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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:
PickledChicory · 06/04/2020 10:56

I'm lucky enough to be a seasoned home worker. Dh worked from home exclusively for a few years and he built a home office at the bottom of the garden himself. I am well aware not everyone has that luxury. We felt it was essential as DD1 was a baby and being looked after at home by DMIL a few days a week and an office in the house just wouldnt have worked. We now both work a few days a week from home.
Are you lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated home office? Yes a separate building at bottom of garden.
Or perhaps you’ve given a dining room or spare bedroom a dual purpose?No that just doesnt work for us with kids being looked after in the home

How do you navigate working with your children in the house? Have a separate building its the only way.

Do you have ideas for making a home office space work for your entire family?
Yes our dedicated space is great for home admin. We are taking DD1 to the home office to do home education.

Perhaps you have tips for maintaining your focus from home, by developing a home-based routine or getting a good start to each day?
Yes I have to get up as usual shower and dress. I go out take my cuppa out and only come out for breaks.

Fuss · 06/04/2020 18:09

Get up and walk around often!

wholelottahistory · 06/04/2020 20:55

Are you lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated home office?
We have the study, which has been taken over by the kids for homework and schoolwork and me for household management. Dh is wfh in a recess off the drawing room. He has a flip down desk. Thankfully it's not cold, as it would be a bit drafty with original critical windows and doors.

How do you navigate working with your children in the house?
We take it in turns and set them lots of small tasks throughout the day.

Perhaps you have tips for maintaining your focus from home, by developing a home-based routine or getting a good start to each day.
Timetables help a lot and the kids love checking theirs to see what is next.

Isitandwatchastearsgoby · 06/04/2020 22:21

Unfortunately we do not have the space for me to work elsewhere. Myself, ds and dd have an allocated spot at the dining room table! Each child has a folder, a tray like in school and a snack pot and water bottle set up. I try and break the day up into independent tasks for the children whilst I work and then I try and catch up when they go to bed or up before them. It’s the only way I can make it work but I’m exhausted!

MrJollyLivesNextDoor · 07/04/2020 09:38

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 have taken over the dining room completely

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

My DS is having far too much screen time but there's not a lot I can do about that as I'm working 8 hours a day

Do you have ideas for making a home office space work for your entire family?
I'm lucky that there's only DS and myself and our house is pretty big - I imagine people will have to be very tidy (unlike me)

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 start earlier than I need to - easier to do now that I don't have breakfast club school run and commute. I feel this gives me a bit of leeway during the day if I need it with DS

OatyMcOatface · 07/04/2020 10:00

Are you lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated home office? No, I'm using the dining room which I am lucky to have as a separate room.

How do you navigate working with your children in the house? My kids are 6&8. I get up at 5:45 and work from 6-9am. They are in bed for part of that, then they help themselves to a simple breakfast of toast or cereal making a huge mess in the process at lunchtime I put dinner in the slow cooker then in the late afternoon do a few more hours of work while the kids facetime their grandparents and cousins.

Do you have ideas for making a home office space work for your entire family The other end of the dining table is used for the home schoolwork.

Perhaps you have tips for maintaining your focus from home, by developing a home-based routine or getting a good start to each day we follow a rough routine and make time for a group exercise session and a walk after lunch each day. In the afternoon they usually do one of the activities from the 30 day lego challenge, draw or play something while chatting along with their cousins/grannies on facetime. Strangely this seems to kill a lot of time for both the kids and the grandparents. As the weathers got better they are also in the garden a fair bit which I can see out the window. If they get bored at this stage they can turn on the tv.

A comfortable work station is essential with computer & chair etc at the right height or as close as you can make it. I allow myself a break of 5-10 minutes per hour which is recommended and use this to make a cuppa, put on a load of washing, check on the kids, clear up a bit etc. Just pottering about clears the monotony a bit.

Lurleene · 07/04/2020 16:26

There are three us in my home. DH is working from his office, I am in the living room and DS is using his bedroom to study / play instruments / play on the Switch as that's where most of his things are. My work is confidential so we have to be far enough apart to hold private phone conversations and Skype. As we are spending all day alone we have instigated a 5pm daily appointment with each other to sit and have a drink in the garden or lounge and catch up on each other's days. This has been good to mark a cut off from the working day and we are making an effort to play board games etc in the evening so we can have fun together.

Cooloncraze · 07/04/2020 16:38

I have a tiny house and am a single parent. My six yr old son and I both work at our kitchen table but I store his pens and paints on a small craft trolley. So we can pack the table away when we’re not working and it feels a bit organised.
We stop for a break and snack and do a bit of watering our seeds outside.
I make a den outside with cushions and fabrics and an outpost mat. I read him some Harry Potter so we get some sun- and relax.
We look forward to the evening when we choose a film and I change the lighting so the house feels cosy and it’s not work time.
I’ve actually recently bought an Ikea bamboo lamp which casts a warm light and his toys are in the lovely Ikea card storage boxes that look like a de chirico painting.
It’s really about changing the spaces slightly so they adapt to Joe Wicks/ play/ work/ relax. I have to use mobile and space saving solutions to do this.

CrocusPocus · 07/04/2020 17:07

We have an office, dh is mostly using it as he needs quiet for his work (more meetings and similar than me). Kids and I are around the kitchen table. They are late primary/ early secondary so mostly pretty well behaved. I send them out in the garden to let off steam if not (separately if they're squabbling). I've found having a shelf to tidy papers/laptops/pens away at the end of the day really useful, as we need the table for eating too.

Thiswayorthatway · 07/04/2020 17:13

We have a dedicated office. I made a door hanger sign with the DC, red/no entry on one side and green/please come in on the other. Working ok so far!

FreiasBathtub · 07/04/2020 19:57

Me, DH, 5 year old and 1 year old at home. We moved into this house about 3 months ago and everything feels a bit like camping anyway, so the working from home situation isn't exactly throwing a spanner into a well organised living space!

We've set up a couple of old desks in the spare room and are working in shifts. While the one year old naps, we both work and have the five year old in with us doing some token 'schooling', we have an ancient laptop and luckily had prioritised furnishing her room so have moved her new desk next to ours and can help her when she gets stuck.

I wouldn't say that anyone is having an outstanding educational or professional experience but we are getting by. Agree with pp that it's important to differentiate between work time and family time, I think having DD in with us has blurred the boundaries a bit for her so we might have to revisit this after Easter.

I am grateful every day that we have a spare room and aren't still overflowing from the little flat we used to live in, but spending 24/7 at home has really put a bomb under me in terms of getting the house decorated and things like storage sorted. I'm not enjoying living full time with someone else's taste, or, indeed, with my Christmas decorations and yarn stash precariously balanced on the stairs!

Sleepybumble · 08/04/2020 07:52

I've found having an office and reminding my 4 year old gently that this is my work time has been really helpful. I make sure she has plenty of attention when I'm not working and she's gradually learning where the boundaries are

dyscalculicgal96 · 08/04/2020 13:14

I have a art cupboard. For homeschooling, I keep supplies in a box in the living room. I also have a whiteboard which I use for lessons, especially math.
I have a bookcase in the living room as well. All lessons are done in the dining room as there is a table in there as well as space to move around too. The weekly art lesson takes place outside, we have a craft table outside which I wipe down with antibacterial once a week.

Stationery items and workbooks are kept in the dining room. The printer is in the playroom along with workbooks. Where do you store old exam papers? I have a folder that is currently crammed full of worksheets and old question papers.

WashYourFins · 08/04/2020 16:08

DH has the spare room as an office, and I can't work off the dining table for long as the chairs aren't good for hours of sitting at a computer. I did try sitting on a yoga ball for a bit, which was better, but as the dining table is in a communal area, the kids tend to bug whoever works there for snacks, drinks, etc. So I have taken over my daughter's bedroom - recently gave it a "big girl makeover" and now pleased I insisted on including a desk in it!

10milewalk · 08/04/2020 19:37

No I don't have a a dedicated home office, but I'm lucky to have a corner in the dinning room to myself. To keep myself on track, I try and get up at the same time each day and make sure I get myself dressed and stick to a routine.

rillette · 08/04/2020 22:32

Calm, organised space, good cup of coffee, a to-do list, quiet surroundings. And my essential oil diffuser! A proper placebo but a nice ritual.

buckeejit · 08/04/2020 22:57

dh's best idea for working from home is to hide something the dc will want - remote, cereal, switch, snack box etc in the garden somewhere & set them off on a treasure hunt to find it. Gets them out of our hair for at least a half hour and usually more as they are easily distracted!

Mitzicoco · 09/04/2020 00:46

We are very lucky in that we have a small study for my husband to work in.

RunningKatie · 09/04/2020 15:09

I use the dining room table for my desk, and it also has the dc's stuff piled on it. Dh is using our bedroom as his office, he gets to shut the door and ignore the chaos.
I get up before everyone else with the goal of finishing my part-time hours by 11. I try and set the dc some tasks but one of them is not keen on anything so it tends to be fluid till I can give them my attention.
One thing I do is make a jug of water up and snacks so I'm not constantly interrupted for things they can do themselves. There's also a weekly menu up to stop the "what are we having" questions - although it doesn't stop them.
I wish we'd had the opportunity to make the spare room into an office but to be honest with the dc being young they still need to be supervised fairly closely so it wouldn't work at the moment.
I am looking forward to putting away my office/school for the long weekend!

Alo2019 · 09/04/2020 15:52

I don’t work from home as I work in a shop but I’m now trying to home school my children. We get up as normally would for school and have our breakfast, then we join in with joe wicks p.e workout at 9oclock. We then crack on with school work as I’ve brought some off amazon so plenty to do. Then we have lunch at 12.30-1.30. After we do spellings then after something crafty. Although this is a scary time for every one I don’t want my kids to fall behind with work and I also don’t want to be too pushy as they are probably panicking about the whole situation too. Hope everyone is well and staying safe and most importantly stay home 🌈

Anj123 · 09/04/2020 18:33

We do have a study but husband uses it for working from home, so I use the dining room. Luckily he has a laptop from work but I am using our own very old laptop which is just about coping. However, I am also using the iPad which is very useful when joining virtual meetings and looking at documents online at the same time.

We are fortunate in that our daughter is now a teenager so doesn’t mind doing her own thing. It must be a lot more difficult with younger children. We are trying to encourage her to help around the house and she’s old enough to know that if she becomes too lazy she will find it harder to get back in the swing of things. She is reading and practicing her musical instruments.

We are focusing on the positives and trying to be civil to each other!

TerrorWig · 09/04/2020 22:50

In 'normal' times I work from home every so often, from my kitchen table.

Now, I'm working from a specially set up space in my bedroom. Cleared off my dressing table, so my knees knock the boxes I have underneath and my back is sore from my not-very-comfortable chair and the fact I'm crouched over a laptop. It's necessary though, as I have three sons and a small house so I have to keep out of the common areas.

Once this is all over, I'm considering cornering off a portion of the room and really setting up a proper desk with a stand for the laptop and a separate keyboard. We'll see!

welldonejean · 10/04/2020 07:30

The adults are taking turns in the 'office' - aka the spare room with a small desk in it. Half a day each roughly - depending on schedules for calls etc.
The children are being home schooled at the kitchen table, and the shelves that normally hold cookery books and some bits in the kitchen have been cleared to accommodate paper, pens, paints, notebooks, story books, non-fiction books, dictionaries and all the other bits for school.
We have a mini trampoline that the 'bounce it out' in between lessons when they get fidgety and we found that starting the day out in the park first thing with a 'PE' lesson works best for us. Mornings are some science, maths or English. Afternoons are much more relaxed with cooking, baking, music - playing or listening to - and art of some sort.
'school' starts around 8.30am and is done by 2pm...
the only hard and fast rule is no non-school related screen time til 4pm at the earliest. So they can go play, go in the garden or whatever til 4pm but no games, films, or telly before then.

BlackeyedPetitsPois · 10/04/2020 09:03

I am working at home but lack of space means I’ve had to hi jack my 8 year old DD bedroom which has a desk. She and her younger sister do their school work downstairs with daddy whilst I’m upstairs.

They each take turns sharing our ancient laptop and use the dining room table. I have some document trays which hold their work and these get tidied away after each morning’s work session. They usually work from 9:30 (after Joe wicks) until lunchtime, then it’s playtime, with some educational play sessions slotted in.
I’m finding it really tough working at home, I have worked at home in the odd occasion before, however everyday, week after week is not good. I’m finding I’m having more frequent breaks to get up and move around.
I do try and get out walking at lunchtime but that means I can’t go out later on with the girls Sad

OhYouBadBadKitten · 10/04/2020 10:34

It's really important to take your usual breaks if you have them. Get out of the room you are working in. Do a bit of gardening, or have a coffee. Make sure that you are getting some exercise. If you have a team that you connect with socially, try and make sure you do this online if you can.

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