What does your ideal workspace look like?

During the past few years I've been working from home. Working from home definitely has it upsides, like:

     

  • Wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt to work
  • Doing the laundry while you answer emails
  • Going to the gym at 10am
  • Going for days on end without touching makeup
  • Taking naps
  •  

As much as I love that, working from home has it's downsides…

     

  • The hazy line between work and home
  • Working 18 hours a day
  • Feeling guilty about not working & not working
  • Wearing sweatpants for days on end
  • Not seeing people for days on end
  • All your friends have avatars
  •  

Looking at this list you can tell I'm probably tired of working at home. For the last two years, I've worked at home, and just yesterday I decided to start looking into office space. Since moving back to San Francisco last week, I was lucky enough that my old job had a few empty cubicles and they were happy to have me around. To tell the truth, after all this time working at home ‘living the dream' it is really, really nice to be sitting in the beige cubicle. People stop by to say hello, I'm wearing a blazer and heels AND make up! Yet, still working for myself, I can come to work at 9:15 and that's ok, except, my boss is a total hard-ass (hehe).

The past few years of working at home, I started to think I was socially retarded, thinking “What happened? I used to be very social.” but the truth is, I was just isolated and probably depressed because of it. Humans are social creatures, and to varying degrees we need each other.

It was also nice to pack up at the end of the day and walk away from my work. Sure, there's a hell of a lot to do around here, but that mental separation allowed me to have a nice evening with my husband picking out dinnerware. We got up this morning really early, had coffee and breakfast, and now I'm here in the cubicle, working…and feeling like I'm really ‘at work.'

Many bloggers blog from home, some in internet cafes, some work ‘at work' a few work in their own offices… it's the dream to be your own boss…so what does your ideal workspace look like? How much care do you put into your work environment?

Image by sabrinaeras / CC BY 2.0

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30 Responses

  1. Rococo Vintage

    As I type this, I’m sitting on the floor, surrounded by shipping supplies, wearing pajama pants, and sporting an ultra-chic unwashed hairdo. Saying that I relate to this post would be an understatement. (I live it.) I also just moved recently, and my desk and desktop computer do not yet have a permanent home… something I need to get handled asap before, ya know, I go even battier than I already am. So I suppose that I intend to put lots of care into my workspace, I’m just not actually there quite yet. xxo

    Reply
  2. Moe

    Oy! Did this post ever speak to me.

    I often joke to people that I’m becoming a borderline Agoraphobe because I spend some much time indoors. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to work from home but lately I’m starting to think I need to put more effort into life outside the home. I’ve always found social situations hard even when I was working in an “outside” job.

    Trying to explain to people what I do now is like speaking Russian. You can tell by the looks on their face that they don’t get it. And frankly, I don’t have the patience to explain to them. Lately I’ve been thinking about a space outside the home office. You are really lucky they had a cubicle for you. I think that would be awesome. Right now, I’m thinking library. I’ve also thought about the possibility of a part time job. Not for the money but for the socialization and getting myself out.

    As for the ideal workspace. I pretty much have it. I’ve worked at various places throughout the house. Most haven’t worked for me. For the last two years I’ve taken over the dining room bit by bit. Literally, the table is now folded up in the corner, I have a desk, bookshelves, exercise ball, (soon to be recumbent bike) etc. To me this is next to the heart of the house and it works. I can work on business and home stuff efficiently from here. It may be sloppy at times but what office isn’t. Problem is, I’m always at work. I’m thinking of a pretty room divider to cut it off from the rest of the house.

    Reply
    • Jennine

      oh my goodness…the lonliness is so sneaky, becuase you don’t feel lonely, but staying at home all the time makes it easy to be a recluse, getting used to it.

      i know what you mean about telling people what you do, it still baffles people when i try to explain. i’ve always wanted a hard to explain job!

      Reply
  3. M

    it’s a fine line, in my case my actual job has a very random schedual since I work for myself so even if my work is not indoors it does allow me a LOT of indoor time, lately I’ve even blogged from mcdonalds -i really really needed the french fries-
    .-= M´s last blog ..The seal is in the air… =-.

    Reply
  4. eyeliah

    all my frienda have avatars (gravatars) too! I am glad you are back in San Fran and exciting that you have a new (old) space to go to. I would like to have my own office, close to home, high in a skyscraper, big window with a view downtown and nowhere near the washrooms or lunchroom either! Oh and a very cute male assistant. 😉 I could also go with middle of the woods, roaring fire and my computer with internet connection.
    .-= eyeliah´s last blog ..Christine =-.

    Reply
  5. Maria

    Oh, boy do I have this problem. I am a naturally shy person to begin with, but the last three years of working at home have made me socially inept. Plus, the more busy I get, the more I have a hard time stepping away from the computer at night. I definitely miss that five o’clock cut off time of having an office. I seriously need to draw a more defined line for myself and for my husband.

    Hopefully in a year, I can maybe rent a little space to work in, so I can actually leave home everyday.

    Ha, no one understands what I do either. 😉

    Reply
  6. Icy @ Individual Chic

    I work 2 days a week in the city and the other 3 at home looking after MissIcy and other things. I have to say I wouldn’t give up my 2 days in the city; I love it. But I do enjoy working from home as well. It does give you a lot of flexibility, which I really appreciate.
    .-= Icy @ Individual Chic´s last blog ..Links a la Mode =-.

    Reply
  7. Bri Emery

    girrrrrrl, man can i relate. the upsides and downsides are oh so confusing. each day i wake up either feeling really lucky, or really gross that I just slept till noon! i work all night, my back hurts, and i meant be whipping up a nice case of carpal tunnel. butttt the naps, and saving money by cooking at home are nice. and the sweatpants, fuzzy and warm and wonderful, BUT they also kind of make me feel like a 60 year old house wife.

    soooo….i think i need a job where i actually speak to real humans, and wake up at a decent hour and you know, get dressed. I AM TOO SOCIAL for this!

    xo, Bri
    D E S I G N L O V E F E S T
    .-= Bri Emery´s last blog .. =-.

    Reply
  8. Retro Chick

    Oh, I feel every word!

    Mr Chick travels for work and I often go with him because otherwise I’d be home alone and not see a single other person for days! This way I see lots of people and it keeps it a bit varied, I’d go insane otherwise.

    I’d love to have a proper office space in my house, but I don’t really have room at the moment.
    .-= Retro Chick´s last blog ..Friday Fair Trade Frock Love =-.

    Reply
  9. tobes

    i only blog at home and i don’t have a job yet nor a phone to do all my bloggin or internet job with

    Reply
  10. Super Kawaii Mama

    Aside from the sweatpants, you really have the one nailed for me! I think the worst ting about working from home and being your own boss is just how hard you work. I been regularly pulling 17 hour days for the last month and it is hard to stop. I’ve had to institue a policy of stop work and wind down time at least an hour before trying to sleep otherwise my brain just doesn’t stop, so no super late night sessions if I can help it.

    That being said though, I have an ideal work space that is both an office and a studio filled with all the things I love and things that inspire me. Having a huge window that overlooks the garden also helps me remember what time of day it is! The downside is that everyone in the house thinks that the studio is fair game as a dumping ground. Grrr.
    I make it a rule to get out and meet with contacts at least once a week if not more, and take the opportunity to have meetings in parks, cafes and even while shopping where possible. 🙂
    .-= Super Kawaii Mama´s last blog ..Gothic Lolita Nail Art =-.

    Reply
  11. Franca

    I completely sympathise! I have the option of occassionally working from home for my proper job, but I rarely do it. I like getting up and ready and properly dressed and having a bit of a chat with people to set me up for the working day.

    I mainly do my blogging from our boxroom, which has my boyfriend’s computer on a desk, my lap top and also doubles as our spare bedroom. I’m pretty happy in it, I can sit on the futon and work on my laptop, the walls are decorated with lots of inspiring things and there’s my boyfriend’s lovely great fishtank if i need to stare at some real life movement for a while. I do wish that room was a bit bigger and had a window, but given that I am not anywhere near being a professional blogger, it’s perfectly fine. What iIwould really really want is a craft room and office space in one, kind of like a studio. We have actually agreed that once (if!) we move to a bigger place we are going to make one of the rooms into a craft room like that – my boyfriend’s into (ship and plane) modelling and sewing so we would both be using it.
    .-= Franca´s last blog ..IFB Links a la Mode =-.

    Reply
  12. Ashling

    I’ve just started working from home the past year and I’m loving it! I’m lucky enough that my job entails me meeting fashion retailers at their offices a few days a week so that gets me out and about and more social. But on days that I have no meetings, I love staying in my sweats at home. This poses a problem when fashion blogging – could I be bothered getting dressed up so I can do a posting on what outfit I’ve recently styled myself or will I just snuggle into the sofa a bit longer with my sweatpants on and no make-up and pull images from the net and blog on those instead?? I usually go for the latter!
    Great post!

    Reply
  13. jel

    oh i so agree with everything you said. Ive been working from home for 3 years now. my workspace is my jewelry studio/office aka an unneeded bedroom in my house. I feel like i spend my whole life in this one room and rarely see the rest of the house. i do everything in here from doing jewelry photoshoots to packing up orders to blogging and making stuff. i really miss the days when i would hop on the subway and go to a real office with a view of the empir state building and work from 9 to 5 only…..but i didnt like having a boss, so this works for me.
    .-= jel´s last blog ..Budget Wedding Ring =-.

    Reply
  14. Julia

    Oh man! This is what I’ll be like after graduating, and I’m already sort of dreading it. I was planning on turning the spare room in my flat into an office/studio, but instead it’s being used as storage space by a friend, so I’ll probably be working from the kitchen table!

    Do you find it easier to motivate yourself when you’re working out of home? I know I would!
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..Ann D Lace-ups DIY =-.

    Reply
  15. Laura Dahl

    I’m count myself as one lucky girl in that my new LA home has a detached studio space in the back. I get the separation from home that I need in order to stay organized and feel balanced but I can still go to work in my painting pants. The detached space doubles as my design studio, so I’m surrounded by the “industry” (the good as well as the ugly) and I find that it helps to feed my inspiration.

    Needless to say, I didn’t have this home-studio set up in NYC so I forked out the cash for a separate office/showroom space. Wow, writing this is making me nostalgic for my daily walk past the neighborhood storefronts and the colorful stop-and-chats with the last-surviving meat packers in the district…being around live people is a very good thing. (Even if their white aprons are splattered with blood.)
    .-= Laura Dahl´s last blog ..Showtime Network | “L”ements of Style =-.

    Reply
  16. Andrea

    Great post! Lately, I’ve been obsessed with creating the perfect work space at home. I purchased a white west elm parson’s desk and a Philippe Starck ghost chair as my starting point, and have been decorating my work area since then. My ideal work space would be removed from the rest of the house, with my stuff only. For now, it’s an extension of our closet/dressing area, but it has plenty of light. Most important, I need an area where I can feel inspired, not distracted. So, accents like beautiful artwork, inspiration tears, photographs, etc, are a must. I love working from home, but often miss the bustle of the office 🙂
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..2010 Oscars Fashion Roundup =-.

    Reply
  17. Madeline Veenstra

    I can completely relate to this! I have just started working from home on Wikifashion and my other company. At first it was really lovely being able to have my own space, work when I wanted to and not have to worry about socialising (I am highly introverted at the best of times). But even I find that I need to get out of the house and meet people a few times a week. Otherwise I think I would go crazy.

    Probably the most exciting part of working for myself has been decorating my office space. It’s still a work in progress. I would love a new chair, a floating white shelf and a vase for pretty flowers. I thought it would be fun to attach a photo of it now-
    .-= Madeline Veenstra´s last blog ..List of 2010 Fashion Events =-.

    Reply
    • Madeline Veenstra

      Oops the link didn’t work 🙂 I completely agree with Super Kawaii Mama, it is really hard to actually stop working for the day. Often I find that after dinner I’ll be back in my office typing away until 12 at night. Although I find my work quite fun, it is very important to try and create a good routine with adequate rest and socialising time.
      .-= Madeline Veenstra´s last blog ..List of 2010 Fashion Events =-.

      Reply
  18. Laura Connell

    Lots of sun coming in makes for an inspiring workspace.
    I also work part-time in fashion retail, which keeps me social, surrounded by other fashion lovers, beautiful clothes, and also helps me keep up with trends.
    .-= Laura Connell´s last blog ..Fashion through the Ages =-.

    Reply
  19. SwanDiamondRose

    nice topic!

    lots of similar feelings. i revel in it and get lost in it. i found myself buying a novel that took place in an office in a skyscraper, because after all these years of not having a “regular” job i was somehow missing an office environment. i miss it! i miss the people. but i do love my online companions and customers. i do love shopping for supplies and in those shops chatting with so many different types of people. some with a lot of attitude and panache about selling their wares, which i LOVE.

    i set up my space to be somewhat uncomfortable actually. desk/chair, pretty simple. but i LOVE my view. that’s my luxury, and i can feel my eyes love it too, focusing far away is so good for a change. i try to close my laptop and pile things on it so i will stop checking my various sites and profiles. i do have a little nap zone. i love naps. but it’s not too comfortable! and it’s too silly to describe, really. i like to get up with the light. haven’t made it to the gym yet in my new city but love some strong coffee, a great shower, and yoga at home as my wake up routine. exercise is so important to me or even my hands start to ache from all the repetitive typing and sewing. and then i put on something nice, casual but nice. doing wardrobe photos helps me be my more dressed up self, and remind me that i can be easy on the eyes. not too sure how healthy that is, but maybe it’s not a big deal to have the online world tell you you look alright.

    and until i get my spring things out, i only socialize once a week. i do get out of my space each day. sometimes it’s just a trip to the post office. but my life has taken on sort of a small town feeling- lazy morning, very localized interaction, getting to know shopkeepers mixed with my cyber-life, i find it really enjoyable.

    ciao.
    .-= SwanDiamondRose´s last blog ..pale yellow & pink & blue & SWANclothing sock garters & me [8] =-.

    Reply
  20. Miss Antique

    About the guilt part: how do we want people to understand us if we are always the first to judge ourselves?

    We should be proud of what we do. And change it if we feel the need 🙂

    I’m not needing yet, but, oh man, it is so hard to explain that your workplace is at home (i have some online business). But see it this way: do you know why people don’t understand us most of the time?

    Because we are pioneers. In the future there will be no bosses (I dream 🙂
    .-= Miss Antique´s last blog ..RED MESSAGE – Set of Vintage Color Pencils =-.

    Reply
  21. Beaut Vintage

    HA HA,
    Your post made me laugh,
    I am currently surround by piles of work relation items
    (such as vintage clothes, Big printer / scanner etc)

    It does make things extremely messy.
    I too find it hard to switch off – I often pull 18 hour days
    and it can be very unforgiving.

    That is, you have to keep (at least) try to keep a schedule.
    It is a tough one 🙂
    .-= Beaut Vintage´s last blog ..1970s Tribal Necklace =-.

    Reply
  22. Camden

    I’ve taken over the study in our house, which I quite like. Nice windows, and I can see both the front and back yard. What I don’t like to sharing the PC with the kids, who tend to mess up my piles of stuff with their own junk!

    I do like that I can get up at 5 and start working right away. But I do that on the weekends as well, which isn’t so great.

    Reply