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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:
BellaVida · 03/04/2020 10:55

Are you lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated home?
No and with 4 DC at home, the ‘office’ is a moving target. The kitchen table tends to be the main base, but my bedroom or the even the bathroom are safest for calls.

Or perhaps you’ve given a dining room or spare bedroom a dual purpose?
All of the rooms in the house are used. The DC tend to be in their rooms or on the TV in the lounge.

How do you navigate working with your children in the house?
By shutting the door, bribing the dog with treats or hiding upstairs in the bedroom if I have a call.

Do you have ideas for making a home office space work for your entire family?
We removed some old fitted low units and shelving to make room in my DD’s bedroom, which we turned into a kind of hot desk space on the landing where the PC and printer are. That way we can all access it easily and no arguments about DC having to go into each other’s rooms or ours for that matter!

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 think you have to accept that you can’t have.a routine of work the same at home. There will be loads of ‘Sssh! I’m on the phone!’ whilst gesturing wildly to get the DC’s attention whilst they hover in front of the fridge or crinkle packets foraging for food. That said, this is many people’s new normal, so I find others have the same issues and are more accepting of a bit of background noise or interrupting dogs. In fact, I think ours is generating his own fan base!

scaryreading · 03/04/2020 12:16

I start in the dining room at the table for most of the time then use a beanie lap tray for a short while in the afternoon so I have a change of scene but am mindful it isn't ideal. I haven't got a desk chair. I have a computer desk with an adjustable chair bought off eBay and the keyboard pulls out for a desktop so I may try that as well.

My tip is to have regular breaks where possible and move about do a team call to a colleague if appropriate rather than constantly typing messages and emails so it feels less lonely

Mykidsboard · 03/04/2020 14:43

We have just received our fee invoice for the Summer Term. My DD is a weekly boarder at a major girls only boarding school. We have been offered a 20% reduction on the educational element of the fee and a 70% discount on the boarding fee. Whilst I can live with the 20% discount on the educational element as she will be receiving an excellent online education in virtual classrooms etc, paying 30% towards boarding fees seems a bit much. With boarding staff furloughed what exactly are we paying for? No room, food, house pastoral support, activities etc etc. What do other boarding parents think of this? I feel that boarders are contributing a higher amount to a school funds than day girls.

WarmCinnamonZoflora · 03/04/2020 14:51

I am really struggling and have no tips, beyond be rich and have no children, so you have room. My work involves a lot of video calling and I have no room in which I can do this privately, except a dark bedroom. My only tip is let your children languish on computers so you can get some time to cram your work and also stay up late.

Bimbleberries · 03/04/2020 15:01

I have to use the kitchen table. so I have one of those Ikea trolleys, the small one, that fits underneath, so that at the end of the day, I can easily store my work materials in it, and leave the table clear again, so that in the evenings, I don't feel like the room is still dominated by work.

ScorpionQueen · 03/04/2020 15:44

My top tip is to not have an annoying husband.

Seriously, if you can a dedicated workspace with a chair that doesn't kill your back, room to spread papers about and organised storage, you're on to a winner. I would love to be able to go to IKEA right now.

Montydoo · 03/04/2020 16:04

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

Just a box room full of clutter - this has had a makeover and is now a little home office - RESULT

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

no need now.

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

I log on at work, an use my outlook calendar to tell work when I am in and out, this has to work around my children's mealtimes and school time table.

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

The box room will become a homework room and study when this pandemic is over - I will buy a larger screen, give it a lick of paint and put some blinds in (and a new office chair - I am using a kitchen chair)

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 use my Alexa for reminders, we play music, to PE with Jo Wicks, decide our weekly menu, concentrate on school work, and family time.

voyager50 · 03/04/2020 17:14

I am very lucky that I have a home office so it means it's much easier to work without being disturbed - when the door is shut I mustn't be interrupted as I'm on a call or video chat but if it's open they can talk to me.

NewModelArmyMayhem18 · 03/04/2020 18:16

Start working at 7am with headphones on - will give you headspace and time to get a good amount of work done before the rest of the world (and the DC) rise from their slumbers.

NineteenForever · 03/04/2020 20:28

Thankfully haven't had to home school my grown kids but I've worked from home for the first time in my life and definitely comfort is key- right desk , right chair right equipment.

PickAChew · 03/04/2020 23:10

Have a spouse who has nothing else to do but direct a trouserless child away from your morning Teams meeting Blush

malaguena · 04/04/2020 09:52

I have a spare bedroom that I use as a little office, and I am just realising how important it is to have a good comfy chair if you spend a lot of time at your desk. A still won't do long term. I have stolen a armchair from my living room for now but will definitely look for something better once we are out of lockdown. I also wish I had one (or 3) of those Ikea trolleys, we are using the dining table for our improvised homeschool and it would have been perfect for putting things away and storing craft material. The peg boards are also on my list, I love them!

MUMALLMIGHTY · 04/04/2020 13:03

Use somewhere free like for free domain names and hosting to save on outgoings especially if your start honing your craft because you want to try a lot of different things fast and it can end up being most expensive than youl earn if your not careful.

i tend to agree with let the kids lay in so you can get work done, as soon as they are up its mum, mum, mum, mum, sometimes without even stopping to breath!

diversiy your interests, dont put all your eggs in any one idea. make time for all your ideas, but know which are most realistic and put them forefront with most resources designated towards those ideas over the more adventurous concepts.

dont spend out more than you have coming in!

PurpleGoose · 04/04/2020 14:41

My husband works from home and I'm a teacher, so we already had a home office set up. Our pre-schooler knows not to come in if the door is shut and we are tag teaming when I'm home. Along with all the previous advice above, I'd say that having a shower and getting dressed properly each morning helps to get into 'work mode'

Marsis · 04/04/2020 19:55

We live in a small house with no real work space OH has this table and shares with DD is usually end up on my bed. We’ve found planning ‘school work’ the night before and tag teaming time spent with the kids during the day has allowed to get enough done. I thought it would be awful and hasn’t been easy but enjoying our new normal as somebody who had to go back to work when both were 9 months old its an opportunity to spend time with them which I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

thanksamillion · 04/04/2020 23:52

The DC all have desks in their rooms but I'm working from the dining room table. Sometimes they come and join me for a change of scenery. I think the biggest thing is not to try and recreate the office experience at home. Yes have space and time set aside but I'm getting fed up with everyone wanting to zoom every 5 minutes to discuss things. Zoom should be used sparingly!

Straysocks · 05/04/2020 08:38

I provide respite to my disabled sister and when she stays there are 4 of us in a three bed house. It is 24hr care for a week at a time. That's ok when kids at school. During this time I make sure children have their own work/activity area and make a plan with each of them about their goals for the day and ask them to do a rough outline of how their day will look. This gives them a foundation for independence so I can provide medication, care and assistance to my sister. We make time to review the plan at end of each day to note achievements, progress and work to carry over before starting the next one. I also ensure we have different combinations of time together, in different twos to keep the dynamics flowing. We have a small yard and I'd love to make this a new area and fill it with greenery so we can enjoy meals/fun/games and take a break from our house. I think it's possible but would need everything in it to be multipurpose. It would be lovely if we could spend meal times there so we work inside and play outside.

bibindum · 05/04/2020 08:48

Anyone else working on a fold up chair that's less than ideal? Remember to stretch set a reminder on your phone or install an app on your laptop.

ohdannyboy · 05/04/2020 11:37

I work for the local Council, and will WFH occasionally - but now have been told to WFH till further notice - not easy when I am parenting 2 energetic boys, one who is missing his football, friends and going to the cricket nets every night.

I have a timetable with SCHOOL TIME, - when they do the art, maths, reading and english work set by school. MEAL TIMES, when we sit in the conservatory and have our meals.
All I can say is thank goodness for YouTube and the people who are teaching, reading, exercising to keep us to a schedule.

So as far as tips would be:-

Timetables- set it and stick to it - once you have given in to 'awww do `i have to' - it's hard to get back to a structure.
Look up YouTubers - Jo WIckes and Oti Mobusse - are great
Do what you can when you can
This is a terrible time for us all - so keep the news off.
Connect your laptop to a larger screen to avoid eye strain.
Get outdoors when you can.
Why not learn a new skill - I am learning coding with my children- they are learning and enjoying being with me.

BiggerBoat1 · 05/04/2020 11:41

Try to get up really early - before kids. Get showered, dressed and put shoes on to feel the part.

Have an organised space. We are lucky enough to have a study with a nice big desk.

Have proper breaks for lunch and make sure you have a little walk round at least every hour.

Make sure everyone knows when you have to make a work call, but don't expect silence the rest of the time.

lolly2010 · 05/04/2020 14:44

We set up the dining table to ensure there is enough room for the children to complete their homework and for my husband to work, its important to get in the right frame of mind for both work and school work, get up at a reasonable time and get dressed. This means once you sit at the desk you are ready for work. I find my sons get through a lot more work this way and they are ready and focused to work their best. We set up the area so that there is everything close to hand so that it is easier to focus.

Cismyfatarse1 · 05/04/2020 17:31

I repurposed our kitchen table and had a lovely week treating that as my classroom (teacher) and working from the kitchen table. A week later both teenagers came home. One currently has University work and the other is starting soon. There is no way I can teach and 2 teens can hear lectures / have tutorials / read / research in the same room.

So, I have a very cheap trestle table arriving which is going in the sun room at the side of the house and that is now my space.

I think setting things up is the key thing. Plugs are an issue (Ineed both an iPad and a laptop). Also, good Wi-fi signal and a chair that is meant to be sat in for reasonable periods of time. We have two very long lasting Ikea armchairs, one of which is being used as a desk chair.

Frequent trips to the kettle required too. Plus breaks to walk / do some stretches.

Mostly, I miss actually teaching my pupils in real life but having a good home set up really helps.

GriseldaChop · 05/04/2020 19:59

We're tag teaming and taking it in turn to work and look after our DS. We have had a good tidy of the toy room/conservatory and put desk and chair in there so we can close a door when making conference calls. We're managing to make it work and love that everyone is home in time to eat together at tea time!

Thewindsofchange · 05/04/2020 22:11

My top top for working at home: instead of making endless cups of tea/coffee, make a big flask at the beginning of the day and just keep filling up your cup (just remember to put yourself on mute if you're on a conference call when pouring so it doesn't sound like you're weeing! Grin)

Dontfuckingsaycheese · 06/04/2020 00:05

I try to get up at the normal time and get showered and dressed so I feel more like the day has started - otherwise I find myself floating around in PJs till lunch, just one more cup of coffee etc. I have set myself up with a desk in my bedroom. I have to force myself to sit at it sometimes but it really does help me to work - otherwise I find myself snuggling up in bed pretending to work and before I know it
Wink zzzzzzzzzz!!

It's a new way of working for many of us and good to share tips with others!

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