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Working in the Nest

For some of us Nesting Chicks, the proverbial office water cooler is the through-the-door water dispenser on our home fridge. Conveniently this means you can visit the water cooler in your pajamas as well as your power suit. However, the downside is there’s no one there to chew the fat with you while you try to decide between earl grey and that third cup of coffee, aka nectar of the gods. There’s also no formal transition time from home to work: no train, car, or sidewalk commute. The coffee stop is the Keurig in the kitchen. The newsstand is the paper collected from the end of the driveway. There’s no train ride enabled downtime for your favorite podcast, new book, or mini-nap… no navigation-required or workbag packing- any of those things that help your mind shift from home life to working life and then back again.

At home those transitions must be created. Artificial borders are drawn between home and office. A new kind of work day routine is carved out. Out-of-office interactions are sought out deliberately to keep “outside world” connections fresh and morale high. Work-life boundaries have to be heeded with more careful intention so neither overruns the other. For working moms, the home office gives the freedom to substitute coffee breaks for a timeout for afterschool check-ins with their children- a prized chance to not have to wait until dinner to hear about the schooldays. However, the temptation to go back into work mode post bath and bedtime rituals is perhaps a more slippery slope when the office is just down the stairs.

Whether you work from home full time or just occasionally, creating a functional, comfortable, and inspirational space for working is essential. What you need to make your work space work for you (pun intended) can really vary depending on use, layout, and personal style. For some chicks the home office space may take the form of desk in the kitchen used to organize mail, pay bills, and supervise homework all in-between steps in dinner recipes. For others the home office is more of a reading or writing nook- a sacred space for pursuing a passion, personal or professional. Some chicks share their home offices with partners and children, which calls for further organization and separation- and perhaps some extra patience. Some offices are first floor front and center with nowhere to hide thus making tidiness a must, while others are tucked away, happily hidden from the prying eyes of in-laws, drop-in guests, and the postman. Some nesters are minimalists- just a flat surface of any kind and a lap top- where others need -at a minimum- a 27 inch touch screen monitor and laser printer to function.

Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest differences. The addition of a decorate board to hold reminders over the kitchen workspace to ease desktop clutter or a more aesthetically appealing version of the dorm-door whiteboard to let folks know you are on a work call. Some of my best home office tweaks came from suggestions from friends and coworkers. So Nesting Chicks, I want to hear from you. How do you transition to and from work? What is your home work space like? What about it do you love and what would you love to change?