Many people rarely work from home. Therefore, it can be quite a change to be suddenly told to leave the comforts of the bench or office to work in our own accommodation. Consequently, this poses the challenge of setting up an effective workspace and adapting to working from home, rapidly.

Several standard tips are:

  • Make sure you take breaks: have a virtual coffee break with your colleagues.
  • Keep moving inside: now is the time to take notice of your activity tracker alerts!
  • Establish a routine: make a calendar or to-do list.
  • Use a comfortable chair with back support: your body will thank you.
  • Raise your laptop or monitor to eye level: stands can be purchased cheaply online.

But there have been many ingenious solutions to overcoming the working-from-home hurdle, and we wanted to share our favorite ideas with you.

Tip 1: use all rooms in the house

Take yourself back to your student days where all you had was one room. Order a desk, clear some space, and, voila, you have your very own office.

a white desk set up in a bedroom

Tip 2: you have one office space but now there are two of you

One of you is on a call, the other is trying to work – it can be a challenging situation. But make the most of other areas in the house: perhaps one of you can use the office, and the other can use the dining table, and then alternate to avoid arguments. Or when both of you have meetings, one of you can use the office, and the other can sit on the couch or in the bedroom. Alternatively, if only one of you has a call, do a good turn and make them a cup of tea for when they are finished.

Picture of a laptop with headphones and an avocado cushion on a couch

Tip 3: buy some standing support mats

Many of us like to stand to work but this can be tiring on our feet. Standing support mats are available online, which not only promote good posture while working but can also be useful while prepping dinner!

two feet in brightly coloured socks standing on a support mat

Tip 4: make a pencil pot holder

Are pens scattered all over your desk? Can you never find a pencil when you need one? Now is the time to rediscover your crafting-self. Use cardboard from the delivery boxes that have been accumulating in your house, make it into a box shape (templates, like the one below, are available online), and decorate. Or, if you prefer yarn-work, you can knit or crochet a pencil pot too. It’s amazing how something as simple as a stationery holder can improve your working environment.

A crocheted pencil pot containing an  assortment of pens and pencils

Tip 5: add some greenery to your desk

Bring a bit of the outdoors inside. Whether it’s real or artificial, adding some color to your work environment can improve your mood, and can occasionally double as a pencil pot!

A green artificial plant with pencils in placed on a desk

Tip 6: set up a desk outside

With the long summer days coming upon us if you have an outside space, why not make the most of it! Place a cushion on a chair, put some sunscreen on, and enjoy the weather*.

*weather not guaranteed!

a laptop placed on an outdoor table

Tip 7: make a DIY office space in your shed

Perhaps your garden shed feels a bit run down and unused? Then roll up your sleeves, clean out the broken garden trowels and transform it into a worker’s paradise. But of course, be sensible and ask for professional advice if you are uncertain.

picture of a desk and chair in a shed-like room

We hope that you have been inspired by some of these tips and we would love to hear about the ways you have adapted your home into an effective working environment.

Also, don’t forget to check out our recent Women in Science post!

Please send any photos or comments to

Photo credit: Gabriel Beaudry, Joanna Patterson-Cross, Georgie Cobbs, Georgia de Lotz, and Ben Ashby

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