Welcome to another Scriptorium team Q&A or #AskScriptoriumAnything. We "work from home" which most people assume means that we are working in our pyjamas. But having a home office means really different things to each of us. We have different challenges as we juggle our home and work life while trying to maintain balance and professionalism. Short answer: We don't usually work in our PJs.
I realize I could work anywhere with a reasonable chair and a surface where I could plonk my laptop—but I need more. Aesthetics matter to me. For far too long I worked at my kitchen table or wandered around the house with my laptop, but a couple years ago I committed a room to a proper office. I am fortunate in having a good friend and interior designer next door. She helped me transform my guest room by pulling together things that I had (a standing desk, art, and too many typewriters) and adding a few more office pieces without breaking my budget. The result is the prettiest office—although I am going to paint it a deep peacock blue this fall because I can’t resist bold colour. Having a proper workspace helps me to define my workday better. And it gives me a place to pile up all my paper.
That being said, there are times when I just can’t sit and I am feeling trapped behind my desk. Sometimes this is fixed by lounging on the couch with my laptop, a blanket, and a cat or three. I putter away in a more comfortable position. Sometimes I need to pause and go for a walk or move, take a break from the screen, and just…think…
I miss the camaraderie of a formal office sometimes, but not enough to give up my own space—at least for now. And just as a warning, I can be downright smug about my 30 second commute up the stairs from my kitchen to my office especially during a snow storm, so probably best not to ask about that.
My workspace is a state of mind rather than a specific place. It is a conscious choice to be in a work frame of mind and to ignore distractions. Much harder said then done.
It would be easier to go to a workplace and have the acts of preparing and driving to a job to transition your brain into work mode. It took years to be able to slide quickly and effectively from one head space to another. It is the greatest challenge of the young writers we have hired, to carve out the work brain space and close the mental door to distractions. It is easier to let throwing in one load of laundry, checking out that online article or making a to-do list, get in the way of working.
The place could be the comfy chair at the far end of my kitchen, the table in the lobby at the hockey rink where my kids are practicing, or even in a desk at a client’s office. Physically, all I need is my trusty laptop. Mentally it is shutting the door to distractions and sinking into the task at hand.
I don’t have an office; I have a hub. Our realtor laughed when we first viewed our house. Standing in the open-concept space looking at the large dining room with a miniature spoon collection hanging on the wall and a twelve-piece oak dining room suite, I said, “this would be the perfect library!”
The once formal dining room is now lined with bookshelves filled with books of all genres and memorabilia that has more personal than monetary value. My husband refinished a writing desk for my birthday several years ago, and it sits in front of the picture window overlooking a big chunk of our small acreage. This home-based library serves as my writing hub. So where do I work?
You get the idea. I can work anywhere thanks to technology. Try chaining me to a traditional workspace and my creativity, efficiency, health (migraines), and – I admit it – mood all suffer. I am not the only one who benefits from my multiple workspaces either. By embracing this benefit of the digital age, I offer my clients flexibility with their busy schedules and a cost-efficient solution to paying travel and another in-house employee.
#AskScriptoriumAnything Once in a while, we’re each going to answer the same question from our own perspective, experience, and interests so you can get to know more about us and what we do. Have a question for us? Send it via our social media or email.