While you might not like to hear it, those cute “I love working from home” pictures on Instagram featuring the perfectly posed home office and cherubic children are far removed from reality for the vast majority of mothers out there. In fact, most people who have been working at home prior to the recent mass move to working remotely, will tell you that working from home can be more of an adjustment than you may think.
As a working mum, of course, you relish being with your kids but there will be times when you simply have to retreat to a dedicated office space if you want to get anything substantial done with your day. Creating your own little nook to work in can keep the clutter around the house at bay, which saves time cleaning later, and prevent laptops from being drowned in spilt juice. Having the right home office setup is essential for working mums and with a little care, you can create an office environment that will meet your needs moving forward.
Let’s take a look at some top home office essentials for working mums to ensure both your comfort and productivity across the work week.
A Professional Setup
Whilst you certainly don’t need to rent an office space, you should consider setting up a space that’s just yours during working hours, even if it is the dinner table. The family should know that when you’re busy with work, you should not be disturbed. This approach creates a divide between home and business, allowing for easy and effortless compartmentalisation and ensuring you maintain a healthy work-life balance. A dedicated space will enable you to mentally switch off when you’re done with the day’s work, and focus on your kids when work is finally finished.
It’s worth investing in your workspace, especially if you will be spending many hours a day working from home. Making your office as light, bright and comfortable as possible will put you in a more focused, relaxed headspace when you are ‘at work’ and investing in some blue light glasses can also help to reduce eye-strain and screen glare.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have space for a home office, but even if you work from your kitchen table, there are ways to make it as comfortable as possible. Kitchen or dining room chairs are not usually made for eight hours of sitting every day, so consider buying a gel cushion to provide more support on an otherwise unsuitable chair. Laptop risers, monitor stands and ergonomic keyboards are also valuable investments, depending on your needs and budget.
If you have to work from the kitchen, look on the bright side: you’re near the coffee machine and the refrigerator, which can only be a plus! If you have a home office, however, you will definitely want refreshments within closer range, but firmly away from those little snack-raiders you raised.
You can keep a mini-fridge stocked with fresh fruit, cold water, and other snacks in your office, to ensure you always have refreshing and healthy sustenance on hand. A beverage stand is a professional approach for work from home mums who host meetings in their offices, and can help to make a great impression on your clients.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
One of the biggest frustrations for mums new to the work from home mum (WFHM) life, is the sheer amount of noise emanating from their homes. It can be seriously distracting to hear dogs barking, children fighting, delivery vehicles driving by, and appliances beeping as you’re trying to focus. Not to mention that all these disturbances have a nasty tendency to happen during important conference calls. Noise-cancelling in-ear or over-ear headphones will drown out external sounds, ensuring that you’ll always have a reliable method of focusing on any given task when you may need it most.
Create A Home Office Designed With Your Comfort In Mind
In addition to these home office essentials, any mum who recently started working from home should invest in her personal comfort when designing a home office space. Add whatever makes your office feel as though it’s truly yours, because it is! Of course, if having your children out of the room isn’t an option every day, you may set up a little corner of your office as a quiet place for them to play as you go about your work.
So long as you incorporate what you feel you may need, chances are your home office will be a good investment for your work as well as your personal life, and will help you to stay in control of your dynamic WFH schedule moving forward.