Working at Home: Why Work Nooks Are Great & How to Make Them

shabby chic home office

(image: Maria Ronna Luna Pastorizo-Sekiguchi)

When you work from home, your whole home can be your office. Why not create some little work nook corners for short-term tasks?


For most folks, work is all about routine. Same desk, same position, same lighting, same tasks. It’s a tough grind for a lot of office workers and it takes a toll through repetitive strain injuries.

Variety, they say, is the spice of life, but when it comes to your body, variety can keep you limber and feeling good.

This is true of working situations too. Do any one thing too long and it’ll have bad effects, whether it’s standing or sitting. Mix things up, and it’ll do you wonders.

If you work from home, you’re luckier than most people, because you have the opportunity to create a variety of working spots so you don’t fall into the “sameness” trap of your average employee.

You can customize your main workstation and make it versatile, but you can also create multiple short-term productivity spots in your home, allowing for different surroundings and ergonomics at each one.

What are the advantages to short-term work nooks?

Depending on tax laws where you are, you might be able to claim more living expenses if you can prove you’re creating work-friendly spaces elsewhere in your home.

Me, I’m a writer and editor, so this involves a lot of reading and the changing creative gears/moods on the fly between tasks. Having a separate work desk for distraction-less brainstorming, plus a relaxing well-lit spot in the fire escape where I can reread my work and edit it, these allow me to work in various modes just by stepping away from my regular desk for a new mindset.

This also makes more of my living space and use of household utilities claimable as a workspace expense when tax time rolls around. Consult your accountant to see if using more space for specific tasks might be a financial benefit for you too.

A work nook’s needs

What do you really need to work? For most of us, it’s a little elbow room, some light, a surface for our laptop, and a good chair.

If it’s not your primary work spot, you’ll probably be accustomed to working off battery power on your laptop, and lighting could be unnecessary if there’s a window nearby, so, really you can go quite minimalist on secondary workspaces, especially if they’re for reading things over, working on ideas, or just changing your scenery for a fresher point of view.

I’ve found that the old “TV-dinner” stands folks use for temporary eating tables are actually a great height for a laptop and easy to move where you need it. They fold up, if you like, but offer just enough work surface for when you need your laptop or a note-taking space.

It’s also easy to build-in a little desk into a corner or a closet, as I did in this post for a paltry $25 when I created my “brainstorming” focus desk in an unused alcove, which I still love and everyone comments on.

Keep your clutter to a minimum and keep these spaces clear so you can bring work with you when you want to go there. You don’t need your whole home looking like an office. Bring your papers, laptop, pen with you as you migrate through your home over a long workday.

Changing environments is productive

Sitting in the same position for eight hours is brutal. Having the ability to change through a couple different workspots in your home could be healthier for your body, advantageous to your accounting and income tax deductions, as well as beneficial to your output by stimulating you and offering a switch in your day.

Working from home should be a freeing experience. Having a variety of task-oriented environments will make your work life more rewarding. And when your little work nooks are feeling a bit tired, you can always go enjoy the cafe-office life for an hour or two.

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