Serious Office Envy in Age of Remote Working

The working world is scrambling to set up serviceable workspaces from home, repurposing corners of the kitchen table, sharing coffee table space with roommates (or cats), taking over the breakfast bar. The lucky ones have home office space already, or at least a spare corner they can commandeer.

Then there are the designers, many of whom have put amazing thought and creative energy into their home office spaces. Office envy is real, my friends, but don’t hate on the designers. Be inspired.

“More and more people are working from home as companies take precautionary measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” writes Lilly Smith in FastCompany. “But just because we’re practicing social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t virtually pop into some designers’ home offices to see their set-up.

“Designers from Pentagram, Work & Co, Wieden+Kennedy, and more gave us a peek at what they’re working with when they work from home,” Smith continues. “Their spaces are big and small, eclectic and colorful, sparing and minimalist; they have dedicated desks and light-filled mixed-use spaces (with tchotchke-laden bookshelves worth drooling over). May they inspire you to get creative with your space as you spend more time at home.”

Hamish Smyth, the founder of Order and Standards Manual, says the little sunroom off their apartment is the perfect spot for a 1950s Danish desk. The vibe is uncluttered, bright and airy, in a minimal amount of space.

Photo: Julia Hembree/courtesy Order & Standards Manual

Where Smyth’s vibe is minimalist, Pentagram founder Natasha Jen takes a more eclectic, “never liked Marie Kondo anyway” approach.

“It’s a reading room, a nap room, and a hoarding ground,” she tells FastCompany. “It’s eclectic, small but packed with books, artworks, furniture, toys, and useless stuff from around the world I’ve collected over my travels.”

With two people working out of the same small apartment, product designer Adrian Harwood has some sage advice – no matter what kind of space you are working in now.

“Keeping tidy, putting good music on, and good food on the table has been crucial for keeping our home a place we want to be in even when we’re not allowed to leave!” Harwood writes.

So what if designers do live better than rest of us. I know a lot of people right now struggling, mightily, to set up a rhythm and flow from home. Hopefully just knowing that it’s possible, and seeing these beautiful workspaces, will give us a little inspiration.

Stay focused, stay productive and stay well. We don’t really know what the “new norm” will be and for how long, so stay present to the people in front of you and the work to be done. I’ll be doing the same.