From a spare bedroom and a nook under the stairs, to a backyard shed or a repurposed dining table, the millions around the world who are new to working remotely are having to reassess their living quarters to make room for a viable work surface.
The scene we glimpse on video calls is just a sliver of the action. In reality, most home offices are less picture-perfect, despite what design catalogs or enviable vignettes on Instagram suggest. Cropped out of frame are the tangles of wires and extension cords, baskets of laundry to be folded, and growing pile of homeschooling paraphernalia kids accumulate. Things get especially tricky when several family members share a small space and one internet connection.
Designers recommend installing curtains, floor screens, doors, or even working in a closet to delineate a barrier from the rest of our lives. But by virtue of its location, personal matters always tend to show up unannounced. Working at home is essentially like working in the most extreme open plan office—prone to the cacophony and clutter we once complained about when we were actually sitting at a proper desk in the office.