productive during the workday, while being aesthetically pleasing, and tranquil in my space in order to be my best work self.
Since our household is a place where we attempt to have as little waste as possible, I wanted my work space to be green, without tons of sticky notes and papers everywhere to sort through. Instead, I use Microsoft Word and One Note for jotting down notes. We have processes at work to document activity and notes in other platforms, so there really are no reasons for me to have paper. I do keep some paper in my desk drawer in the event that I am in a desperate sitaution and need to take a last minute note, but I have put into practice, not relying on that. I also keep a notebook with me, that I am proud to say, have been carrying since November 2019, to jot other notes down in regards to training for my new position.
It should also be known that I cannot sit still for very long, so my desk is homebase, but when I am on the phone, I have my ear buds in and am usually pacing around as I talk. I return back to my desk to document information, or use as a resource when needed. I also like the fact that I can move my laptop onto the kitchen counter and stand for a while working, to lessen the amount of time that I sit. Being independent of items that tie me down to my desk, allows for that ease, and is something I enjoy about working from home- you can change your work surroundings with just a few steps, even making our porch swing a place to have work conversations or Zoom meetings.
So, what is important for me in my work space? I will share some of those items with you. Each item brings joy to my work day, and not clutter, which many traditional offices have.
Top left: Every workspace should have a plant. I can go on and on about the benefits of plants, especially in the work place, but having something living, bringing me a bit of joy, like my tiny string of bananas, is an essential part of my day. Top right: I love having a clean scent during my work day. In this case, I have my favorite candle, from the French Market in New Orleans, The Carnival Candle Company. The scent I have currently is Fleur-de-lis. We used to bring these home on the plane when we visited Nola, but now, we can order them online in bulk. We have these all around our home, and bonus- they are soy, so much healthier than those processed wax candles. Bottom left: I don’t stuff a ton of things in my drawer. A cluttered drawer is a cluttered mind- well, this is true in my case. 😉 So, I only have things I may need in my day, to grab when/if they are to be used. Bottom right: A really nice addition to the aesthetics of any work space is some light music, streaming through our Oontz Bluetooth Speaker. Don’t be fooled by the tiny Post Malone figurine beside it. While Posty bring some fun and joy to my workspace, I stream the likes of Melody Gardot, or Radio Margaritaville on low in the background- subtle, but pleasing, and it doesn’t interfere with my thoughts, nor conversations.
I have a printer, that is stored below my desk, but I try very hard not to use it. Instead, I create and edit PDFs online. Even if you do not have Adobe, you can find plenty of free websites to edit and save PDFS. I also have my Yeti of water with me all day, so that I never forget to stay hydrated. A lot of experts will put a lot of weight into the type of chair you choose. I do not. I have an inexpensive, white, minimal chair that I use. Since I make it a point to get up and walk around while I work, I do not put much importance on my chair. The last thing I want is to be so comfy in my office chair, that I end up sitting all day.
Regarding lighting, since my desk sits by a window, I enjoy the natural sunlight that shines through, but if needed, I also have a small lamp on my desk that I use instead of an overhead light. Are you someone who is on a lot of Zoom calls, and want your lighting to be at its best? Use a ring light- yes, one of those selfie lights that vloggers on Youtube use. Fortunately, a company that interviewed us for our blog, sent us one for free, so we would show up well-lit on their video. It has come in handy since, as we both have used it for virtual meetings when we need to look more professional, and visible. I’ve linked our version, which you can purchase on Amazon, for a low cost.
Lastly, instead of having a photo on my desk, I keep a photo of Betty White on the desktop of my laptop screen, and a vacation photo of me and Ger on my laptop lock screen, so again, no extra clutter. My favorite quote hangs on the wall behind my desk, “I adore pretty things, and witty words,” by Kate Spade. The quote resonates in a few ways for me, (1) It reminds me to enjoy the things in my life that bring me joy, even though those things do not accumulate, they are just pretty in my life because I do not take them for granted, (2) I always think of the brilliant and amazing Kate Spade: how everyone is going through something in their lives, even if it doesn’t show on the outside, and to reach out to someone in my life each day, to remind them of how much they mean to me, and (3) It also reminds me to take care of my own mental health. I like to think that the loss of Kate Spade shines a light on self-care to those who admired her, such as myself.
As you can see, the workspace is not just a place you go and spend your 9-5 hours, pushing papers, working for someone, and counting down the hours until the weekend. We spend much of our lives at work; you should find it a place that has a positive impact on your day-to-day life. I am happy that my space, and my work does that for me.