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Mumsnet users share their work from home experiences with IKEA

186 replies

JustineBMumsnet · 30/03/2020 14:56

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School closures and social distancing mean that many of us will be working from home more than ever, and for those who have never done so before it can be a big culture shock. With that in mind, IKEA would like to hear your tips for working from home: whether that’s keeping your children occupied while you’re on a conference call, coping with no face-to-face interaction with your colleagues or how to repurpose a space into a makeshift office so that you can focus.

Here’s what Marie Tenglund, Interior Design Leader at IKEA has to say: “A good workspace for both yourself and your little ones are important. With smart planning, everybody in your family can have a comfortable, undisturbed space of their own to concentrate. One temporary workspace idea for your child could be to organize a trolley or a movable drawer unit with school books and stationery. Start the school day by moving it to the dining table where you can set up a workstation and tidy it away again when school day ends.
Taking some time out to play with the kids is important. Why not open a cafe, bake some cakes together or build the longest railroad? Whatever toys, crayons, and costumes you provide, fantasy will do the rest. Choo, choo - let the fun begin!”

Are you lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated home office? Or perhaps you’ve given a dining room or spare bedroom a dual purpose? How do you navigate working with your children in the house? Do you have ideas for making a home office space work for your entire family? Perhaps you have tips for maintaining your focus from home, by developing a home-based routine or getting a good start to each day?

Whatever your tips for working from home and creating a space that works for you, share with IKEA below to be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 IKEA voucher.

Thanks and good luck!


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Mumsnet users share their work from home experiences with IKEA
OP posts:
jacqui5366 · 31/03/2020 13:48

Are you lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated home office?

Yes, I have a small spare room, which has a desk and office chair.

Or perhaps you’ve given a dining room or spare bedroom a dual purpose?

Occasionally I work on the dining room table, it I am doing a few hours and not a full day.

How do you navigate working with your children in the house?

I work before they get up and after they have gone to bed, and when I have an activity they don't need too much supervision over.

Do you have ideas for making a home office space work for your entire family?

Explain what you are doing, and why, but the room could also be used for learning when there is homework to be done, and to take it in turns to do school work, in a quiet space, it will be done quicker and more accurately in the right conditions.

Perhaps you have tips for maintaining your focus from home, by developing a home-based routine or getting a good start to each day?

Now I am home working I do four blocks of work, with blocks of downtime to spend with my children, I have reduced my core hours to fit in with the job and my work life balance.

SylvanianFrenemies · 31/03/2020 13:50

I try to get up before the kids and do a bit then. Avoid phone and video calls if at all possible! No room for a separate office, but I do work in a separate room from the kids and DH when I need to concentrate.
When DD1 is doing school work we set up the kitchen table for her, give her some cushions and snacks, and keep noisy preschooler DD2 busy!

InMySpareTime · 31/03/2020 13:55

My DCs are teens, having an early start means we can get most of a day's work done before they even wake up!
Negotiating personal space for each of us, even if it's just giving everyone a timeshare on the TV/XBox, and keeping a fixed dinner time where we discuss issues, is keeping us all civil in these trying times.

jitterbugintomybrain · 31/03/2020 14:17

Get up early and let the kids have a lie in so I can get work done.
Accept you're not going to be as productive.
Stay away from the news.

ShePersisted · 31/03/2020 14:20

Having a supportive husband I can trade off with so that someone is always minding the children. Other than that we have a small spare room we use for home working; we keep a small foldaway desk to keep the space flexible.

Whoamieven · 31/03/2020 14:24

My office is in the lounge, I used a Ikea peg board high up on the wall to hide all the notebooks and staplers etc so the kids can't get their hands on them!!
I 'walk to work' every day. Ie leave my house walk round the block and then 'arrive at work' in my lounge! It helps!

I also keep myself on mute for conference calls where possible and try and make sure I stop for lunch and interact with the kids. It's too easy to be distracted by the other email 'pings' when your desk is next to the dining table otherwise!

teddy50 · 31/03/2020 15:29

My husband and I split the day in looking after our toddler and working. We have a small office area in the attic bedroom, which incidentally I'm about to transform with Ikea furniture!

BristolMum96 · 31/03/2020 15:45

Need to have proper furniture if you have an 'office' style job. Even if its cheap you need a good desk and chair.

Spanneroo · 31/03/2020 15:55

We are incredibly tight for space (we are temporarily in a 2-bed flat with 4DC age 5 and under, but goodness knows how 'temporary' that is now!)

Currently, we are using a drop-leaf table in the master bedroom for my eldest and husband to work at during the day. It has drawers to put everything away each evening.

Regular breaks for the husband, door closed when he's working, and placed right under a nice big window is what's keeping him motivated, despite the chaos which naturally ensues from so many little ones in such a small space!

NotMeNoNo · 31/03/2020 16:00

Most important WFH accessory is a box or tin about 15cm high, to put your laptop on and raise the screen to eye level. Then buy a cheap mouse /keyboard and you have a much better ergonomic solution.

bettertimesarecomingnow · 31/03/2020 16:20

I have an upstairs office with a beautiful view up the hill - it's a really lovely space to work from.

The children like to set up on the big kitchen table and work from there. We store books and supplies in the craft cupboard at the end of the day

I think you just need to find a space that works for you and keep it tidy!

queenoftheschoolrun · 31/03/2020 16:59

Working from the kitchen table. Everything cleared away for mealtimes helps us be more organised.

Asuwere · 31/03/2020 17:07

I think it's important to still have some structure to the day when WFH: have a start time, stop for lunch and try to have a finish time. Even if the times vary, it's still good for your mind to be in 'work time' to be more focussed.

Kweenxo · 31/03/2020 17:18

Luckily enough, we have a large dining room that can be used as a home office if needed to be, so if anyone ever needed to work from home, that's the room they're usually given. It is difficult with the kids there, but I've got the routine down to the t, so I always know when to make sure the kids have taken their nap. Luckily I also have family members available at the moment who can help me if I need it.

The secret I feel is to get a lot of work done to a good standard whilst the kids are asleep or not as hyper active, otherwise there'll be times when the kids just want you and only you and you have to sort of keep them from touching things like the laptop.

Nottheshrinkingcapgrandpa · 31/03/2020 17:44

I am setup in the corner of the spare room. What has been my saving grace however is a Bluetooth speaker- rather than have the radio on in the background I am able to play stuff from my iPod easily and not have to listen to the radio and the constant Coronavirus updates that comes with that.

Cotswoldmama · 31/03/2020 17:58

Try to occupy the kids as much as possible and don't feel guilty if that means putting them in front of a dvd for a couple of hours! You can always get them to write a review of it after! Also make sure you have a dedicated space even if it's just a table or corner of a room. Make sure the kids know it's your space and endorse it.

Squeakycheese · 31/03/2020 18:01

We have a box room that has a small desk in it and not a lot else as it's dinky. My dc uses a Stuva desk for her drawing and writing. To help us during lockdown i've kept to the school routine as much as possible and try to do work in the evenings where possible.

FiveFootTwoEyesOfBlue · 31/03/2020 18:44

Having worked from home as a freelance previously, my top tip is to have a clear delineation between work time and off-time. Don't fall into the trap of checking work emails in the evening, or get distracted by housework during work time. You need to keep work and down time separate for your own sanity. If you also need to actively teach your children, then that's another tricky bit into the mix!

jackparlabane · 31/03/2020 19:34

I've cleared off my desk so I can have my laptop and a separate monitor next to my home PC. My kids know not to come in the room when the door is closed.
When we get back to homeschooling, my plan is to bring the laptop to the kitchen table so we can use it for looking stuff up but also I can then try some work while getting the kids to actually write something...

IWouldBeSuperb · 31/03/2020 20:01

My husband and I are both trying to wfh full time with a clingy and hyperactive toddler-

We're trying to trade off shifts which helps, as well as getting as much done during nap time as possible, but it's really hard.

My best tip is to accept that you just won't be getting as much as usual done, and prioritise so the bits you can get done are still to a high standard.

No ideal, but what is at the moment?! Confused

MotherofTerriers · 31/03/2020 20:04

Set up a separate work space if at all possible, so that you can get away from the work when you're not working, and don't have to keep packing everything away
Good lighting is really important, as is a comfortable chair the right height for your work table
Accept that you will have different working patterns, perhaps early morning and late evening instead of 9-5

foxessocks · 31/03/2020 20:07

I always work from home so this isn't new to me (apart from the fact that the whole family is at home with me!) I work my hours and then I make sure I switch the computer off, I always have a shower etc before I start so I feel motivated, I also try and make sure dishes are in the dishwasher, washing in machine first so I don't get distracted by doing those things later!


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Reginabambina · 31/03/2020 20:12

I find the key is organisation. We’ve managed to turn our dining room into a good study and work space using bookcases, magazine holders and a stupid number of cups for pens/pencils/markers. Everything has its place which means we can easily work/study/eat around everything.

BoffinMum · 31/03/2020 21:33

We've got a tiny conservatory off the kitchen with a lovely view of the garden, and just before lockdown, I rapidly turned it into a 'home school' space.

I rounded up all the art materials, stationery, educational books and games, educational CDs/DVDs, and puzzles we had in the house, and curated them into sets, displaying them on an old dresser. We have a 'Science' section, a 'Cooking' section, a 'Foreign Languages' section and so on.

I put a light box on a shelf with 'Home School' in letters on it and some fun emojis, hung some cheap party bunting up and organised all the building bricks by colour into a trolley, as well as displaying books on using bricks creatively nearby. I displayed some puppets the DCs had made at school, and put up a pinboard from the loft for artwork and schedules.

I resurrected the Wii Fit and attached it to an small old TV, and I made sure everything had fresh batteries. Neighbours donated Wii Fit games they had finished with.

By the first day of home schooling we were rearing to go, and my DS takes himself off in there regularly to do his work, giving me windows of time to do some of mine. He sees it as a special personal space, and a break from his bedroom.

BoffinMum · 31/03/2020 21:37

PS The cheapest way of adapting a laptop for ergonomic use at home is to acquire a separate keyboard and mouse and put the thing up on a packet of printer paper so the screen is at a proper height.

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