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Mumsnet users share their work from home experiences with IKEA

186 replies

JustineBMumsnet · 30/03/2020 14:56

This sponsored discussion is now closed.

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!

MNHQ

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Mumsnet users share their work from home experiences with IKEA
OP posts:
SweetPeaPods · 31/03/2020 21:52

We have turned our box room into a study. A proper desk and chair makes such a difference to my back plus I am much more productive there. However with the dc being home I’m splitting my time between the study and the dining room. The dc know when I’m in the study with the door closed I’m not to be disturbed (conference call etc). Where as if I join them at the table I can help with school work sheets, watch them eat lunch etc.
Another thing I try to do is treat every day that I have a conference call before 10am. Then I am up, dressed and look and feel more in work mode.

RippleEffects · 31/03/2020 22:49

Our kitchen table has become home school, I have an office (garden lean too shed super insulated, on the side of the house).

We find manageable chunks of time, keeping school on the kitchen table means when our three leave the table they're on break. Their beds and personal space is still sanctuary. It also means that breakfast has to be tidy before school and school has to be tidied away for lunch.

Headphones, not just for me but all five of us so we can be in each other's space (in a small house under lockdown space sharing isnt optional) without having to listen to each other's activities.

A decent WiFi boosting system has helped all of us. My work is online with lots of zoom meetings and online software, lots of the DC's work is watch videos and do online programmes.

The biggest thing has been being organised and defining what is expected. Accepting I can't be mum, teacher, small business owner all at the same time. I can do all three just need to split my time and lower expectations with each day still only having 24hours. It's all about Lagom. Just enough. We need to focus on what's enough and not forget to enjoy the simple pleasures that can be had in family time.

ponygirlcurtis · 31/03/2020 22:57

Having everything you need at your fingertips, so pens, paper, documents, etc. I used to have a box with everything that would travel with me wherever I got moved with the laptop, depending on where the kids needed to be (ie I needed to be where they were not!).

AutumnCat · 31/03/2020 22:57

Separate work space, regular exercise, and I break up my day using the pomodoro method - 25 mins work, 5 min break. I turn my to do list into 15 half hour tasks, each being one pomodoro. Then I get blitzes of housework done in the 5 mins! Contact with friends and neighbours over WhatsApp really helps too, and stopping properly and putting everything away at the end of the day

ipswichwitch · 31/03/2020 23:10

Organisation helps. DS1 has a desk in his room and above that is a rail with little buckets hanging off that have all his pens, pencils and other bits, and his desk drawers have paper and other stationery bits. Everything is to hand so I’m not spending my time looking for stuff for him. DS2 uses my desk with a little trolley full of his bits. Their homework packs are in their own folders, with dividers for subjects and completed work. When they’ve done their bit, I get them doing the Lego challenge or art while I do my coursework.

starlight36 · 01/04/2020 09:17

The children are together downstairs around the main table in our open plan living area. They like being together and it helps me be with both of them at the same time. I'm a SAHM so this made it easier for us to divide up this way.
DH is WFH so heads into DDs room upstairs and uses her desk. It gives him the privacy to be on conference calls and provides the distance that he isn't 'home' until later. We had initially all tried being in the same room but this hadn't worked out for us.

Gazelda · 01/04/2020 09:39

DD is a responsible tween, so we're able to stick to usual school and work timetable and she entertains herself while we finish work at the end of the day. School hols next week - who knows what will happen?!

We've each got a dedicated corner for working in. Laptops means we can pack away easily on Fridays and I've finally learned how to work paperless.

LutherRalph1 · 01/04/2020 09:53

I am working from my dining room table, with an excitable 2 year old. It's far from ideal but a few tips I have picked up is:

Set yourself a "bare minimum" for the day. This helped massively when LO was days old too, the bare minimum then was just "brush your teeth"
Now it's up, washed, dressed, beds made. If I do that I feel like I've started well

Part of that, getting dressed helps massively and puts your in the right mind set

If you are in a group video call and have a child nearby, mute your mic. This has been a godsend!

We are hoping to extend next year and then I'll hopefully have a designated wfh space

RubyDreamsOfRainbows · 01/04/2020 14:52

We have a new 'office' in my old dressing room which is very uncomfortable and not at all ergonomic. I totally agree a proper desk and chair are essential but lack of space and money is stopping us sorting that out!

PaulinePetrovaPosey · 01/04/2020 15:19

A thick door (or two) between the worker and the baby Smile

munchbunch12 · 01/04/2020 19:16

For me, getting up v early so I can make a good start on the harder stuff is essential, then a few hours of doing the easier stuff whilst keeping an eye on them. In the afternoon we'll go our for our daily exercise with them on scooters and me running behind to keep up. If there's anything else I need to do urgently I'll put in an hour or so at night.

PashleyB · 01/04/2020 21:07

A proper headset for calls. And we invested in a proper office chair which has really made a difference as well

MumC2141 · 01/04/2020 21:12

I work upstairs in the study, while my husband is looking after the children. And I close the door. But that hasn’t stopped them bursting in on occasion while on a conference call.

OnTheEdgeOfTheNight · 01/04/2020 21:17

This is all you need to know about working from home

Mumsnet users share their work from home experiences with IKEA
NW2SW · 01/04/2020 22:19

Set up and pack away everyday, it's my WFH equivalent of a commute. I have a storage basket that I clear away my paperwork, laptop and anything else I'm working on into at the end of the day. Pop it on a shelf or at the least under the table. Helps to switch off from work.

ShowerOfShite · 02/04/2020 05:07

I'm working from my dining table at the moment. Laptop up on packet of printer paper to raise it and folded up towels to make the dining chair more comfortable. I only need a laptop and a notepad/pens/phones so it's easy to pack away each afternoon.
It's really not ideal but needs must. I'm missing my workspace in the office, with my fancy office chair!

lovemyflipflops · 02/04/2020 06:54

I have set up my box room as an office, I have connected my old PC screen to my laptop for a bigger screen (duplicating screens) and I do the work in blocks of 2 hours -(and a break when I am needed) by DS 1 and 2 who I have made a packed lunch for,

I have agreed with my boss. to do what I can when i can, with my phone twinned with my works phone to take calls when I am working.

emphasisofmatter · 02/04/2020 07:42

We have a separate office - I find the only way to get work done is to physically separate myself away from the kids.
I work remotely sometimes for work before the shutdown so I'm set up with a proper keyboard and laptop riser and mouse - that helps to have a more functional work space. I take computer breaks and open the window and get fresh air which helps too.

pushchairprincess · 02/04/2020 11:38
  1. Get dressed - it puts you in the right 'work' mode
  2. Establish boundaries for when you are available, and when you need to concentrate.
  3. Take regular breaks with your family.
  4. Know that you cannot be as productive as you are at work - there are distractions. - just accept it and what you cannot achieve today - you can pick up tomorrow.
alwaysataldi · 02/04/2020 12:22

I have a timetable in the hallway wall, and have my work day set up into 1 and a half hour slots - starting at 6:30 and finishing at 7pm - so I can spread the time between my children - my OH is also WFH and makes a lot of phone calls, so we play games, bake and do out school work in the interim moments - it's working well so far - but do not know how long we continue - deadlines will have to take second place - quite rightly.
As long as there is a routine - love -school work -and drawing rainbows we are ok.

blackleggingsandatshirt · 02/04/2020 13:56

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

No- but my conservatory is working well as a home office - I have bought an office chair and the Micke desk which fits into the corner in the evening - I must admit looking out onto my garden, and watching the children play out is lovely (we are lucky enough to have fine weather)


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

The Micke desk is perfect - and work are already reimbursed me for it.


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

They do their school work, and I do my work - we have a timetable, so are able to have breaks together to chat and have lunch and drinks.

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

If we had a roof window - the Attic would be a perfect space for home working and school work on going - as long as the wi-fi reached there.

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

A timetable for work, and a 2 hour break for lunch - the time I am saving from having to commute to work means I can get my 25 hours in over a longer period, and make sure my children get the support they need.

FloggingMoll · 02/04/2020 18:59

Are you lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated home office? I don't, and it's increasingly becoming a problem! I'm currently using my ancient laptop propped up on boxes of board games in my stepdaughter's bedroom. It's not ideal but it's working in the short term - shame the laptop is lower than I'd like so every time I Zoom my double chins are on display!

How do you navigate working with your children in the house? I'm currently fortunate in that my partner is furloughed but in the longer term, my DD has a pretty good imagination and likes independent play; she's 2 though, so it'll be shortish bursts of activity and the bulk of admin undertaken during nap and bedtime.

Do you have ideas for making a home office space work for your entire family? Ideally I'd make more of our spare room (which is currently a wasted space) and install a corner desk, some bookcases, and create a play area for DD. It's been on the to-do list for a while, but circumstances have moved it up to "must-do"!

Perhaps you have tips for maintaining your focus from home, by developing a home-based routine or getting a good start to each day? I get up every morning at half 6 with DD. We have half an hour watching early morning TV, have a cup of coffee (me) and some breakfast (both). I always make a point of getting showering, getting dressed and taking myself into another room to work; it helps create some delineation between the spaces here. Our routine was pretty fixed beforehand so we're just adapting it for the new normal.

YesIDoLoveCrisps · 02/04/2020 19:56

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?

I am using a space on my dining room table. It’s not ideal but I will just do my best.

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

I go out for walk to get a change of scenery and fresh air. Then find an activity for them so I can go on the computer etc.

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

I use the rest of the dining room for their work space when we do schoolwork. Everything is packed away for food and then out back out so it’s not on the table the same time. Just to keep it clear and separate (mentally and physically).

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

I make sure that we try to stick to a routine and the kids know it so they don’t keep asking what we are doing. I keep the weekends as time off so all the days don’t blur into one.

ifigoup · 02/04/2020 20:27

We are just doing what we can: interspersing work shifts for both adults with childcare shifts, all eating meals together where possible, and being kind to each other in these weird times.

raydeeo · 02/04/2020 23:27

Last year I bought a desk for my 7 year old to sit at to have some space from her toddler sibling. An Ikea one as it happens. I hadn't seen the need to do much with it thinking I'd wait til she was a bit older. However when the schools closed I made space and put it together for her. It had the novelty factor so doing some schoolwork at her new desk was exciting! I go and sit with her in her room when were doing stuff and unfortunately little one is given something to watch to just keep him out of the way. (I make it up to him). My main plan has been to break the day up into little units. Some of them are me giving lots of time to them. Some are eating. Some are playing and some are leave mum alone times. The leave me alone to get on ones are easier if they've had attention from me and also easier if I put a film on.

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