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Covid-19 is a global pandemic affecting each and every one of us – in all aspects of our lives. How we live, how we move around and importantly, how we work. Some businesses and markets have been forced to close. Others have taken this opportunity to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of isolation, self-distancing and quarantine.

For interior designers, this may mean that some projects have been ‘put on hold’. This doesn’t mean you have to stop working and offering a high-quality service. There are still things you can do during this period. This phase in time will be significant in many ways, both for you and your customers as everyone adapts.

Tips for Working Through Covid-19

1. Keep working!

Although times are difficult, as lockdown eases, interior designers can certainly get back to business. Quoting on new jobs is perfectly possible. You can proceed with designing and costing for new projects just as before. Designers will be able to progress further with some projects if social distancing can be maintained and all the materials easily obtained.

Floresy - colour chart

2. Source online

Although some of your suppliers may not have re-opened yet, it is possible to source many items including paints, light fittings and furniture from online companies with no supply chain problems. If you are looking for antique and vintage pieces of furniture, this is easy too. There are many antique shops with excellent websites. As for bespoke pieces, almost all craftsmen are already back in their workshops.

Reupholstery and curtain making is usually undertaken by people in their homes. So again, you will find that most are already back at work – if they ever stopped!

3. Keep up with creativity!

Many artisans have used lockdown to create wonderful new custom made wallpapers, light fittings and fabric designs. So it’s the perfect time to keep abreast of the latest ideas that you’ll be able to incorporate in your work. Several interior designers are currently looking at offering clients ‘decorative consultations’. A service where you can advise on colours, fabrics as well as accessories to give rooms a fresh new look. Budget is an important consideration as many people do not have so much disposable income right now.

4. Offer Virtual consultations during Covid-19 !

Communication methods have changed dramatically in the last few months and these changes are here to stay! You may well have been using CAD for drawings and designs, but you can show these to clients and discuss all aspects using Zoom/ FaceTime / WhatsApp and be able to give your clients digital presentations at every stage and minimise face-to-face meetings.

A number of interior designers are now offering house owners short, reasonably priced virtual consultations to advise them on how to make changes to their living space and these are proving very popular – especially those with clever recycling and upcycling ideas.

5. Time for marketing

Whilst you have more time at your disposal, it would be good to research the contact details of companies that could be interested in your services once lockdown has eased. Rethink or adjust your sales pitch accordingly and show that you are very happy to undertake projects of all sizes – especially those making socially distancing easier as health and safety will now have the highest priority. Consider whether your website is current and adjust the text to make reference to the last few months. It may well be worth exploring advertising opportunities that will reach the many house owners who have discovered through lockdown that they need to make modest alterations to their homes.

Lockdown doesn’t have to be an end to work. With creative thinking, this could be a new opportunity to develop your skills and your business.

The ONS Labour Force Survey has found that 1.54 million people in the UK are now working from home – that’s 884,000 more than ten years ago and this figure will keep on growing. With modern technology at your fingertips, it has never been easier to work from home and more and more house buyers are looking for an office space in the properties they are viewing so that they can enjoy all the advantages this brings.

Choose the right spot!

When you are considering where to establish a home office, it is best to give this plenty of thought as you will be spending a great deal of time at your desk. You will have some basic needs that must be considered such as whether you will be holding meetings or conference calls from home. Will you need just a table for your laptop or more space for printers and storage facilities too. Whilst working in a cramped area tucked under the stairs may work for some people, for others, more space and a window with natural daylight is essential. What about the noise level in your chosen area? If a noisy environment does not bother you, that is good, but if you prefer peace and quiet, you may well have to make some adjustments – a simple one can be to remove the batteries from your doorbell!

Getting Organised is the Key to Success!

You will need to have the right size of the work area so that you can feel comfortable whilst you work. You do need to have a dedicated desk as it becomes difficult to keep scooping up paperwork at the end of each day and you will need some storage space too. Position your desk so that you can take maximum advantage of natural daylight and the view from a window. Try out the space for comfort, are you sure that you have adequate light whatever the weather? It might well be advantageous to invest in a good quality anglepoise lamp that gives a good light wherever it is needed. Good lighting helps prevent eye strain and headaches. Once you have your office area laid out, spend some time dealing with any loose wire etc. to keep you safe. You need to ensure that they are not a trip hazard nor a distraction if you are trying to work fast! Better still, why not invest in some Bluetooth peripherals to make things easier?

Filing office organisation

Be Comfy!

There have been a number of studies that have found that if people are happy and comfortable in their workspace then their productivity increases, conversely if they are uncomfortable then they don’t work nearly as well! Working from home has a huge advantage that you can create the office space that suits you perfectly.

Ensure that you have a really comfortable chair that is the right height for you, if you do not, why not consider buying an ergonomic chair as this will ensure that you are sitting correctly and not damaging your spine. This is definitely an item of furniture not to scrimp on as a good chair really does make all the difference, ensuring your body is not aching at the end of the day.

Ensure your work area can be kept at a comfortable temperature all year through and that there is a source of fresh air too. A cup of coffee is an important part of every working day, are there facilities for making one that can be easily reached? Just because you are not in a work environment with regular safety checks, does not mean that health and safety should not be considered. It is important that you can leave your work desk easily to take a regular break from your PC screen.

Coffee cup including plant- Floresy

Consider Colour

The colour of your office can be as bright or calm as you like and it can also inspire you! True, your colour choice will have to be more conservative if you are holding meetings in your space, but if it is just you – the sky’s the limit! Choose the colour that suits you; a colour that fuels your creativity or helps you to feel serene and organised, the right colour is a very subjective choice! To enhance the colour of your office space, you can add some ambient lighting that will complement the ‘working light’ you have for your desk.

Personalise

Decorate the walls with an inspirational painting or other artwork and maybe add a favourite ornament to your desk or family photo. If space is short, you can always rotate these finishing touches to mirror the changing seasons. Think of fragrance too as the sense of smell is one of the strongest of our senses, so ensure that your work area smells fresh and appealing.

Add interest with some flowers or an attractive plant! Even if your office space does not benefit from natural light, don’t let that stop you as artificial plants or flowers an look like the real thing!

Importantly, your home office space is yours and it must feel good. Plan your office space like a well-designed aircraft cockpit with everything close at hand and easily accessible. Be flexible in your approach because as your work grows or changes so will your needs and these can be reflected in your workspace. Keep it fresh and appealing as it must inspire you and encourage you to be productive. Your new home office will mark the start of an exciting new chapter in your working from home life that will get bigger and better…..