Where to work when you work from home

So as you all know, we’re expecting a baby around here. The only bad thing about the prospect of bringing home that shiny new addition to our family is that my home office is going to have go bye-bye. The Room Currently Known as My Office is going to become a nursery. That causes some problems, of course, seeing as how I work from home.

We’ve got a couple of possibilities we could explore. We could move my office equipment into the computer nook that is built into a corner of our upstairs play room. We could turn our guest room into an office. Or we could make a small office in our (pretty much unused) living room downstairs.

There are downsides to all of those options, of course. Let’s look at the situations:

First, the play room. The play room is my son’s domain. It is full of Legoes, Thomas the Tank Engine gear, dress-up clothes, Fisher-Price Little People sets, Star Wars figures and Lord knows what else. It would be hard for me to interview people by phone with him clanking around four feet away, especially if he’s trying to watch a vitally important episode of “SuperWhy!” or “Dinosaur Train.” I could tune him out while I’m writing, but I’m worried about him pestering me or being noisy when I’m on the phone. I can’t exactly shut him out of his own play room, you know?

Secondly, the guest room. I am the proud owner of my great-grandmother’s beautiful antique bedroom furniture, which currently resides in our guest room. It is by far the nicest–and the most nicely furnished–room in our house.  We do not have anywhere to store the furniture, and I am certainly not willing to get rid of it. There is no room in the guest room for any additional furniture, like a computer station, either.

Thirdly, the living room. We have a mostly unfurnished small living room at the front of our house. We want to eventually buy a love seat and a nice chair and coffee table for it, but we just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. So it houses a set of bookshelves and my son’s Geotrax train set right now. It does not have its own door, so there is no way to shut the room off from the rest of the house. Anyone entering the house could immediately see all the mess that is going to be a part of any home office that I ever have (I’m a realist about myself). And there’ s no way to have a private phone conversation in there, either.

So what should I do?

The strategy that I’m currently thinking of entails moving all my existing office stuff into the computer corner in the play room anyway. There’s room for the desktop computer, monitor, fax machine/printer, files, etc. I’d use that as a primary work station. BUT a good friend has offered a pretty little writing desk to me for next to nothing. I think I could install that downstairs in the living room, and I could set up my laptop and the portable phone down there for interviews during the times when my son is at home. That way, I can let my son stay upstairs in the playroom (with the door shut) while I conduct phone interviews downstairs. I can email the files to myself. Then I can go upstairs when I’m done and print them out or use them at the playroom work station. Like I said earlier, I can usually block out most of the noise from my son when I’m writing, unless he’s really bellowing or something. Or I can write in there when he’s at school or in bed.

It’s not ideal, but I can’t really think of anything better to do. Thoughts?


About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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