It’s not a shocker that many of us initially struggled with working from home. There were lots of things about it that went against the grain. In my case, possibly the most egregious, was being deprived of my 20 minute subway commute, the perfect amount of time to read the first section of the newspaper every morning and adjust my brain.
What made it even worse, was the zooming and skyping and facetiming. We are expected to look totally put together, serene, and appropriately dressed for everything from a cocktail party to the board room on the computer screen. It’s a huge faux pas to have any household reality; the pets howling, one’s children screeching, your sweatsuit being on its fourth day of wear, being remotely discernable on this carefully curated stage set.
On our first zoom get together, one of my besties said I looked like I was being held hostage in a closet. I ordered a good ring light and vowed to at least put on some lipstick and mascara in the future.
Obviously, your WFH space is not just about how it looks on screen. If you are used to working in an office, it’s important to take the time to design your new daily environment in a way that makes YOU happy (or at least doesn’t contribute to your misery)
For me, this means surrounding myself with things that have meaning to me, and lots and lots of plants. It’s as close as I can get to working in a garden during the New York City winter. Of course it’s necessary to round up all the plants for a good watering in the bathtub a few times a month, but it’s definitely worth it.
My friend (and wedding client) Nate Berkus is a brilliant interior designer who has written several books. My favorite book of his by far is The Things That Matter; his mantra is that our homes ( and now our wfh spaces) tell our stories, surrounding ourselves with things that remind us of people we’ve loved and places we’ve been is the best design advice of all.
My little desk and bookshelves are lined with books I really use, pieces from favorite parties, food magazines and quirky things I’ve picked up planning parties around the world. It’s lit well now after many attempts (a boon for my plants as well as my zooms) and, while I do miss my commute a bit, it’s my own little lovely space to create from and it makes me happy.