Working from home - a photograph of a home office set-up.
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Working from home

I’m always being asked how I manage to work from home without a) murdering anyone, and b) becoming a social recluse. To be fair, I’m a bit of a hermit anyway, although I’m sure friends from my youth would disagree! I believe that we ‘grow’ into our personalities over time, and being middle-aged for me means I’m confident enough to allow my personality to become more fluid. Anyway, I digress (how’d that happen?). What I want to say is that you can work from home effectively (and without murdering anyone), with a little planning.

Working from home tips - a photograph of a home office with a basic wooden chair. The chair does not look comfortable!
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Get a comfy chair

The chair in this insta-worthy photo looks pretty cool, but there’s no way it’ll support anyone’s ass or back for longer than a hot minute. Get the biggest, comfiest chair you can afford. I have an Ergohuman elite chair with integrated footrest and laptop arm, although I don’t use the laptop arm much. The almost £1k pricetag is actually priceless to me as I have cervical spondylosis, but everyone who’s tried my chair out has said it’s worth the investment.

Working from home - a photo of a white desk with a keyboard, clipboard, and various other office items on top.
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Don't scrimp on desk space

It’s easy to walk around Ikea and see cramped spaces looking swish but it’s another to take home a tiny desk only to find you can’t fit anything on it. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got space for all your kit, and that includes coffee/tea, mouse and associated accessories like wrist rests etc. If you’re like me and eat at your desk (must get out of that habit), then you’ll need somewhere to catch your crumbs.

Working from home tips - a photograph of a home office with the door slightly ajar.
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Learn to close the door

This tip is two-fold; learn to close the door to your home office at the end of the working day. Shut everything down and don’t be tempted to “just answer this one email”. When you’ve done, you’ve done. The second part to this tip is to close everyone else out. Don’t get dragged into a family dispute or get sick to death of hearing the doorbell go. Close the door. Close them all out. I know I make this sound simple when it rarely is, but just try to be a bit firmer, you might surprise yourself!

What else does a home office need?

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Storage

If you’re working with papers and files (not the digital sort), you’ll need somewhere to store them securely. I like this stylish and lockable filing cabinet by Dripex. If you need storage without the security, take a look at these eco-friendly bamboo paper trays.

Security

Install some form of security in and around your home office. I lock all my valuables, such as my laptop, away at the end of the day. You can easily install CCTV cameras that connect to your smartphone to monitor your office (inside or outdoors), and they’re pretty cheap these days. I like this security camera from Amazon.

Decent broadband

My office has super-fast fibre installed but I’d noticed that as we added more devices to the network, some were dropping out and others couldn’t even get online at all. I knew it was an issue with how many devices were online so I invested in a Deco Mesh E4 system after seeing it on a friend’s Facebook post (thanks, Ziggy). It covers the whole house (and extensive garden) with lovely WiFi and I can’t recommend it enough!

Lighting

Everyone’s Zooming this year and there’s nothing worse than hearing, “ooh, isn’t it dark where you are” or, “put another 50p in the meter will you”. I have a lot of client Zoom meetings so I bought this 10-inch ring light which has 3 different light settings and is dimmable – it comes with a tripod and phone holder too.

Read more on middle age beauty & health

The middle age beauty shop

Get sassy and show off with my body-positive, feminist clothing and accessories. Take your pick from gender-neutral t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, gifts and more.

Building my fempire hoody
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Fempire strikes back - feminist tshirt
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Feminist hoody
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Feminist hoodie - not your secretary jumper
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