A working mom, working from home while taking care of the kids.

Kids-proof Office ideas

5 Home Office Design Ideas if you’re Working from Home with Kids 

Working from home with kids – it ain’t no walk in the park!  If you have been on Youtube at all during 2020, you know that you’ve laughed at various videos showcasing hilarious times when kids make their camera debut while the adult is in an important zoom meeting; but I can assure you that it isn’t so funny when it happens to you.  Don’t get me wrong, even with the most bullet-proof home office design, the risk of getting inconvenient distractions from your kids is low… but never zero!

1. Choose a home office space where you can get some privacy.

Remember the time when we use to separate our work lives and our home lives by not physically being at home?  Well we can’t get you back to the regular office but what we can do is introduce you to some ideas about adding physical barriers to your home office, such as adding in a room divider.  

Ideally we recommend picking a space with a door, where you can work from home.  Kids, and admittedly adults, will naturally take note that the door is closed and that you are hard at work.  This will deter your kids from needlessly distracting you unless they need you urgently.  

But I also get that not everyone has a convenient spare room with a door.  In that case, what you are going to have to do is create a physical barrier of some kind.  Whether this comes in the form of a room divider or, perhaps, a large plant; it is important to have some kind of a physical barrier so that you have the space you need to focus, get some privacy, and to take yourself out of your kids’ crosshairs.  

Be warned:  you know that bed in your bedroom that looks really comfortable?  Avoid using your bed as your desk!  An insightful study on working in bed from Fast Company says that working from bed can actually be bad for a person’s quality of sleep.

2. Design an Activities Board & Invite your Kids to Participate.

You can design your home office, while you work from home, to actually take on a more collaborative approach to your working space.  This home office design idea can be as simple as you want to make it.  For example, if your kids are able to read and write, perhaps all you need to do is set up a white board or a bulletin board that has a calendar with their weekly schedules and daily activities on it?  That calendar in your kitchen, now has a whole other purpose and that’s to keep your kids busy with activities while you are working from home, and thus, eliminating more distractions before they happen!   

After scheduling in your kids’ chores and school hours, invite them to help create their own schedule.  My only guideline here is that any kind of free time should be limited to an extent.  And the reason behind this is that too much free time can create boredom in your children’s lives, while you work, and so that will increase their demands of your attention.  

If you have younger kids, you may have to create a weekly schedule for them.  Try to make everyday different so that they have a variety of activities to look forward to during the week.  Or, if your child prefers a more monotonous weekday schedule then schedule accordingly.  Just don’t forget to pencil in their nap time.  And you’ll thank us later for that!

A kids playing while parents WFH.

3. Prioritize organizational design hacks in your home office.

Does your work from home model demand that you handle a lot of paper work?  Or perhaps you mostly work with digital formats?  No matter what kind of home office demands come from your workplace, you should be prioritizing organizational interior design hacks just to make your life easier.  

Let’s say, for example, that you are working with a lot of papers and reports then we would recommend investing into a couple of document desk trays so that you can more accurately organize which documents are more urgent than others.  This will help you out a lot for when those at-home distractions do happen.  Imagine the convenience being able to quickly store your document in an “urgent” tray when your child needs you right away.  After all, you can’t predict when your distractions will occur but you can prepare your home office for when they do happen.

Prioritizing organization while you work from home with kids is also crucial for decluttering your working space.  I mean, who wants all of those wires from your dual monitor running through your home like the Matrix?  We recommend taking note of the physical demands your home office places, and to try and design your office around those demands.  At the end of the day your dream office is going to be the space that eliminates distractions and promotes focus on your day-to-day tasks.  

Office desk with shelves and organizers to keep things organized.

4. Choose a desk that’s going to work for you.

The “engine” of the home office; am I right?  

If you take the kids out of the equation, no matter what, you are going to need a desk that’s going to work for you.  As our go-to recommendation, we usually suggest that you find a desk that has some aspect of storage to it because it’s better to have a desk that has some storage capabilities, then it is to have to find an underused kitchen drawer to store any renegade important documents.  

A desk can also help your physical health as well since they can be designed to be ergonomic with options like standing desks becoming more popular.  When it comes to standing desks, we also recommend looking at standing desks that are adjustable because sometimes it does get tiring standing all day, especially if you are working from home with kids.  Just as a side note:  you may need an adjustable standing desk if you have experienced an injury and need to accommodate yourself comfortably.

A desk to fit your monitors and laptops and works for your home office.

5. Create a work from home “office hours” sign that your kids will understand.

Incorporate an “office hours” sign into your home office design that can be understood by children of all ages.  For younger kids we, a home office idea that we have, is that you may want to create a little sign that has a graphic that the child understands as you being busy.  Perhaps, you may consider designing your home office with a timer that counts down 2 – 5 minutes so that the child understands that you are on your way?  It depends on your child and what works best for them but the important point here is that your home office needs to be designed in a way that allows your kids to communicate with you while you are busy, and yet give you an opportunity to gracefully wrap up what you are working on before tending to the situation. 

If you haven’t guessed it already: when working from home with kids, you ultimately need to prioritize the functions of your home office over everything else.  These five home office design ideas were created with your kids in mind – adjust them as necessary to fit the needs of your household!  Luckily for you, if you still need more home office design ideas we have plenty more where that came from!

Working within a schedule working from home. Photo of a clock in front of a desk office.

Thank you for reading and we sincerely hope that you are more equipped to create that home office sanctuary that’s able to handle any distraction the kids may throw your way.  

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