With it coming up to almost a full year in various shades of lockdown, a lot of us have been working from home for the best part of a year. Whether you’ve been working from your kitchen table, bed, or if you have a desk set up, we’ve all had to be a bit creative with our working and living spaces this year. It’s certainly been a change, but we all spend so much money and time on keeping our homes in shape and a place that we want to be, that working from home is giving a lot of us the chance to truly enjoy this space again. However as we find ourselves getting up on Monday morning for work, only to roll out of bed into the space we’ve been relaxing all weekend, it can be quite tough to be mentally prepared.
We have collated a few of the best items you can buy to improve your home working situation – and get you looking forward to ‘heading to the office’.
As we all know, the best way to kick off the day would be a nice strong cup of coffee. Since we are so used to working in offices, a lot of us don’t have a fancy coffee kit at home, but 2020 changed that. When the best things to break up your workday at home are coffee breaks, why not make that coffee as good as it can be.
We spoke to Baristocracy Coffee and got their top tips for getting the best beans in at home. While we might not all have access to a bean to cup coffee machine, Baristocracy Coffee can supply freshly roasted beans ground ready for your cafetiere or for espresso machines. Kate and Alex use a supermarket cafetiere for their coffees in the morning, so use filter ground beans. You really don’t need to spend a lot on equipment to get a reliably delicious coffee. If you’re unsure which beans to choose, Kate recommends the Columbia beans, for a smooth and chocolatey note to your coffee, or she herself drinks the Ethiopia or Kenya beans in the morning – both are fruit-driven and bright, so she suggests these to get you up and kicking ready for a productive day.
Baristocracy has a range of beans to choose from – all roasted locally, and always fresh. You can easily store beans or ground coffee in an airtight container, so why not get a few flavours in and do a taste test, have a few different varieties to try through the day – and make your coffee breaks even better!
Now you’ve got your coffee, time to set the scene. You’ve got your desk – or cleared some space on the kitchen table. You’re going to be spending nearly 8 hours a day in this space, so you need to want to be there. One thing we really found works is getting a candle burning. There are many benefits of having a nice candle lit while you’re cracking on with work – you can choose a fresh and uplifting scent that will help you concentrate, focus, and feel positive. Alternatively a minty or spiced candle can help you feel inspired. Sam at Black Candle Company suggests Sea Salt and Wood Sage, Coffee Mocha, or their Gingerlily and Ylang Ylang for your home working space.
Black Candle Company has a great range of scents for you to try out, and while we are at home so much why not treat yourself. You can choose a scent that will work for your space, and in a beautiful jar, it will look good too. Some top tips from Black Candle Company about caring for your candle include trimming the wick after burning, and they suggest keeping the candle burning for 3 – 4 hours the first time for a good burn throughout. Even better you can use the jar as a pen pot after the candle is finished!
Another easy and attractive addition to your home office should be a houseplant. If you don’t already have these in your house, we really recommend getting some. Naomi at the House of Botanics has a huge selection of plants, and pots too, and they deliver locally. Adding a houseplant to your home working space might be your missing link to nature that will improve productivity and work satisfaction. Plants can make your space feel more relaxed and peaceful while removing toxins from the air and adding a bit of nice bright colour!
Some key tips from Naomi would be to check the light levels in your office space as if it’s not in direct light you might want to look for a plant that thrives in low light areas. You can also remember that House of Botanics also offers cover pots, so you can choose a colour or style that pops in your space. Naomi can also provide care instructions for whichever plant you go for, so you can make sure you look after it while it looks after you. Naomi’s top plant recommendation is the Asplenium Antiquum or Bird’s Nest Fern. With long glossy green fronds, it will look good on any desk, it’s also super easy to look after. Best in bright, indirect light but it will also tolerate shadier areas and it’s fabulous at removing toxins from the air.
OK time to stop procrastinating and get yourself organised. While we do a lot of our work digitally and perform most tasks online, we at HLN can’t live without notebooks and planners. Without the traditional structure of working that a lot of us are used to, planning your time carefully is more important than ever. A planner should encourage you to write down your daily goals, break time down into easy sections, and look fab. We think the Hello Day Spiral Planner has it all – they have a variety of different covers to choose from, and the new 2021 versions have daily pages and a weekly page, to help you plan your time effectively. The Hello Day planner encourages you to focus on key tasks, drink plenty of water, take time to exercise, while also having plenty of space to work out your days’ tasks and accomplishments.
Kirsten at Hello Day really recommends getting a planner in, to help with organisation and to achieve your goals – if you take the time to write your goals down, it helps you commit to them. Take the time in your day to note your tasks down, track them and tick them off when achieved, it feels great!
Planner sorted, what about notebooks and memo pads? Are you a creative note-taker or do you prefer neat and organised writing on a lined pad… Either way, Pith Supply in Berwick-upon-Tweed have you sorted. These guys create creative materials for creative people – with sustainability as a primary consideration. You can get sketchbooks, notebooks, pads and list blocks, in a range of vibrant colours and thick quality paper. You can choose a colour to represent you – bright orange, deep navy blue, calming azur, and select lines, dots, graph, music or blank paper. Andrew of Pith Supply personally uses the bright colours – Blue or Orange, to remind him of happy times. He’s also a bit of a maverick – using the dotted paper! Though having said that so do we – it gives you freedom to think and design. Any of these great products will be an excellent addition to your home office.
Ok, so we’ve worked all morning, had a few cups of coffee, had a chat with our plant, made lots of lists and plans for the week – time to have a lunch break. We have been meaning to get into yoga – and this is the perfect time. You need to take time for yourself, and using your time off at lunch to relax will really help your productivity in the afternoon. YANA Active has a really great new product – the YANA I Pledge Yoga Box. This has all you need to get into yoga at home, from tutorial cards to a microfibre hand towel. They’ve also included a gorgeous set of prompt cards to help you manifest positive thoughts throughout your day – with quotes from female role models such as Maya Angelou.
We think that these treats will really improve your working from home situation, will make you want to get out of bed in the morning to go spend time in your home office!
We are happy to offer a selection of the above goodies for one lucky reader. We have a Spiral Planner from Hello Day, a Bird’s Nest Fern and pot from House of Botanics, two 250g bags of ground beans from Baristocracy Coffee, a gorgeous candle from Black Candle Company, a selection of goodies from Pith Supply AND an I Pledge Yoga box from Yana Active! All posted straight you at home…
Just enter our competition on our Instagram @high_life_north.
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