Back in March, our office space was a catch-all room. I used the office closet for all of the girls’ art supplies and homeschool books. We stacked items that we were donating against the wall, and we managed to squeeze a dog crate in the corner for Wrigley, our Shih Tzu.
We are now in the third month of Mike working from home full time due to the Coronavirus. It does not seem like he will be returning to his office in Chicago anytime soon. The office space needed to be organized and refreshed to make it more conducive to work.
To start, I cleared out all of our homeschool supplies so that we would not disrupt Mike during the workday. All of the items that I tucked away in the office needed to find a permanent home where the girls and I would have access to them during the day. The time to organize school materials and craft supplies was perfect since we just finished our school year. I was able to purge quite a few things and now have a better idea of what we have, so I do not overbuy for next year.
After cleaning out the office, we tackled some of the obstacles that became evident over the last few months.
Man’s best friend
Our dog, Wrigley, enjoys hanging out with Mike wherever he is at. During the workday, Wrigley is at Mike’s feet in the office. I am happy for him to lounge with Mike. The problem arises when the doorbell rings, he needs let outside, or he wants to eat.
Wrigley will whine at the office door until someone lets him in or out. When Mike is in the middle of a call, it is intrusive. We decided to add a doggy door to the office door so that Wrigley can come and go as he pleases.
We are hoping that this little improvement will pay off and allow Mike to focus on what needs to be done.
It seems like our home accumulates more and more technology. Between laptops, Kindles, iPads, iPhones, and STEM activities, I do not have enough countertop space to have everything plugged in and accessible. Our family needed a space where screens and tech could have a home other than the kitchen or my desk.
We decided to rearrange the office and set up a countertop space with plenty of plugs and a workspace for the girls. This solution enables Mike and I to manage screen time for the girls better. When screens are out of sight and in the office, the girls do not ask for screen time.
It is incredible how a cellphone on the kitchen counter is such a distraction. The girls will pick up a cellphone to check the weather; then they start scrolling Pinterest, and next thing I know, they have created a whole new Pinterest board about Guinea Pigs. Ha!
Moving all of our technology into the office, has allowed the girls and I to focus on more creative activities during our day. It causes us to pause and think about our screen use when we have to walk into the office instead of just grabbing a phone off the counter.
When we initially set up the desk in the office, we were not concerned about lighting or the background. Now that most of Mike’s day is spent on video meetings, those aspects have become important to his work environment.
The office faces south with two large windows. If the windows are directly behind the desk, the shutters must be closed which then makes the video dark. We have found that it is best to line up the desk so that the natural light comes in from the side. This way the lighting is easier to adjust and the quality of the video is much more professional.
Backgrounds are a big deal these days on video chat. Mike has lots of fans with his Mandalorian background on Zoom. For a video background to work smoothly, it is important that the physical background behind the desk is clean and simple. The physical wall needs to be free of bulky wall units so, Zoom can display the virtual background as realistically as possible.
The office refresh was essential since it is now Mike’s primary workspace. It took us about three weekends to build the workspace for the girls, add the doggie door, and rearrange all the furniture. We are happy with the space knowing that it meets our needs.
How does your workspace need to be refreshed?
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