In this week’s episode we’re talking about setting up a workspace at home. Whether you’re in isolation, under house arrest or starting a side hustle from home, join Lily and Bonnie as they share their tips for working from home. If you’re struggling to work from home with noisy spouses, or babies and young children, this episode will help you find your calm space!
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BONNIE: Hello and welcome I am Bonnie
LILY: and I am Lily, and this is Little Home Organised the Podcast dedicated to helping you declutter, get organised and reclaim time for the things you love.
LILY: Before we get into today’s episode, we have some exciting news to share
LILY: Little Home Organised is launching its first online course!
LILY: Woo hoo! We are so excited to be bringing you the essentials guide. Bonnie what is The Essentials Guide?
BONNIE: Well the essentials guide is the only guide you will need to declutter and organise every space in your home.
LILY: So to celebrate the launch of our brand new essentials guide, the only guide you will ever need we are running a free webinar for our listeners. Now the FREE webinar is called Declutter your home in 7 days with tons of free information to help you declutter, get organised and
BONNIE: reclaim time for the things you love.
LILY: So all you need to do it head to littlehomeorganised.com.au/webinar to register your interest there and then register for the webinar. It is on the 6th October at 8pm Australian Eastern Standard time.
BONNIE: And you may be one of the very lucky people who after experiencing our amazing free webinar signs up for the essential guide, we are then given those people the chance to win one of 5 prize packs from Second Scout.
LILY: Now for those of you who haven’t heard of Second Scout, they are a company based here in Brisbane and they create beautiful labels. Second scout’s range of organisation labels use not only words but pictures too and this means that even the littlest family member can play a part in keeping things organised well before they learnt to read. Made of premium grade clear vinyl and also waterproof they will look terrific on your draws, cupboards, shelves and containers, even the ones that get covered in finger paint. Discover the full range including clothes, toys and arts and crafts at www.secondscout.com.au
BONNIE: Hello and welcome. In this week’s episode we are going to be talking about setting up a workspace at home. Whether you are starting a side hustle, under house arrest, in isolation or simply just working from home during the pandemic we will share out top tips for creating your own home office and still keeping the work life balance in check. Now before we get started I just have to draw everybody’s attention to an event that happened a few years ago, maybe even last year, time has no meaning when you have children but do you remember that BBC interview where the man who was being interviewed was working from his home office,
LILY: It was so good
BONNIE: It was a live episode and his little daughter sauntered into the room followed by the baby in the walker
LILY: In the walker, I know and then I think it was the nanny, was it his wife
BONNIE: No, it was the mum, his wife and she obviously saw them.
LILY: She was mortified
BONNIE: On the TV in the living room which the kids had been watching and he had forgotten to lock the door and these kids came in and she raced in, the speed of light and yanked them out and you know to his credit the guy who was
LILY: He was so composed
BONNIE: He was so composed and I just thought that is hilarious and you know there has been so many stories coming out over the last kind of 6 months about people who are now working from home and their video calls
LILY: Yeah like we have talked before about that zoom meeting where that poor women just like zoned out and forgot that if you take your laptop with you to stay in the meeting people can still see you in the meeting and she went to the toilet.
LILY: How do you live those things down, I don’t know
BONNIE: I cringe for her, I really do. Actually the funniest one I liked was where the lady was having a meeting and her spouse or partner walked passed in his undies and it was just so awesome
LILY: But it highlights and important discussion and that is when we work from home there are some considerations we need to put in place.
BONNIE: Yes we definitely do and I think the first thing that we need to think about when we are setting up a work space from home is where is that space going to be and it is really interesting to see people sharing their work spaces that they have set up at home because of the pandemic and how many people have had to set up a work space right next to their babies cot.
LILY: Yeah, like you have just got to make it work don’t you and depending on the size of the house that you are living in you may be limited in your options.
BONNIE: Yeah that’s right and so what we would encourage you to do is if you are setting up a space or you are reviewing your working space from home because it is not quite working think about this first of all, where is there a quiet space for you to work, where you can actually focus on your work, where you can have online meetings without there being you know a screaming child in the background, um do you have a room that has got a door and a lock
LILY: Mmm and if it doesn’t can you put a lock on it.
BONNIE: You don’t want to be like that BBC interviewer who had his kids come in um right in the middle of it sort of thing. You want to maintain some sense of professionalism although having said that I have been really happy to hear about how everybody is kind of cutting each other some slack
BONNIE: Because we are all in this together, we are all, most of us are having to work from home at some point during 2020 because of the corona virus and so there has been a lot more grace for people
LILY: Isn’t it interesting how the lines have blurred a little bit around it, you know we are getting a bit of an insight now into peoples personal lives and for some people they may never have known those things about the professionals that they do work with.
BONNIE: Yes and I think this is where a lot of people are really grateful for the virtual background.
BONNIE: You can put on.
LILY: And they are customisable which is great so if you are doing those zoom meetings and you haven’t embraced a virtual background they have got some stand ones that you can use but you can also I think upload your own.
BONNIE: The tropical beach.
BONNIE: Just make everybody jealous and think that you are on holiday in Hawaii where as you are not because we know you are not travelling, no one is
LILY: But when you are working from home I think one of the considerations that I would definitely be putting into play if you can’t find the perfect spot, maybe you have got the perfect virtual background but you haven’t got the perfect spot as far as the noise and things like that, and this is one of the best purchases I have ever made, it noise cancelling headphones.
BONNIE: Oh 100%
LILY: I routinely every couple of months turn to my husband and say I love these headphones. I actually do that and he is like Yeah I know
BONNIE: And he is like on a scale of 1-10
LILY: I’m like 10
BONNIE: Where does that love
BONNIE: Where does the love sit compared to how to you love me, and you’re like mmm 12.
LILY: Seriously I just love those headphones because, you know they were great for travelling but it means that no matter where I am working I can fully zone in and it, I put on like, I actually to focus put on like deep house music which I think is really unusual
BONNIE: Whenever you play that at my place, I am just like yeah this is not my jam
LILY: No because otherwise I get distracted and start singing if I know the songs, so I need something that is like really like just like monotonous in the background, so I put on this music
LILY: And I, its perfect and I you know my ears are completely sealed in and because they are like proper noise cancelling it really does take you away and I can just like hammer out some great stuff.
BONNIE: So my question for you is how do you make that work now that you have got a baby.
LILY: Ahh so I only put them on when I am not responsible for listening in for him
BONNIE: Oh cool
LILY: Or the alternative of what I do is I put them and I make sure I have the video monitor in front, so I can see him.
LILY: And the video monitor the cool think about it is they have like little lights at the top which shows sound, so you can visually see sound as well
BONNIE: So it is like a sound bar showing how elevated he is getting.
LILY: Yeah, mummmm, I’m awake, but yeah I think that is one of the important considerations, like if you don’t have noise cancelling headphones and you can like put that into your budget or maybe you can buy it you know through your business and put it down as a tax write off, could you do that?
BONNIE: Yeah you could do it as tax deduction for a lot of people, check with your accountant of course
LILY: Yep no advice, no advice ****, um but I think um the other thing that I think is so important about when you are working from home and I think this is for anything in life but especially working from home is, you know longer have those set hours of going to the office and work can quickly bleed into normal life and you have to have boundaries
BONNIE: Boundaries are so essential and I know that we talk about them time and time again and people
LILY: It is because they are so important
BONNIE: They are and people are probably sick of us harping on about them but if you have no boundaries then how do people know where they can go, it is like with your sheep if you were a shepherd, you know you need to say there is the fence, you can go anywhere in side here up to the fence but if you had no fence it would be like roam free, I will find you at some point.
LILY: Absolutely. So like consider when you are setting up your office how am I going to protect my boundaries and what boundaries am I going to put in place and I think the most important one, and it is one that I have learnt over the years because I use to work where I lived in New Zealand and I would find myself working some crazy hours there, starting at weird hours, finishing at weird hours and because I felt just a sense of responsibility to get things done because you know often in business, especially if you are like a small business owner, if you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done
LILY: And so you feel this compulsion to continue and when we do that we one get the work done, maybe not to the best quality because we are exhausted but two we are kind of burning the candle at both ends and we are not having that balance and so one of the biggest things that I learnt was don’t go to work all day, come home and then continue with work at home. You need to have some separation. This is where work happens and this is where work ends.
BONNIE: Yeah and I think when I first started Little Miss Organised and I was researching how to work from home and this is pre kids, I mean we had been married a few years by then but no kids were around and one of the biggest things that I read was make sure at the end of the day you have got a separate space to go to that it not work, so that when work is finished you close that door, you walk out of that room and it is like to your family I am here, I am present, work time is over now and I am back on personal family time.
LILY: Absolutely and I think one of the things that we can do to protect ourselves and I think we mentioned this before in our technology episode, I think that was maybe episode 9 Time sucking technology is your boundaries around emails and everything at night
BONNIE: Yes, don’t be available to your colleagues, your boss, your co-workers at all hours of the day, set those boundaries yourself, respect those boundaries yourself and then other people will respect them as well.
LILY: And we acknowledge that there is probably some industries and some professions where that just simply can’t be the case but if you have that opportunity and if that is not something you know if you don’t need to make sure you are available at 11 o’clock at night then don’t be sending emails at 11 o’clock at night and also the other thing to keep in mind is if you reply to an email immediately all the time, people will start to just become accustomed to that
BONNIE: That’s the expectation you are setting for them.
LILY: Yeah, so just be mindful of your own boundaries and you know we have talked as well in our like rhythms and routines episodes like maybe you just want to be like okay mornings are when I do emails and then in the afternoon I don’t do emails. You know I do something else, so being mindful of having good rhythm and flow to your day as well as good for important productive workday but then having the boundaries in place to make sure that this is when I start and this is when I finish.
BONNIE: Yes and I think on that note of the rhythms and routines giving yourself that balance of activities that are doing as well as being, so we talk about them being internal or external so if you are working hard and you are getting a whole lot of stuff done in, like internal stuff, sitting at a desk type work, have a break, have a drink or water, go the toilet walk around the house, do some pull ups, some stretches
LILY: Oh yeah just throw out 10 pull ups that’s what I do on the rig
BONNIE: No I am serious because I remember listening to this podcast yonks ago about a guy who was a personal trainer or something and he just said, every chance I get cause I work at a desk all day I stop and I will do 10 squats or I will do 5 star jumps or something and he says it is just really good to get your blood flowing again, it is really good for your metabolism, your heart rate all that sort of stuff. So the micro exercise is actually a really popular thing for office workers to get up and get moving.
LILY: Can you do 10 pull ups.
BONNIE: I can’t do one
LILY: I know that’s the point
BONNIE: Ohhh, thanks for just pointing out the things I need to work on
LILY: Hey Bonnie, I can’t do a pull up either don’t worry
BONNIE: Oh well something to work on
LILY: They are so hard, even when I was like super-duper fit, I was like Mm mm, you get so close and you are just like
BONNIE: I did get to the point when I was cross fitting about 10 years ago that I could do like 5 and that was a pretty special moment
LILY: What without a band
BONNIE: Yeah yep
LILY: Oh my gosh we are digressing but I am fascinated, tell me more about that after
BONNIE: Don’t worry I will get back there one day, I have plans
LILY: Lets take a break for a clutter confession
WACKY CONFESSIONS ANONYMOUS CALLER 1: My clutter confession is a small metal T-Rex scull named Tyra that I have had for about 5 years now, it’s a she, she started off as a joke between housemates, we would decorate her with lights or hats for different holidays and then one day when I moved out I found her in my suitcase, one of my housemates had put her in there and it sort of became a running joke in theory where we would pass her around to different people in our friends group but I was never able to let go of her for some reason those cold dead eyes kept bringing me back and so now Tyra has lived on the top shelf of my closet for about 3 years now and I don’t know if I can ever let her go, she is a weird piece of home now.
LILY: Those cold dead eyes.
BONNIE: That is gold, like I just laughed through that entire confession
LILY: That is amazing, I love how they
LILY: Yeah so unique and I love how they, he was saying that him and his housemates use to like dress her up
BONNIE: It sounds like creepy Alice; you know where you were talking about in the previous episode
LILY: Well it sounds like the Tyra was like seasonal affairs, like oh you know it is Christmas or Valentines Day with Alice she was just, she was like Halloween all year round, hiding in closets.
BONNIE: But you know what it is funny how when we are in a situation whether it is with housemates or with our family we do love having those shared jokes together and that is why things like the elf on the shelf at Christmas time are so great for bringing a family together because it is like oh what is the elf being up to this time? And every morning the kids run around and they try and discover what naughty thing has the elf done and those sorts of things can really help bring a family and a home full of people together. It is great
LILY: Oh absolutely and if you have a clutter confession or just something weird wacky and wonderful that you basically have held onto and someone else might be oh that’s really unusual, like a dead eyed T-Rex scull
BONNIE: A metal T-Rex
LILY: Then tell us, everyone would love to hear it, so all you need to do is head to our Facebook page Little Home organised Podcast and send it as an audio file and also if you are super game we keep everything anonymous feel free to send us a picture of the item as well if you think it is something cool that other people might be interested in and we can post it anonymously on our Facebook page as well.
BONNIE: Ok so we are talking about setting up a work space from home and something that a lot of people need to consider when it is not just you working from home now is are your kids distance learning or remote learning from home and are you having to share a space with them or with your spouse who is also working from home. So when you are setting up that work space, do you need to be aware of someone else who needs to share it and if your partner is someone who works in the corporate world for example and you have got a lot of meetings and they have got a lot of meetings you have to schedule and plan your day so that your online meetings or your phone calls aren’t then interrupting their online meetings and their phone calls.
LILY: There are so much coordination and so many people out there right now who are just going oh my goodness my day is bananas.
BONNIE: Yeah and I think it gets to the point where you almost have to really be efficient with your meetings and say look I am only available for meetings in the morning because my husband’s got meetings in the afternoon and we are you know sharing the same space.
LILY: And our band-whip can’t handle it.
BONNIE: Yeah or you live in somewhere like Hong Kong or China or Singapore and you have got a really small apartment and if you have got limited spaces where you can actually work from you have to be really conscious about how you set that space up and how you organise your time because it is not like during a pandemic when you are suppose to be staying at home that you can do down to the local café and work from there.
LILY: No you can’t
BONNIE: You have to, you have to really make it work for you and I think one thing that is really important in that is communication, not only with your spouse and your children and anyone in your family but with your workplace.
LILY: Yeah absolutely
BONNIE: Let them know what the restrictions are at home, let them know what you are kind of dealing with and then they can be more flexible because they know oh she is not available for meetings at this time of day because of this very legitimate reason.
LILY: Now for some of us we are not only sharing our workspaces with our spouses or children, we are actually sharing our workspaces with something else Bonnie, do you know what it is?
BONNIE: Our fur babies
LILY: Maybe some of us are so lucky to have our fur babies inside but some of us are actually sharing it with clutter
BONNIE: Oh yes
LILY: And like my office is actually set up in my storage room or doom
LILY: Which is not exactly relaxing but that is another reason why the headphones are good it takes me away
BONNIE: Take me away…
LILY: So that is something to consider as well as you might be in a position where you are like, oh my house is a reasonable size, oh I have got some rooms and spaces available but I have just got so much stuff, like I have got stuff here, in this room, on this table, in this cupboard and there’s a bed there and I need to convert this room, maybe it is a good opportunity to declutter, I mean Bonnie and I obviously are always looking for opportunities to declutter because we think all of us need to declutter a bit
BONNIE: Well it just makes life so much better, it gives me a great sense of relief afterwards so
LILY: It does and you know that is something to consider as well, is what are you sharing your space with, is it helping your work vibe, but also if you are starting to feel like you have being surrounded by stuff, it you are in a position to do something about it, maybe it is time to do it, if like if not now, when
BONNIE: That is a really good point and I think a lot of people have been forced to stay in their homes during this pandemic and a lot of people are realising that they are not quite the sanctuary they were looking for and especially when it comes to working, maybe going to work actually use to your escape from the clutter and now you are forced to deal with it so what better time than this to actually start with setting up a work space that is clutter free, that you actually really love going into.
LILY: Yes enjoy going into work.
BONNIE: The other thing to consider when you are setting up your workspace from home is how are you going to organise your time. We have already talked about some ideas for organising your space but when you are organising your time especially if you have got you know your spouse or your other family members that you have to be considerate around, if you use to commute to work and you had an hours drive or a train trip or a bike ride or whatever it might have been, spend that time now doing something productive, like go for a walk with your spouse or with your kids. Do some exercise. Get active because I am finding with talking to a lot of people that that when they are spending that normal commute time with their family doing exercise their family life is much better, their relationships are much better they are feeling much healthier as people as well, um and then that translates into better decisions throughout the day of eating better food, drinking more water, going to bed at more reasonable times and getting better quality of sleep. So I think if you use to commute and you don’t have to at the moment, make sure that you use that time wisely for something that is going to actually promote health and wellbeing.
LILY: Yeah it is like oh I have got another hour up my sleeve, how can I use this time am I going to spend it on Facebook or am I going to spend it on doing something that you know makes me actually feel like really good and maybe Facebook does that for you but I don’t know but I like scroll through it and I get to the end of it and I was like where did the time go and what did I even learn.
BONNIE: I know it is such a waste of time but realistically life is all about relationships right and that connectedness and so if you are spending that commute time connecting with your family, schedule other times during the day or the week to connect with your co-workers and your colleagues. So I have heard of heaps of people and we have even done this at Little Miss Organised, have virtual wine time where everybody is at home, they get their device, they have got their class of wine and you just all have a big online meeting and it is just a chat session. You know have lunch with your colleague – virtually
LILY: I love that idea, it is like at 12 o’clock I take a break from what I am doing and I check in with Jane and we have and we catch up on our workday and just life and it is just brings a sense of normalcy but it also brings a rhythm to your day which is important.
BONNIE: And you know when I was teaching in distance education many moons ago there were some colleagues that we would go for a walk at lunchtime and it was a great way to get out of the office, get moving, um debrief and chat about the day. You can still do that, if you are allowed to exercise in your area do that with a colleague, have them on your headphones or your ear buds or whatever it is that you use both go for a work at the same time and chat about what is going on in your day, work wise or personal wise so that you can still have that connection time just like you use to when you actually worked in an office physically together.
LILY: So maybe you are at home and you are thinking all right I have to work from home now what do I actually need to do in my workspace at my desk, what are some considerations I need to make to organise it. Well luckily for you, you are listening to an organising Podcast
BONNIE: And we are the experts on the matter
LILY: So Bon what are some things that you are working with people, what do you say to them?
BONNIE: So when you are setting up your workspace from home um one of the things, key things to remember is the prime real estate analogy and we use this in lots of areas of the house because it is just an essential idea, so if you are setting up your desk for example um you need to make sure that whatever stationary you need access to, that that is in the prime spot so if you have got a desk draw, that is your prime real estate, don’t put the stuff that you need to use 5 times a day in the bottom at the back of some draw or some cupboard. Everything that you need to use the most often needs to be the most accessible so think about that prime real estate type analogy
LILY: The other thing to consider is when you are, lets say you had a desk that was in your garage and you pulled it into the spare room to set up this office space and it was filled with stuff, don’t just go throw your laptop on top and start working, like set it up properly from
BONNIE: Add to the pile
LILY: Yeah, like open up those draws and look at the items inside and make sure that what is in there is actually appropriate to work and in an office. So you
BONNIE: Start afresh
LILY: Yeah and we talk about zoning a lot as well, so you have to have the appropriate zones in different parts of your house so you want to go through all that stuff and you want to take out everything that is not actually to do with work and you know put it in its appropriate home and then create the appropriate zones within that office desk.
BONNIE: Yeah I think starting afresh that spring clean feeling it really does make you feel um better about things so taking everything out, giving everything a clean, a wipe over, a vacuum it will make you feel better because
LILY: In Australia, it is spring
BONNIE: It is spring
LILY: Which you know what that means, magpies.
LILY: No like everybody gives magpies such a bad wrap and for all the internationals out there, yes magpies really in most cases deserve the wrap that they get, they are vicious predators
BONNIE: but they are not that bad. I have had so many people say to me, Australia sounds so scary and dangerous all the creatures you have we are never coming there.
LILY: I mean we have a blossoming population so
BONNIE: Well obviously there is something going well for us here
LILY: We are managing to survive these animals.
BONNIE: Yeah that’s right.
LILY: Um but I actually have some lovely magpies near my house that have been fed over many years, I don’t know what they were fed and I don’t want to get into the ethics of feeding birds but the good thing about it is that these birds are so friendly and then there will be whole do you say flock
LILY: Yeah again I don’t trust myself anymore
BONNIE: No, you shouldn’t
LILY: There will be whole flock of a fleet of birds, a fleet of ships I know that one. There is a whole bunch of birds
BONNIE: Bunch of birds
LILY: And they just like hang around on the ground and they will just come up to you as you are walking past and kind of being like hello, and you know
BONNIE: Are they friends with the butcher birds and keep their raw meat in your pegs
LILY: Oh my gosh, I don’t think I have mentioned that on this Podcast yet and we are totally digressing but it is a story worth telling, so bear with me, a few weeks ago I walked out to the clothesline and I took a peg off the line and felt something sticky on my fingers and I looked down and it looked like raw meat, and I was like what is that? And I looked at the peg and there was a big chunk of red meat in it.
BONNIE: So gross
LILY: And I was like ohh and then I looked up and the meat had dropped all over my clothes and I was like there is meat on my clothes, what that is so weird
BONNIE: Who threw up meat on my clean washing
LILY: I just thought, I was like all right I will rewash it. Ok a couple of days later hang out the washing again because I mean first time mum so much washing, and I had hung up the nappies and I went out and I kind of forgotten about this and I grabbed it and I just straight on grabbed big chunk of meat that had landed in the peg and then there was another one in the nappy and then a butcherbird flew down which kind of looks like a magpie for those who aren’t familiar, landed on the clothes line because we have some in the trees near our house and was just kind of like oh you found my meat for my babies, and I was like oh you put your babies meat on my washing
BONNIE: Thank you
LILY: It was so gross and for a few weeks they just kept storing their meat in the wedges of the pegs, it was so disgusting
BONNIE: It is like seriously the grosses thing I have ever heard
LILY: Oh it was I don’t know how unsanitary it was but it is so interesting as well because it is super primal for them, digressing even further they put them into the wedges of trees.
BONNIE: Oh that’s why they store it
LILY: So that is why they were doing it on our line.
BONNIE: They are so organised, they have a cupboard for their meat. Go you butcher birds. Ok so seriously getting back on topic, not sure how we got onto magpies and butcherbirds, oh spring cleaning, that’s right
BONNIE: So if you give your desk a spring clean the butcherbirds will not come and store their meat in it.
LILY: We hope
BONNIE: OK so the last tip that we have for you is that you need to be flexible and you need to review and adjust what is going on with your workspace. So that means at the end of your first day, the end of your first week, the end of your first month, look back and think what has worked well about this space, what has not worked well. It is actually really surprising the amount of times I have met a client who has just forgotten that something doesn’t work as efficiently as it could and they can’t take a step back to go oh I don’t know why I keep putting the stapler way over there it should actually live right here and I have just adapted to the fact that it is so far away even though it is so irritating to have to reach so far to get it. So take a step back, review what is in the wrong place, what needs to be closer, what needs to be further away and then make those adjustments because then it will make your space more efficient, you will like being there more and your boss will thank you because you are more productive.
LILY: And I guess it must be time for this week’s tidy task
BONNIE: Yes so if you have got a work space set up all ready your tidy task is to review, what is going on, is it working, what’s not working, what adjustments do you need to make and if you are yet to set up your working space from home take all the things that we have talked about during this episode, apply them, give yourself a spring clean when you are setting up your new desk or dining table or laptop, whatever it is, make sure that you start afresh. You start with intention and you can organise that working space so that you can create a happy work life balance and at the end of the day you can just close work off and go about your merry way.
LILY: Speaking of work life balance, decluttering your home is important to help you take back control of your house, what have we got upcoming to help with that I wonder.
BONNIE: Mmmm I believe we have a free webinar, declutter your home in 7 days, October 6that 8pm Australian Eastern standard time and if you would like to register head to littlehomeorganised.com.au/webinar
LILY: And that is it for this week’s episode. Thank you so much everyone for tunning in, we know how busy life can be and really appreciate you guys lending us your ears.
BONNIE: And remember PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.
LILY: See you later
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