Coronavirus prompts rise in creative DIY offices as workers opt to stay at home

Despite being encouraged to return to the office after the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, many workers are opting to stay at home and have come up with creative and innovative DIY workspace ideas.

Working from home can lead to problems separating work and home life, with the size of the house or flat playing a significant part in how successful this approach can be.

The BBC asked for readers’ most unusual work-from-home set ups, with surprising and enterprising results.

Kane Fulton from Yorkshire shared his novel way to combine staying in shape with staying at home by converting a large walk-in wardrobe and using an exercise bike instead of an office chair.

He said he begins his working day with a virtual 40km cycle on his bike/desk chair, and said that while “it’s not the most elegant set-up, it works”.

With a similar vein of thought – that it’s not a great idea to stay sitting still for long periods of time – others have opted for ‘standing up’ set-ups.

Ellis Hillman told the BBC she had repurposed an ironing board, while Cat Divers built her desk out of cardboard boxes completed with a monitor she found in the street.

TREE OFFICE: Combining work with environmental protest. CREDIT: Steve Masters

A Green Party councillor, Steve Masters combined his environmental activities with his working life by building a tree house office so that he can carry out his duties while opposing the building of a HS2 high-speed rail link through Jones’ Hill Wood in Buckinghamshire.

His laptop is tethered to his mobile phone, charged using a solar-powered portable power station.

La Vaca Coworking has put together four steps to working from home efficiently.

The first is to ‘separate and delimit your work space’ – allocate proper space that is dedicated solely to work.

The Barcelona-based organisation points out that a comfortable office chair is just as important as a good laptop.

With this in mind, it’s advisable to avoid long periods of sitting in front of a computer, and you ‘need to change your position frequently’.

You might want to look at standing desks and sofas to find ‘a balance and alternation’.

Secondly, pay attention to time management.

Schedule your agenda, specifying your working times, coffee breaks, lunch break, personal activities and try to stick to it as much as possible.

You can use a time tracker app, or adopt the Pomodoro Method which involves creating 25 minute slots in which tasks are completed without any sort of distraction, such as social media or the fridge.

And you should always practice some stretching and sports during the day.

Being part of a team is important motivationally among other things, so its a good idea to maintain good communication with colleagues.

This can be done by creating virtual workspaces and maintaining weekly meetings via video conference.

Though it’s tempting to spend the day in your pyjamas, it’s crucial to get dressed to stay productive. It’s about keeping a morning routine and structuring your day.

“If you do not structure your time properly, working from home can quickly become overwhelming and depressing but if you are serious enough it can also be very comfortable and satisfying.”

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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