When Covid-19 intruded into our way of life, few of us predicted it would cause lasting changes. It didn’t take long for the virus to disrupt a basic thread of normalcy – the 9-5 workday at the office.
As infections grew and deadly consequences multiplied, companies closed their doors to protect workers -- but work had to continue. With no warning or protocol, we started working from home using computers, phones, and communications such as Zoom for meetings and discussions.
But unexpectedly, weeks turned into months and many of us were not prepared with a productive and comfortable office to meet workplace demands.
At this unexpected time of adjustment, Jody Pear came on board to help us create effective home offices.
Jody is an interior designer and author living in Grosse Pointe. For a home office, she helps create a comfortable space that helps you feel connected to the work you do daily.
She individualizes the office to you and your unique home space. She incorporates prompts, questions, and suggestions to identify unique ways to improve your work-at-home space.
To begin, Jody suggests taking a breath to observe your thoughts about doing your job. This includes your unconscious habits, rituals, and even your favorite music and beverage. Jody maintains, “Allowing your personal preferences and specific needs to drive the design is helpful because it entices you to want to enter your workspace.”
Once you have a sense of what you want and need, start looking for appropriate places within your home. Many people try to squeeze a work-at-home space into their bedroom. Research indicates that working in your sleeping space has a negative impact. Eight hours of work and eight hours of sleep are entirely different activities necessary for the wellbeing of humans. If your bedroom is the only choice, visually separate the two areas, perhaps by hanging a lovely curtain between the bed and the desk. The sleeping area will become a restful and romantic space where your work is not staring at you from the desk a few feet away.
If you have a spare bedroom, it’s an ideal space to devote to a quiet, private office. A guest room can also be converted to an office workplace by adding a pull-out sleeper sofa. This piece accommodates an occasional guest, and it also doubles as a comfortable place to sit every day. Murphy beds that fold into the wall have become popular for multi-use space conversions.
Once you have selected the space, Jody recommends repurposing items you already own to simplify the critical storage factor. For example, storage space can be found in closets by removing garment bars and adding floor-to-ceiling shelves. Kitchen cabinetry, pre-made boxes or luggage also serve as necessary storage.
At this point, create a list to communicate with professional designers and sales representatives to help you complete the office. For example, a desk or work surface is critical. Experts are finding that desks that convert from a sitting to a standing position are the perfect answer for rotating positions throughout the day.
Further, Jody suggests creating a simple floor plan that includes room dimensions, ceiling height, and window and door size locations. Locate electrical outlets near the computer and printer, adequate lighting, and sensible traffic patterns help ensure ease of use.
Jody’s advice for offices is special; she brings inspiration and feeling to your workspace with finishing touches. Images, texture, and color create an inspiring space to work at your home. To ensure the confidence you need to complete your work and feel grounded, add professional certificates, awards, and symbols of the work that make you proud.
In addition to professional services, Jody has an online shop with digital art she calls ‘Soul Snapshots’. Collages of images, words, and objects create the personalization and work inspiration needed. Her websites provide information, books, podcasts, and planners for an inspiring home.
“The things you display in your space matter because they tell your story.” Jody Pear
“The things you display in your space matter because they tell your story.” Jody Pear“ The items you choose to display in your workspace directly impact how you feel while you are working in this space. Be intentional and select based on function, comfort, and aesthetics.”
“I have come to learn that we have the ability to shift our own state of being, improve our mindset and wellbeing, and instill new habits, simply by looking at something beautiful.