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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!


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Mumsnet users share their work from home experiences with IKEA
OP posts:
manybirdsnests · 25/04/2020 09:24

I'm afraid I'm not very tidy. My 'office' is at the table in my living room. There's clutter all over the place in the rest of the room, but I make sure that the corner behind me looks clear and zen for those online meetings.

(I haven't gone to the effort of creating a special video-call backdrop, but I would consider it!)

del2929 · 25/04/2020 10:28

devise a plan/chart with the children if they are old enough to understand

1969angep · 25/04/2020 14:23

Luckily we have a large (long) dining table. My dp has set up his office at one end and we do arty work at the other. For homeschooling book work we are using the lounge - sitting on the floor and using the footstool as a table. Not ideal for my old bones lol but the 8 year old is OK with it

Punkatheart · 27/04/2020 17:42

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

I have a whole separate annexe but now my daughter and her boyfriend are living in it.

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?

Older child - so not a problem.

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

No - just 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?

Getting dressed for sure and even adopting work clothes.

Katandbabe · 28/04/2020 08:11

We have made the most out of our dining area, by introducing additional lighting with desk lamps, lots of green plants and an essential oil diffuser.

Slurpy · 28/04/2020 20:33

Don't expect to be quite as productive as you'd ordinarily be at work, if you've got kids in the house. Save the 'big guns' (sticking on a DVD or letting them play on tablets or whatever) for when you've got a meeting. If you've got some mundane, brainless tasks to do, do them with the kids around and save your more difficult tasks for when they're engrossed in something.

Someaddedsugar · 28/04/2020 20:45

We're very lucky and have a spare bedroom that has become my office. I really appreciate having the space to be able to work while DP and DS play in the rest of our home, and also the ability to shut the door on my work each night. I find it difficult to switch off from work so having a dedicated 'zone' makes things a bit easier for me.

I definitely think a home office space needs to be light, and as we have a toddler it also needs room for him to come and draw and colour in while I'm working.

I also think a good routine while working from home is essential, especially in unprecedented times such as these where good mental health is key. Each morning we get up and go for a 15 minute 'commute' around the village before arriving home. DP and DS then start their day of activities (usually a bit of screen time first thing and then playing with toys, building lego etc) while I work. We then all have lunch together and I do the washing up between 12 and 1, and then we go back to our separate rooms. Sometimes DS will come and join me to do colouring or to look at pictures of cars on my iPad while I work and DP will have a break and and a potter in the garden. And then I try and finish between 4 and 5 to join in with making dinner and the usual evening routine.

CallmeBadJanet · 02/05/2020 09:13

At a pinch, if the other “workspaces” in the house are taken, I put my laptop on my ironing board and use that as either a standing desk, or lower the height, add a chair and it’s a sitting workspace. Great for zoom.

nookandcrannies · 07/05/2020 22:45

My top tip is to actually stop working.
What I mean is take five mins to have a stretch, make a decent coffee, do a ten min mindfulness or yoga etc. Have a lunch break away from your “desk”. Productivity will be so better as a result. I would have often shut myself away, work non stop, no fresh air or movement when WFH, its demoralising and makes you sluggish. I always break for lunch now and do moderate exercise ready for an afternoon in the office

Spirael · 08/05/2020 19:41

Since it looks like a lot of us are going to be WFH for the long run, it's important to try and take care of all the usual health and safety concerns that go into sorting out desk space at work. Things like making sure the monitor is high enough so you don't hunch over, and that the chair is the right height to avoid putting strain on your wrists when typing or using the mouse.

We've sacrificed half of the lounge to create a makeshift office, and just about managed to squeeze in two desks - as DH and I are both WFH full time. The layout means we're sitting back to back, so appear in each others video calls, which amuses our colleagues.

CornishTiger · 08/05/2020 22:26

Both key workers. Both in vulnerable group.

DH finally got set up to work from home. I’m off working in a social care/housing settings at least half the week including weekends and BHs. Other times I’m remote working at home.

Three children. It’s a nightmare. They are totally neglected and no education happening. We are both shattered. DH boss in very much into the whole presentism approach to hours and only during normal working hours. Ridiculous as he could do some early morning and evening logging on and still clear work effectively.

My employer has been amazing and my boss loves seeing my son join in a Skype call. I think having a child similar age helps!

I’ve used the car and toilet go get some quiet space for phone calls. Our kitchen table is full of tech so we are now eating in laps. Kids think it’s great.

We are very lucky to both have incomes from jobs and haven’t accessed the childcare because we are coping. We are both planning on taking some leave soon though as feeling burn out is approaching.

buckley1983 · 12/05/2020 23:42

We don't have an office space, but we have unoffficially turned our small conservatory/dining table into our office/school room. Lots of natural light & great to have a room away from the TV so we can focus on whatever we are doing. I try to get my son engaged in an activity & I'll sit next to him while he does this & complete whatever work I'm able to. Most of my work involves talking to clients on the phone - so that part I do when my husband gets home from work.
I tried to introduce a formal timetable, but my son was having none of it!! I have to disguise learning into a game or other fun activity - a worksheet just doesn't cut it!
We have been doing lots of arts, crafts & gardening. I have been teaching him cross stitch which I never would have thought to do ordinarily!
I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend this time with him - having started this period feeling terrified, I now feel we have bonded more & I feel more confident in my own parenting skills :)

Ostanovka · 12/05/2020 23:46

I tell the children I'm invisible until I come and get them when I've finished work!

Byrdie · 13/05/2020 19:01

I am lucky enough to have an office. Unfortunately it is also the junk room. My tip is to clear up everything in the viewfinder of the WebCam! Anything that isn't seen on the WebCam, doesn't exist. Other tip is have a door that closes and stick a sign outside to say you are on a call. Permanently.

catia212 · 14/05/2020 11:31

We have a big dinner table in the kitchen, so everyday Monday to Friday myself and kids seat around it and do our work together.
I find it very helpful to have regular breaks and talk to a colleague over the phone while having a coffee :)

leanneth · 14/05/2020 17:20

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

Not a a chance! 😂

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

My husband works from the kitchen as he has lots of video meetings and calls to make. I’m sharing the front room with three children!

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

I try to set the children off on tasks before getting on with my own work. This means I have to work a little later in the evening but at least I’m Doing my best for my children

Do you have ideas for making a home office space work for your entire family?
My children work better on little desks than on the sofa.

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 always start the day with PE with Joe, then get on with the tasks I’ve given the children. We have little routines of what need doing and once that’s done the children can play (and I can get on with some work!)

PorridgeAgainAbney · 16/05/2020 07:47

I usually do around 3 hours both weekend mornings, and start work really early during the week. This gives me the freedom to take several half hour chunks of time off each day to spend with DS doing lessons or going out for a walk without work suffering.

We don't have a spare room so we try small ways of making weekdays and weekends feel different, which feels important for our mental health so each day doesn't just drift into another. Eg, weekends there is a cooked/baked breakfast, table is nicely laid, no work after 10am so it doesn't interfere with the day.

Any video calls are greatly looked forward to by DS as he's allowed to watch tv for half an hour while I have the call in another room.

There is a big file and cardboard box where all the schoolwork is kept so it can be tidied away at the end of the day. Any messy art lessons are done at the weekend so we can all join in (and it doesn't take an hour of clearing up on a work day).

I was lucky to have an old monitor, mouse and keyboard in the garage so I use them with the laptop. The first couple of weeks using only the laptop was really uncomfortable, but I could still do with a proper chair as the kitchen ones are hard and not supportive.

Sleepybumble · 17/05/2020 21:38

I have set up a work area in my bedroom. Not ideal at all but I'm not at home due to sheilding and there isn't space for me to set up anywhere else. I only work wed, thur and Fri. I set it up on wed morning and put it all away on Friday evening. I feel this allows me to switch off from work properly on my days off. I also make sure I move about regularly as I don't have a ergonomic chair at home. I have gone as far as setting an alarm for every 90 mins to remind me to get up and move.

AppleBlossomTimeNow · 17/05/2020 21:47

We all share the kitchen table which can be tricky. To ensure all our stuff is handy, and can be cleared away quickly for mealtimes, I've turned a sideboard into a place to store laptops & cables, art supplies, paper, school books & stationery. It makes working in the kitchen much easier. I don't like my kids to use their laptops in their bedrooms & this way I can keep an eye on them if I'm cooling or working from home. If I have an online meeting, I try to timetable it so my kids are reading or playing outside so I have the kitchen (and the wifi) to myself. I've only locked a child in the garden once by mistake...

SunsetOnTheHorizon · 20/05/2020 02:36

Having a dedicated room/area with a desk helped immensely. Keeping my mobile in the other room and only answering calls as the barrage of msges and videos were so time consuming. Kids luckily had their dad to kp them occupied as we took turns to focus on work. Lots of Bear Grylls and interactive stuff on Netflix

Cd89 · 20/05/2020 23:08

Chaotic! Working from home, homeschooling and a toddler.
We've had to be organised, we plan break times and iPad time around my work calls and I flex my hours to work with the kids. A bit of PE in the morning helps to start the day too. I also try to prep snacks and lunch first thing so I can get a bit of work in while the kids are eating.

Sharpandshineyteeth · 22/05/2020 23:02

Decent storage to tidy away papers and folders so I don’t have to look at it when I’ve finished work.

JustineBMumsnet · 01/06/2020 14:14

Thanks for your comments! The winner of the prize draw is @ipswichwitch Grin

OP posts:
ipswichwitch · 01/06/2020 14:33

Woohoo! Thanks very much 😊 I can buy all the stuff I’ve saved in my online shopping basket now 😂

Montydoo · 01/06/2020 14:36

congratulations @ipswichwitch

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