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How to Recreate an Office Experience While Working from Home

Eight people working at computers on a long table in an open-office.
G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

Working from home but missing the familiarity of the office? You can recreate the experience even if you’re miles from the water cooler.

For many people, working from home is a dream come true. You get to wear whatever you want (sweatpants or pj’s), you don’t have to fix your hair, and you can check your emails from bed. You get all the creature comforts of home while still getting paid. Awesome!

However, as we’re all learning during this period of self-quarantining, working from home can quickly become lonely and boring. Could it be that you actually miss the office?

If so, don’t worry; it’s not difficult to create an office experience while working from home. All you have to do is get a little creative, and things will seem (semi-) normal before you know it!

Sit Next to a Fan So You’re Always Freezing

It’s a fact that offices are always on the cold side. An essential way to recreate your office is to make sure you’re constantly freezing, no matter what the weather’s like outside.

Buy yourself a portable fan and place it right next to you to chill your bones all day. Even better, turn up the AC in your house until you start shivering.

And instead of throwing on a sweatshirt, make sure you wrap yourself in a blanket or scarf with your company’s logo on it as you sit at your computer. Make it authentic!

Replicate Crappy Work Coffee

Forget the fancy coffee machine you might have at home—get yourself a cheap Keurig and some of the cheapest coffee pods out there. This way, you can replicate the bad coffee you get every day in the breakroom (no offense, Keurig).

You can also just make a pot and let it sit for a few hours. That will ensure it’s stale and lukewarm by the time you need a pick-me-up. Don’t forget to microwave it to get the full effect!

Display Motivational Quotes

Are there cheesy motivational quotes hanging around the office that are meant to inspire you? You can replicate this at home, too!

In fact, you can get yourself a calendar full of them and hang it next to your workspace. Or, get the parody version full of demotivational quotes.

You can also create your own and hang them. Improvise! You definitely have the time.

Turn on Trashy TV for a Drama Fix

A group of people standing and chatting in an office work space.
G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

Missing the office drama? Does your workday feel incomplete if you don’t hear two snippy coworkers passive-aggressively go at it?

All you have to do is put on a trashy TV show to get your dose of drama each day. Just let it play low in the background while you work. It’s almost like being at work.

Heat Up Smelly Food

Anyone who’s ever worked in an office knows how obnoxious it is when someone decides to heat up something smelly, like shrimp or fish. Even a tuna sandwich can stink up the whole place.

You can recreate this at home by sitting the smelliest food you can find close enough so that you get a good whiff every now and then. Or, you can go all out and microwave a bowl of sardines.

It’s your home, so you can commit to this experiment as fully as you want.

Sit in a Windowless Room

Some offices have tons of windows and natural light, but there are also plenty that make you feel like you’ve entered a dark void where time doesn’t really exist.

If you’re used to being in an office where you have to guess the weather all day long, then simply work in a windowless room.

It’s the perfect time to take a cue from Office Space and move your desk, Milton-style, next to the boiler in the basement.

Add Some Bad Lighting

An office with fluorescent ceiling lights and empty cubicles.

Bad office lighting comes in two forms: too bright and blue or too washed-out and yellow. Again, forgo natural light for one of these options. Just swap out the bulbs in your home office and you’re good to go!

Bonus points if you have some fluorescent tube lights in your garage you can use. Nothing says “I’m stuck at the office” like the subtle hum and flickering glow of fluorescent lighting.

Set Your Alarm

Instead of sleeping in and feeling more rested, continue to set your alarm for the same time you would if you were going to the office. Feeling as exhausted as you normally would while you work will be almost comforting.

To capture that true, just-rushed-into-work, bleary-eyed experience, set the automatic timer on the coffee pot so the coffee is stale by the time you get to the “office.”

Turn on Background Noise

Offices are noisy, even if that noise is on the quiet side. While sitting at your desk, you might overhear people chatting or someone’s entire phone conversation because he or she doesn’t know how to go to a private area.

If your workday feels incomplete without the steady hum of background noise, just turn on the television, talk radio, or a podcast.

Believe it or not, there are also many “office ambiance” tracks on YouTube. Try out a few until you find your favorite, and you’ll be all set!

It might be a while until you’re back in your officer proper, but don’t worry! With a little extra effort at home, you can recreate that office experience with ease.

Jessica Booth Jessica Booth
Jessica Booth is a freelance writer for LifeSavvy. She has been working in the editorial world as a freelance writer for over two years and previously worked as an editor for over eight years.  Jessica writes about travel, beauty, wellness, health, food, home decor, and parenting, and has reviewed and tested out products for all of those verticals over the course of her career. Read Full Bio »
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