The Buy-Nothing Work From Home Setup

The Four Percent

You may be surprised at how quickly standing in place becomes uncomfortable. Walking for hours may feel fine; the discomfort of standing in place, even for much shorter times, can sneak up on you.

When your work space stops feeling good, the best thing you can do, Ms. Loesing said, is move around. Take breaks. Sit somewhere else for a few minutes. Look out the window frequently, and remind yourself that this won’t go on forever.

Real offices are designed according to all sorts of theories and principles: correct values for density, plans for lighting and acoustics, flow. The emergency home office, in contrast, was most likely designed for something else: eating, sleeping or storage.

George Evageliou, the president of Urban Homecraft, a custom furniture company, suggests taking a moment to visualize the office you want, even if it’s out of reach. “Look for the ideal, understanding that you’re not going to get it,” said Mr. Evageliou, who is currently locked down in a 250-square-foot studio apartment. “Whatever you get is going to be better for it.”

This exercise, in the moment, may feel extreme. Ideal: an office with a door, a space to work, a clearer line between the stresses of home and the stresses related to work. Improved reality: a table in a kitchen or living room, cleared off, where nothing can happen but work.

If space is your problem, that’s fine. “Try to create delineations within a room,” Mr. Evageliou said. (He spoke to me from a desk installed underneath a lofted bed.) A clear work space of any sort — a few square feet surrounded by an invisible fence — can help maintain mental boundaries, too.

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