Remote work is now more common than ever. With just small changes, you can add both comfortability and efficiency to your home office. Finnish interior stylist and long-time remote worker Minna Jones emphasizes the importance of a peaceful environment, lighting and ergonomics.
MINNA JONES: “An office at home or home as an office? There's a difference between these two. My own choice is somewhere between them. Even though I don't have an actual office at my home, I try to avoid turning my whole home into one big office space. I have been working from home already for over 20 years, so the current situation hasn't influenced my own work that much.
I have designed my own workstation as a part of a larger storage system made by my trusted carpenter. It integrates into the surrounding space as unnoticeable as possible. The upper cabinets are reserved for sample swatches, binders and my printer, which are easy to access but also to hide away. When things have their own place, organizing them is much easier, too.
I sit at my desk when I'm working on interior design plans for my customers, editing photos or writing. When I go through fabric samples or need more space for my papers, I occupy the living room's large table. I try to avoid eating lunch at the computer, and a daily coffee break is a must! A small pause in the middle of the day really does good for you.
I also do styling for advertisements, and for that, I need a lot of different supplies. At home, I only keep a small stock that I update regularly: mostly vases, bowls and other small items, some of which are occasionally on display. I store these cups and vessels in a cupboard – my own production – in the living room corner. Working as a stylist, many items and furniture pieces have become tools for me, so I like to set quite a strict limit in terms of displaying them. Often, just the most necessary is the best.
What are the most important factors in my working environment? First comes a feeling of peace, which doesn't necessarily mean total silence. I have three kids, so I'm often surrounded by my family when working. For me, peacefulness means more of a visual calmness. When my head is full of thoughts and overlapping projects, I need to have serenity around me. A space where to be creative without too many extraneous stimuli.
Another factor is light, it is really crucial. I pay a lot of attention to the lighting and also natural light. I designed our summer cabin using windows as the starting point, completely on the basis of landscape and light. I can admit that lamps are my weakness and soft spot. I like to invest in them often.
“I love Alvar Aalto's thoughts about light and his ability to design spaces through light.”
I love Alvar Aalto's thoughts about light and his ability to design spaces through light. Aalto has said that you shouldn't clean windows too often because light will filter more beautifully through unwashed windows. His advice is definitely followed in our household. We have often chosen our homes because of large windows, and washing them has always been quite a task. This spring, when there has finally been extra time, we washed our windows for the first time in three years. But thank you Alvar – we will keep following your line.
The third factor in a functional workspace is good ergonomics. I have to carry a lot of things for photoshoots, and that can be tough for my back. I like to sit down when working. A grey Fiber office chair by Muuto is one of my latest purchases – it is comfortable to sit on, and the color is just perfect. I never work on the sofa, that is strictly reserved for free time.
Although I try to do my work within the office hours and at my own desk, it doesn't always go as planned. In reality, I often spend afternoons driving my daughters to their hobbies and doing work calls and emails while waiting next to playing fields or riding rings. But an office on the move is sometimes a nice thing.”
Minna Jones is a Helsinki-based interior designer and stylist whose work ranges from private apartments to film and advertising productions. She runs a popular blog about Scandinavian interior decor spiced up with DIY mentality and good design. Whenever possible, Minna enjoys spending time with her family in their seaside cabin in Nauvo.