The Dharma Door has operated as a home-based business since 2004. We are a small team who reside in various locations throughout Australia and Europe. After much trial and error, we have each refined our own approach to working from home, whilst still remaining connected to each other. As a small, entrepreneurial-style business we mostly revel in the flexibility that comes with working from a home office. Elements like fresh air, natural light, better use of time and a more relaxed vibe never go unappreciated. And while there are potential pitfalls to working in this way, it is our experience that most of these can be successfully managed with available technologies and some healthy habits.
We also acknowledge how important it is to have an effective and pleasant work space in order to be happy and productive. Whether this is a dedicated room, part of a thoroughfare in your home or more of a roving scenario, there are a few practical and decorative things you can do to get you working from home in no time. Read on for some of our top tips, plus a few tried and true workday rituals from our team.
Tidy space, tidy mind. While most of us are long-adept at operating in a paperless environment, it is still very easy to accumulate clutter. However a clean, clear workspace provides valuable headspace and in turn, better workflow. Although every business will present different needs with regard to storage and the types of objects we need close at hand, these items can usually be sorted into books, paperwork, technology, miscellaneous items and a few sentimental or decorative touches.
Marie Kondo suggests grouping these items accordingly, then sorting through them to identify which ones help you to do your job well or makes you feel good while you are working. From there, your storage needs should become visually apparent. We use the Small Jute Basket - Tray and the Sona Rectangular Basket - Large to store a daily notebook, small electronic device and any paperwork that needs tending to, clearing these items away regularly to keep things in order. The Small Jute Basket - Natural is also great for storing journals, resource material and inspiring books we like to keep close at hand.
If you have children working alongside you, these rectangular baskets are a great way to access and tidy away homework and any special projects being worked on, whilst still keeping their work in easy reach. Similarly, these quality, handmade baskets can later double for craft projects - possibly used in other rooms around the house as your circumstances change and evolve.
For tools, pens and pencils, the Small Jute Basket - Tall works wonders on its own, or in groupings of two of three. For those who like to keep things really simple style-wise, these baskets are a great way to organise your workspace and add a subtle, textural touch. We also love that most of our collection of handwoven jute storage baskets can be used to hold cords and electrical devices such as remotes. Stowed away on a bookshelf, a basket of wires can become a simple decoration that makes it easy to keep things tidy.
One of the best bits about working from home is the ability to create a relaxed, nurturing environment that is true to your own personality and style. Where office environments can sometimes be sterile and quite devoid of these elements, your home office can be comfortable and ultimately fuel your work fire. Computers, desks, cords and furniture can also be quite ‘hard’, so we recommend always adding a few natural tones to keep things relaxed and grounded and ultimately keep you feeling good.
This is where we use natural rugs and runners – particularly handy if you want to section off a shared workspace – or some affordable decorative items and handwoven baskets to add an earthy touch. A few well-chosen sentimental items have been shown to trigger positive feelings while you work. Choosing some meaningful photos, artwork or handmade objects can also make you feel more inspired while you work. We suggest rotating these items every so often to keep things fresh and reflect personal growth.
Natural options such as the Trio of Round Baskets - Natural and Trio of Round Grass Baskets - Low are great for arranging and displaying such objects. Handmade – from start to finish – by Fair Trade artisans, these items feel good to have around, as well as offering useful options for storage and display.
We all understand the restorative power of nature. Connecting with nature is a powerful way to fortify yourself during periods of stress, enhancing resilience, mood and mental well being. In addition to stepping outside each day, we recommend inviting nature in. When it comes to our home office or workspace, this can be done by pairing adding a potted plant with a beautiful basket or arranging some of your favourite foraged finds such as shells, stones and branches.
If you are using a potted plant, see how it goes in the space. If it thrives, it is a sure sign it is happy. If it doesn’t, rotate it regularly with other plants, or even place a vase of foliage in basket and refresh the water as needed. The Woven Pot Duo and Trio of Round Grass Baskets - Tall were designed with just this purpose in mind. We like to rotate these items during a weekly clean to keep your space feeling fresh and vibrant - a great way to stay on top of things and keep those good ideas and energy flowing!
Healthy daily habits like exercise, meditation and routine are some of the ways our team have developed to keep them on track while working from home. Regular catch ups by Skype and phone are also a good way to maintain connection and prevent feelings of isolation. Here's some of the rituals our Australian team have developed over time:
SHANNON SHEEDY, THE DHARMA DOOR FOUNDER
‘The pre-work morning routine is really important for Mick and I. We always take our dog for a walk in nature, allow time for meditation, enjoy a healthy breakfast and dress for work. These things set us up mentally for the day ahead and help to make the distinction between home and work. Music plays a big part in our lives and we always have a mellow soundtrack playing in the background in the office throughout the day. Our office is on our rural property and we sometimes take short breaks from screen time to walk around the garden and pull out a few weeds or water a plant or two - it’s good for the soul.’
‘I live by my old-school handwritten lists and have several on the go with reminders of what I need to do or design ideas. I keep them in one of our canvas laptop bags with my iPad so I can carry them with me to make notes and sketches as things pop into my mind.’
JODIE CHEETHAM, MARKETING & TRADE
‘Although I love to live free of routine, the success of my workday is helped along by some simple habits. I always start by getting dressed in my 'work clothes'. This helps get my mind into work mode and marks a clear delineation between work and play. Although we have moved house regularly, I always create a dedicated work space that is an appealing place to be, so when I hit the deck I am ready to go.'
'As the mother of two children my home life is busy, so I like a really clear work space to give myself mental clarity. I tidy this space at the end of each day and diarise the next one in set work hours, so I can keep things ticking along. I always rotate a few natural objects that I have collected on family trips or fresh flowers or foliage to make me feel good when I look up from my screen. I love listening to the sound of the birds while I work and always make sure I have plenty of green in view. And if I feel myself becoming stagnant, I mix things up by working outside for a few hours or working alongside others using my laptop.’VIEW WORK FROM HOME COLLECTION
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