By April 10, 2014 Read More →

A home office set-up for two

#WfHTechWeek – guest post from Francesca Geens of Digital Dragonfly

My home office - Francesca Geens

A home office set-up for two

My spare bedroom has grown

into a home office set-up

for two people

and two businesses!

Looking back at the first home office photo I submitted to Judy’s gallery (above left, click on photos to see full size) makes me reflect on just how far my business has come in the last 3 years. And the new home office set-up is a good reflection of the growth and investment that has happened.

I suppose the big change is that there are now two desks (proper desks as opposed to spare table) and the guest bed has been taken out to turn the spare room into a permanent office. My husband Nazz has joined me in the business and also runs his own consultancy so there are two businesses now operating from this space!

My desk is on the left and I have just invested in a new 27 inch monitor and upgraded my laptop. I’m a full Mac girl though I often run parallels so that I can work in Windows seamlessly from my Mac. My old laptop (11 MacBook Air) is now just used for mobile working and wasn’t performing well enough with me multi-tasking, streaming music and booting into Windows.

On the other hand, Nazz has a total PC set-up, currently with two monitors, though he has just announced he’s getting a third as he still doesn’t have enough screen space to keep an eye on everything he is working on. He has a high spec tower which is hidden in the cupboard behind him. We also have various spare laptops which we use as test machines.

I hate cables so you can see we’ve gone to some effort to keep those tidy with cable ties. We’ve also added two sets of drawers to give us some extra desk surface. Next on our list will be proper desk chairs to give us better back support as we do sit at our desks for prolonged periods every day.

We also had the main wall painted with whiteboard paint (see my review here) which means we can now use it as a giant brainstorming and planning space – it is very non tech but my all time favourite office tool.

It’s not always easy prioritizing this kind of investment but I do believe that investing in your home office set-up and the tools you use on a daily basis pays back in the long run both from a business sense and also for your health and well being.

Second biggest change is we need to be more aware of each other’s working habits with two of us in the room. We both tend to plug in and listen to music whilst working, but because we can’t see each other with the wall of monitors in-between, this can cause some challenges when it comes to communicating!

Because we are both very interested in productivity habits we know it’s not great being interrupted mid task so we’ve had to discipline ourselves to try not to disturb each other when ‘in flow’. This is work in progress 😉

Phone calls are the main challenge – one of us tends to leave the room if we are both speaking but that’s not always possible if we need to be in front of our screens because we are talking to clients and looking at their desktops at the same time. Luckily this clash hasn’t happened all too often.

Other challenge is when the kids come home in the afternoon and noise levels go up. The four year old can also be super speedy at escaping from the nanny and joyfully running upstairs at top speed and into the office for cuddles. Because my business Digital Dragonfly works with home business owners and independent professionals this kind of thing happens to my clients as well.

But Nazz tends to speak with larger corporates and isn’t so forgiving when this happens. If he is on an important call we’ll be sure to warn our nanny and she will sometimes take the kids out of the house. Having said that Nazz has been known to go and sit in the car for peace and quiet during a call. The realities of running a business from home!

So all in all a positive change to our home office set-up and we both enjoy the increased work/life balance this brings us by both being based at home.

work from home secrets

You can download Francesca’s Ultimate Guide to Technology for Independent Professionals absolutely free at her website. It’s highly recommended by home business owners who have already saved money and aggravation on their home tech.

work from home secrets

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5 Comments on "A home office set-up for two"

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  1. What a super story. It outlines the challenges – and some great solutions – of sharing an office. And I have never heard of whiteboard paint. I LOVE that.

    • It’s a great story, and a fascinating blend of the technical and human factors involved in setting up a home office. Thanks, Francesca, for sharing a snippet of life at Dragonfly HQ 🙂

  2. Francesca says:

    Thanks Carrie – we love the whiteboard paint too! I’m tempted to do the kitchen so the kids can have fun with it!

  3. Kalliopi Fountoulaki says:

    That’t interesting! I also work from home,side by side with my husband, most of the time. I am having a hard time when he skypes his colleague, if it’s possible, I take a break or do some housework at that time 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your story Carrie!

    • My partner and I both work at home, but we have separate offices. Although we did live in a house with a big second bedroom and Andy had a second desk in there with mine! I was surprised how well it worked, although he did go to his other desk for long calls. How spoilt, to have 2 home offices!