We’ve eliminated our home office in favor of a more flexible arrangement that allows us to work efficiently from anywhere. Today we’re talking through the motivation behind the decision and the new setup that we’ve been loving so far!
The variability of our work has always been a refreshing aspect of this career. One day, we’re hunkered down in front of our laptops, writing, editing and emailing all day. The next day, we’re in our work clothes, covered in sawdust and barely even cracking open our computers. Over the course of 2020, we found ourselves wondering if we still needed our dedicated office space (below) when we only spent a day or two each week fully utilizing it. The answer? Probably not!
The thought of transforming the space into one that our whole family could use grabbed us and didn’t let go, so here we are! Our massive table-turned-desk as well as the rolling chairs and filing cabinets that went along with it have all found a new home, and now we’ve got ourselves a blank slate.
WFH = WFAnywhere
For us, working from home has always meant working from almost anywhere in our home. Even when we had a dedicated office, Kim and I found ourselves working from the living room, dining room, backyard, front porch and even the kitchen island on occasion – often to escape the feeling of being tied to the office. And now that the office is gone, we haven’t missed it once! Now, our ‘office days’ generally begin and end at the dining room table, but could find us working from anywhere that feels inspiring and productive.
The location of our dining room is the physical the center of the home, which makes it the perfect place to setup for a day’s work. Like a lot of dining rooms, ours is on the first floor and sits between the living room and kitchen. This gives us direct access to the best A/V system in the home to keep the music flowing throughout the day. Our laptops are also able to mirror to the television if we need a larger, more collaborative display.
On the opposite end of the first floor, we’re directly adjacent to the kitchen, which allows for frequent coffee fill-ups, easy pick-me-up snacks and quick lunch breaks. Catfish’s treats are also nearby. She gets lots – lots! – of treats, naturally. It sounds ridiculous, but not having to walk down a flight of stairs and to the back of the house to top off coffee is… luxurious? As an added bonus, we’re much closer to the front door, which means accepting packages or answering the occasional doorbell is that much easier.
The Floating Office (aka the Floffice)
While we’ve bid farewell to the formal office, we do need a place to stash the office-y things associated with being productive. We shredded all the old files we no longer needed or have digitally (which was most of them!), and we better organized our kitchen ‘junk drawer’ to hold pens, post-it notes, tape, a measuring tape and all the miscellany used throughout a work day. And the dining room fauxdenza that formerly held our candles, vases and decor items has been shifted to perform floating office storage duty! A couple of bins and baskets hold our laptops, chargers and doo-dads.
We still need to print things occasionally, so we purchased this REALLY compact printer that fits perfectly inside. (Can’t recommend this printer enough!) At the end of the day, we put all of our things away in anticipation of using the dining room table to eat together as a family. The setup is working flawlessly so far and we have zero regrets.
What’s Next for the Former Office?
It’s almost impossible to believe, but Lucy turned 3 this week! She’s growing like a weed, and she’s at an age where she could use a bit more room to move and burn off energy. The former office will shift to be a fun, playful space where she can be her silly self. We’re working toward a final design that will include a dedicated art space, a cute play kitchen, a cozy chair, and of course a lot of plants and soft surfaces to keep the space bright, open, and flexible. Until then, the former office looks like this:
It feels so freeing to lift the rules we’d once set in place for this house. Now, we’re watching the dominoes fall as each space shifts to meet the needs of our growing family, and we’re remembering to use – and love – every inch of our home.
Love that you’re evolving your home to suit your current needs! Question – is Lucy in childcare somewhere else during the day or at home with you? I’m expecting baby #2 and my current office/guest room needs to become a kids bedroom so I’m trying to figure out where to “office,” but it’s challenging given that our son is home with us all day (for now at least).
3-4 days a week, Lucy goes to her nanny’s house. It’s just her and her nanny’s 3-year-old, and our two families have been quarantining since March.
Do you have a dining space? Or a kitchen island? If so, is there a cupboard you can empty nearby for your office supplies?
Obviously you know your family’s needs best, but if you already have 1 kids bedroom and need a quiet space to work with less interruption, I would suggest considering bunking your kids together and keeping your office! At least for now, during this time where childcare/school is a bit of a mess for many of us, it might be worth it to hold on to your office space and spread the kids out later if you want to. I’ve always had my kids share a room and it has worked well so far (they are 6 and 3 now). Food for thought, from a fellow parent who definitely can’t work well in shared spaces with kids :)
Yes, that’s an awesome tip. I shared a room with my sister until I was in high school!
Ooh I am very open to this idea! I shared a room with my sister growing up. Did yours start sharing when one was a baby? Any tips for getting both a toddler and a baby to sleep well in the same room??
I think what makes your arrangement work so well is the flexibility to move and stretch and work from different parts of the home inside and out. A friend of mine developed some terrible back pain working from a dining chair at his dining table because he’d be there for hours every day. Of course, moving around is probably good advice for all of us.
It’s so true!
I really appreciate that you continue to re-evaluate how to best use every inch of your house. So critical in a small house and definitely necessary when everyone is home so much.
Absolutely! We think that as our needs change, it only makes sense for our home to change with them.
THANK YOU for the printer recommendation! I’ve been looking for something just like that–small, attractive, with no-frills (that actually works, obviously! haha) The internet is full of so many conflicting printer reviews, it’s so confusing! Just an FYI that the amazon link you guys use only has 3rd party sellers and the prices on there are kinda bonkers. I got it for around $100 on Best Buy…wish I had been able to buy through an affiliate link for you guys. (Maybe you guys should do a standalone printer review? I bet that would do really well and be very helpful to people!)
Oooh good to know! I’ll update the link. It’s such a cute little thing. We are amazed at how fast it is (and we can print from our phone!!), we almost couldn’t believe it the first few times we used it.
I bought the same printer a year ago for about that price from Best Buy, and it’s a champ: basic black ink, fast, compact, does the job. No unneeded bells and whistles.
MOOD BOARD! MOOD BOARD! MOOD BOARD! But for real…I’d love to see what your vision is for this space! I think a lot of us parents would love to see how you incorporate a living room with a play room that’s cute and functional. So fun to have yet another family friendly place in your cozy home. :)
We’re going to be using a LOT of what we already have! You know I’ll be sharing!
Especially in the winter, our house works hard as a play space (3 and 2 year olds). Our favorite is jumping all over the furniture and making obstacle courses. We love our Nugget Comfort and use it all the time. I could see it looking beautiful in your space!
I like that you can reevaluate what works best for you. And in the future, if it’s no longer working, you can change it up again! I love flexibility, the ability to change to make your space work for you now. I think a lot of people, right now, need a separate space for work in the home. In a year or two? It could totally change. We’ll see.
I love this! It’s funny… I have been sending my husband pictures of your office area lately. We are attempting to do similar where our dining room lives in our little teeny house. These organization tips have my wheels spinning. I’m about to get to moving stuff around! As always, thanks for sharing ♥️
So appreciate you discussing the realities and evolving needs of the family! We have a dedicated play space in our home and I was wondering how you were operating without one! But I can already see how in X years the play space will become obsolete as kids want to move into their rooms more. Strange to think how dynamic homes really are.
Did I miss the Hemnes shoe storage cabinet DIY makeover? I could swear I saw in your stories that it would be on today’s post.
Never mind! I found the Hemnes DIY on another post the you liked so I had Yellow Brick Home in my head! Sorry about that…
Haha no worries! Was it @ourhideawayhome?