WORKING from home (WFH) takes a lot of getting used to. Aside from the schedule adjustments and other things that needed to be considered, one important thing that must also be taken care of is the actual, physical workspace.
In an office set-up, we are provided with desks, computers, corkboards, and all other big or small stuff that we deem necessary and within hand’s reach while we work. Because of the movement restrictions and business operation adjustments, employers had to send their employees back home and to work with them remotely.
Top three things to consider when setting up your WFH set-up/desk is (1) it should be ergonomically sound; (2) all the things you need while multitasking should be within hand’s reach; (3) wires, cables, and other messy and accident-prone items must be properly kept.
We asked Dabawenyos Kim Varona and Aleah Clapano who have done some renovations in their WFH set-up to make it more convenient while working.
1. Why did you decide to set up your own WFH set up? What's your job situation like during the pandemic?
Aleah: I set this up because I know that it will be a good investment since I will be sitting here for hours, and I am using it even in my studies. Having a decent workspace will also contribute to my productivity. Having a proper setup will help me accomplish my tasks on time. The shift from being a student-athlete to a working student was very challenging for me. I didn't adapt quickly to the pandemic's changes. Finding a job during the pandemic was a bit harsh since a lot of establishments closed. Fortunately, we have many sites to apply for jobs online, and I am one of the lucky people who benefited.
Kim: I actually didn’t decide to set up a Work From Home environment. It just came up depending on my needs on a specific timeline or project. For example, if a certain job needs more multi-tasking, I would need another monitor. If a certain job has more meetings I just need a new headset, mic or better camera and so on. During this pandemic, I usually work with multiple clients and projects related to software and I usually sit in my home office for about 12-14 hours starting from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. (including gaming for mental health LOL!).
2. Tell us the story of how you managed to dress up your space. What are your DIY best practices? What did you keep in mind while you were doing this project?
Aleah: I was inspired by my sisters because they started to set up their workspaces. I also wanted a space that I can call mine. Since I don’t have my own bedroom, I decided to set up my own workspace in our living room. I made use of the things around our house. My desk is actually old -- it belonged to my grandfather. My father helped me restore and repaint it since I can’t afford a new table. That really helped me because I saved a lot of money. Setting up your workspace will cost you some money but it will be worth it.
Kim: My place is actually a flood prone area. So dressing up my space was not my top priority before, since every time I tried to set up my work area, flooding would just ruin it. I started to buy furniture like an office desk with bookshelves but just one incident of flooding damaged the table. I was discouraged to exert effort but when my parents decided to transfer to a suburban place, I took over their room and since it is elevated, there are less chances of flooding. I was able to salvage the office desk, added an extension monitor, and decided for a wooden nature theme. I also added another floating table to achieve an L-Shaped Table, I upgraded my monobloc chair to a Walnut Ergonomic Chair, added a noise cancellation headset, ergonomic mouse, added some plants to complete the accent and floating shelves.
The best DIY practice that I can share with you is to always know what you are about to buy. Cheaper is not always better. I always watch hours of reviews before I purchase something. Look where to buy it (usually locally) and if it is not available locally, that’s the time that I will purchase it online. Join groups that talk about work from home office (like Home Buddies and some local pages).
3. When did you start and how long did it take you to finish?
Aleah: I started setting up last May 2021. My setup is not yet 100% done but I have the essentials in WFH already.
Kim: It is a gradual transformation. I started buying stuff three years ago. But I decided to have a permanent setup when the pandemic started. So maybe it is safe to say that this is a pandemic project.
4. How much did you spend?
Aleah: For the PC alone I spent P21,000. I needed to buy a new one because my old laptop was working very slowly. For the designs and other setup accessories, I spent more or less P5,000.
Kim: Estimated around P140,000 including the Macbook Pro and other furniture and accessories.