As the coronavirus pandemic causes offices across North America to shut down, professionals who can work remotely have made the abrupt transition to doing their jobs from their homes.
And they’re getting creative with making it work ― with or without their ergonomic chairs, second monitors and cubicles.
Here are some of the most adaptive, creative home office arrangements HuffPost has seen.
Quotes were condensed for clarity and length.
1. Ironing boards become height-adjustable desks.
“Without a desk at home and being fairly short in stature at 5 feet tall, my kitchen table is way too high to work at comfortably. My ironing board can be set quite low to suit my height, or to stand throughout the day.” ― Debbie Pedersen, insurance worker based in Edmonton, Canada
“I’ve been working at home since March 16. I stand at my work office and was missing that, so had to get creative. It has been wonderful to stand. I’ve got big windows in front of me and can see outside (no windows at work). I have a bench close by for seating as necessary.” ― Jessica Chaloux Hill, human resources professional based in Vermont
2. A master bathroom becomes an office.
“My job is to track incoming donations [for my food bank], which I am lucky enough to be able to do at home, but most of my co-workers are on the front lines and handing out food to people in our area who are in need.
“I have two little boys, ages 5 and 7, who are home right now. My only quiet options were the unfinished basement or the bathroom! I went with the bathroom because it has the most natural light. I have been making phone calls from my closet so it doesn’t sound like I’m making calls from a bathroom! My husband is a truck driver who delivers eggs to grocery stores, so I have to share the bathroom with him when he gets home from work each day. It’s a little crazy but I’m so thankful to be working right now and we’re doing the best we can.” ― Angela Small, gift processor at New Hope Ministries food bank in Pennsylvania
3. Kitchens become all-in-one office spaces.
“My cooking/emptying-the-dishwasher/refilling-my-coffee-cup game has been on point.” ― Rachel Cresci, high school science teacher based in Reno, Nevada
“I started at my little desk, then the dining table, then the dinette and they all were terribly uncomfortable for the length of time I needed to sit and work. I remembered our company president’s standing desk and thought I’d give that a try.” ― Elizabeth Goecke, billing analyst based in Tampa, Florida
4. A dining table becomes an ergonomic office with the help of a wrist rest made from rice and socks.
“Most people were told to work from home, but I don’t have a home office or anywhere to put one. I set this up on my dining room table in order to have a little more ergonomic setup so my neck and back pain and eye strain wouldn’t be quite so bad. It seems to be helping!″ ― Angie Wilbur, supervisory supply systems analyst for the defense logistics agency Disposition Services based out of Battle Creek, Michigan
5. Child-sized desks become adult-sized desks.
“I feel like I am working in the middle of a messy toy store, since I’m sitting next to a huge pile of over 100 stuffed animals. Although it does have benefits, like when I am getting overwhelmed with poor speed due to remotely accessing my work computer, I have many tins of my daughter’s putty I can take my aggression out on.” ― Marie Moreau, senior graphic designer for a memorialization company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
“My husband [who works as a sales manager] has been using our son’s tool bench, [and] he has to ask him at night if he can use it for the next day. With two toddlers and an 8-month old, child-free tables are limited.” ― Kacey S., associate director at Boston nonprofit
6. A homemade fort becomes a workplace oasis from distractions.
“I used my nephews’ fort kit to cordon off my ‘office’ so I can’t get distracted when I see how messy the rest of the house is. Stole the cushions off the couch, grabbed a camp lantern and we’re good to go!” ― Kayla Morin-Riordan, children’s librarian based in New Hampshire
7. Parents get creative with managing their new young co-workers.
“The toddler mattress addition was just circumstance and rolling with the punches. My 2-year-old loves dragging that thing around the house; she fell asleep on my lap while I was working, the mattress was behind my chair so I laid her down on it to nap while I finished up my work day. I brought in the 6-foot folding table a week-and-a-half into simultaneously working from home and my school-aged children’s e-learning. I had been using a small sofa table as a writing desk and needed more space.” ― Molly Lisenko, accounting clerk for a tire and wheel distributor based in South Bend, Indiana
“My husband is working out of our home office, so I had to set up an office in my son’s nursery. I work for the City of Palmetto as an accountant in Palmetto, Florida. My work hours in the office are typically 9 to 5, but as you can imagine, working with a 9-month-old in the house feels like a 24-hour work schedule.” ― Catherine Dublin, accountant based in Palmetto, Florida
“My husband and I both work in the hospitality industry, based in Miami, Florida. I have a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old that have been out of school since March 16. Once we were mandated to work from home, we outfitted our tiny guest room into a makeshift office.
“Kids and/or husband walking in while I’m having video calls and constant interruptions of house life has been an adjustment. However, given the current environment, I’m ever grateful that I still have a job, the ability to work from home and that I’m healthy and that my family is healthy and happy. But once this is over, I will hop, skip and jump back to the office as I do miss the separation and being able to compartmentalize my life.” ― Saskia de Groot, independent contractor for a hotel company
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