Working from home has always been a thing – it’s just become a mainstream activity in the last few months. From children completing homework at the kitchen table to the self-employed finding a nook in which to balance their laptop, the art of commandeering somewhere comfortable – and practical – to complete tasks is nothing new.
Not every home is blessed with a separate study or dedicated home office, which has left the kitchen as a rather unconventional place to set up ‘shop’. But working next to the washing machine – is it really possible? The good news is the kitchen can be a creative place to work – and you’ll never be too far from the fridge!
Kitchen offices are a thing
While it was standard practice to build in a small desk within a run of kitchen cabinets in 1980s and 1990s America, it wasn’t a trend that took off in the UK….until now. Kitchen makers are responding to an increase in working from home and homeschooling by launching dedicated desk spaces designed to blend in with the rest of the kitchen. Wickes has an online page dedicated to the kitchen office, with multi-purpose options that are useful in the long as well as short term.
Claim the kitchen table
If you don’t have an office desk in your home but you do have a kitchen table, you can create a productive place to work. The Posture People’s advice on setting up a workstation from home covers kitchen tables and there’s even a handy video to get you sitting comfortably. You may have to move your table – for better access to a power supply, natural light and wifi – but it’s a plausible option.
Don’t discount the breakfast bar
Do you have a breakfast bar? If so, you may have struck gold! The ‘sit-stand’ way of working has been revolutionising desk culture for a couple of years as it has multiple health and productivity benefits. In fact, research published in the British Medical Journal following a study of NHS staff found those using standing desks experienced lower levels of tiredness, better engagement with their work and fewer musculoskeletal problems. Try standing at your breakfast bar as much as possible but if you’d like the option to sit, choose a bar stool with a back – for support and to eliminate ‘perching’.
Avoid the ‘al-desko’ lunch
You may have read about ‘al desko’ before – it’s the practice of eating your lunch at your desk, dropping crumbs into the keyboard in the process. This feature by The Guardian debates whether al-desko is a healthy habit but the current consensus is that lunch breaks offer the perfect window for escapism – whether that’s a walk outside, time away from a screen or lunch in a different room.
Practice the ‘pack up’
A good work-life balance is important to our wellbeing but spreading out in the kitchen can result in a blurring of lines. Whether it’s exercise books, notepads, pencil cases or computer wires, packing up at the end of the work or school day will help draw a line between work and home (and save spaghetti bolognese being splattered on worksheets). It may also help to have a ‘clocking off’ time when laptops are shut and the classroom closes.
If you are looking to move home and want your next property to facilitate working from home, please get in touch for a list of what’s available.
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