There’s pretty much no time of year when we’re happier than during the holidays, but this year, things are a little different. We’re trying to make things magical for ourselves and our families, but we’re also trying to maintain calm, separate spaces away from the holiday cheer so we can work from home efficiently, and to be honest, it can be hard to juggle.
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Thankfully, SheKnows recently got a chance to chat with designer Bobby Berk, who you may know from a little show called Queer Eye. Berk shared with us his tips for maintaining a separate work from home space (even if you’re working from bed!), how to keep your work from home and holiday purchases affordable, and how you can keep holiday traditions alive during this unusual year.
Berking From Home
According to a recent study from PayPal, Berk told us, 60 percent of people who work from home are struggling, and 40 percent of those surveyed said that their biggest arguments at home were about how much money to spend on WFH supplies.
Thankfully, Berk has a few helpful tips.
First, he shared that the new PayPal Pay in 4 allows you to split your PayPal purchases into four interest-free payments, which can make spending the money on work from home essentials a little easier on the budget, and it even works at big-box retailers like Target and Best Buy.
Second, he shared some affordable, essential work from home items.
Noise-canceling headphones: Berk says these “allow you to focus on work,” instead of getting distracted by whatever’s going on around you.
A bed tray: If you live in a studio apartment or other small space, you might work from bed. Berk says, “If you’re working in your bed, get a bed tray,” where you can put your laptop, notepads, and even a small lamp. When the tray is out, it’s time for work, but “When that tray goes away, work is done.”
A ring light: “Nice, good, even lighting helps you look way better on all these video calls we have to do” when working from home, Berk says.
A comfortable, supportive chair: “Even if you don’t have that separate work from home office,” Berk says, a supportive chair is essential. “So many of my friends have ended up in physical therapy from working curled up on the couch!”
A mini projector: “Kids are staring at screens all day long…getting a projector so that you can project their lessons up on the wall and taking the screens away is a much better balance.”
Home for the Holidays
With most of us staying at home for the holidays this year, it can feel hard to get out of that work mindset and celebrate, but Berk had a few ideas to share.
“It’s really important right now to keep up a lot of the traditions that we always did,” he told us. “My mom and I always used to bake cookies. And when we’d have dinner parties for friends and family we’d send everyone home with a plate of cookies and that was their gift.” But this year, he says, “I went out and got one of those big stand mixers so I could make a ton of cookies at once, and shipped all our cookies to our friends and family that we’d normally have over for dinner.”
It’s just one example of how your family’s usual traditions can be modified this year. Zoom Christmas carols, secret Santa by mail, and virtual holiday movie marathons are other ideas you and your family could implement.
At the end of the day, Berk says, working from home doesn’t have to take over your actual home. Getting some WFH essentials will help you have a better work-life balance, so that you can focus on the new holiday traditions you’ll make with friends and loved ones this year.
Before you go, check out our top foolproof holiday gifts for absolutely everyone on your list: