Back in January I interviewed three women with completely different businesses about working from home. I asked each of them how they’d created a space they love working in. I then put this blog post on hold as life took over. But now seems like a good time to share it. Many people are coming to the realisation that working from home might be their “new normal” for the long term. I hope it gives you some inspiration to create a home office you love working in.
Many of us begin our working from home story at the kitchen table, in front of the tv or in the corner of the bedroom. But when you dedicate a space in your home just for your business, it can feel exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Here’s some insights from me and 3 fellow home workers on how to create a workspace you love working in.
The home hub of Julia Davies Coaching
I’m a life coach based in Worthing, Sussex, where I work from home in my cosy (tiny) office. The joy of the internet means that location doesn’t matter so I can work online with women all over the UK and further afield. I like to meet my clients face to face for our initial meeting, ideally. Being an introvert means that even when my clients are also Worthing-based, we often still connect online for our coaching sessions.
My home office is a space just for me; it’s comfortable, practical and it’s filled with things that inspire me. I genuinely enjoy spending time in here. When at my desk I’ve got my vision board in front of me, and I’m surrounded by photos of family and friends. I’m always looking for ways to simplify. Once I realised that I always paint my nails at my desk I moved my nail polishes to my office rather than keeping them in the bathroom. As with most rooms in my house, I’m surrounded by plants too.
One thing I’d love to update in my office is the colour of the walls. When I moved in, the walls were dark grey and the small size of the room made it feel like a cave! I painted it white to make it feel more light and airy, but I don’t find the colour particularly inspiring so I’m considering a change. I’m sure Donna would have something to say about my aversion to white – read her blog on the subject here. In my dream office I’d love to be able to look out of the window and see the sea or trees. Currently I overlook the road which can be a little uninspiring but at least it means I don’t spend time staring out of the window!
Working from home: insights from 3 entrepreneurs
For some inspiration on how you can create a workspace that you love working in, I’ve asked 3 entrepreneurs to tell me about their workspace. As with everything in business, we’re all individuals and different things work for different people. It’s fascinating to see how everyone else works.
Insights on her home studio from creative entrepreneur Charlotte Argyrou
While it was sad for me to lose my London pied a terre, it has been amazing to watch Charlotte’s business go from strength to strength over the last couple of years since she launched her wedding bouquet illustration service. On giving herself permission to dedicate a space in her house just for her business, she shares: “We had a guestroom which housed friends and relatives about five/six times a year. There came a point when packing and unpacking my work on the kitchen table was taking longer than my allotted work time, which is delicately juggled around childcare. The guest bed was donated to a church group, and I sourced a contemporary white dining table from Gumtree that would become my very own dedicated drawing desk. Quite unceremoniously, the guest room was renamed “The Studio”. A small moment, but one that reiterated that my business was beginning to bloom.”
Setting yourself up for success
Charlotte’s desk is kept neat and tidy, ready for a productive session working on her latest illustration. She’s also learnt a lot about prioritising since she became a parent. “I have a weekly planner, where, if I’m being “good” I write out my forthcoming week’s to dos in one column on a Sunday night and then layer them into my available time. Reducing the to do list to urgent or important tasks only is a great way to eliminate stress before it strikes. Being a mother taught me that there is such a thing as good enough. Done is better than perfect. And you certainly cannot pour from an empty cup.”
An workspace that inspires
Charlotte was also one of my earliest inspirations when I first started creating vision boards. She has a beautifully curated wall of inspiration in her studio, from fabric swatches to pictures carefully cut out of magazines, as well as a list of her current goals. “Serenity is the order of the day at Charlotte Argyrou Illustration HQ. The rest of the house is subject to chaos due to the small people, but The Studio is a Lego-free zone. I have a bookshelf dedicated to coffee table style books filled with juicy inspiration. A few personal development books have slipped in there in the past couple of years too. I find a quick chapter of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic or Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass is an effective solution to a work slump.”
Becky Stanton’s advice on creating your work sanctuary
When I first connected with Becky online I was drawn to her intense passion about creating a work sanctuary. She has now gone on to train as a mindset coach and combines her two practices in a beautiful way. Check out her beautiful instagram feed here and her website here. This is what Becky had to say about creating a workspace you love to work in:
“The environment you work in is instrumental for your mind-set. The physical and energetic space around you will impact how you feel, what you think and dictate your emotions. So I help clients create a ‘Work Sanctuary’. This is a workspace that aligns with how they want to feel as the successful CEO in their business.
Your subconscious mind notices and processes everything around you. As well as becoming drained with “busy” spaces, you should also consider the message or meaning of your possessions. The language, colours, and imagery could be creating emotions and thoughts that are not congruent with you as a business owner.
How does your workspace make you feel?
My Work Sanctuary is fully aligned with my personality, my brand, and the ‘Future Me’ I desire to become. For clarity and focus, I maintain a tidy workspace to avoid my subconscious mind going into over-drive looking at clutter. This doesn’t mean I work in a minimalist space, which often surprises people. Instead, every item in my workspace has been intentionally placed there with a purpose. They usually fall into the categories of – purposeful for my business, brings me joy or inspires me!
The feelings that I create in my Work Sanctuary are calm, focus, harmony and radiance. This is who I am at my very best within my business. Personally this means lots of pink and gold (my brand colours), plants and occasionally flowers, inspiring books, motivating images and quotes, soft fabrics and materials, and my Power Wall outlining my gorgeous plans for the year. My desk is clear apart from my essentials for that moment/day, alongside my money plant (in my wealth corner).
Does your workspace align with your future goals?
As I grow as a person and a business owner, I regularly check in with how I feel about my space. Energy is always flowing and you do not want to become complacent with your environment. My next addition to my Work Sanctuary will be a reading chair to align with my reading goals for 2020! It will be pink, of course.
Although I love my Work Sanctuary, I also passionately believe in changing your environment every now and then. I love to work in high-vibe environments like hotel lobbys or cafes for specific tasks – like my monthly CEO day! You don’t have to be chained to your home workspace, but you DO need to create a home workspace you are excited to work in.”
Practical tips on working from home from Laura Moore, Facebook Ads Guru
Laura is a straight-talking facebook ads guru and host of the Social Media Manager Hub. Like me, she lives in sunny Worthing and works mainly from her home office. Laura is partial to jetting off to Florida for a few months with her family (when travel is allowed). She can easily pack up her business and take it with her – a life that many of us aspire to!
Laura shares with us some of her top tips for those of us who are new to working from home:
“I couldn’t work without good lighting to avoid migraines and it’s also important for video calls. I want my office to feel focused, relaxed, and productive. It does do those things. I can’t get distracted by dirty dishes when I’m in my office as I intentionally chose my office space so that I wouldn’t get distracted by things when I’m in there. That helps me feel productive in there. It’s also really light and calm colours so it helps in that way.”
I asked Laura “If you could design your dream office, how would that be different to what you have today?” and she said “What I’ve got but bigger. I’d like a big wall for a wall planner. I would love to have a door so I can get some peace and quiet.”. I know a lot of people will resonate, particularly after 2+ months at home in lockdown!
Stationery addicts unite
Laura is a woman after my own heart as she admits here to being a stationery addict. “I am partial to a notebook so there are several on my desk right now. I do tend to start one and then start another before I‘ve finished the first.” Personally I can count 9 notebooks on my desk at the moment, so I know the feeling Laura!
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