'My desk isn’t usually as messy as this': Guardian readers share their work-from-home setups

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What you see on a video conference isn’t always the whole story – here, readers reveal what’s really going on around them

We asked you to share photographs of the “two yous” that exist while you’re working from home – the person that appears on a video chat screen, and the oftentimes messier space space that surrounds you.

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World news | The Guardian

We asked you to share photographs of the “two yous” that exist while you’re working from home – the person that appears on a video chat screen, and the oftentimes messier space space that surrounds you.

Nat O'Keefe working from home

A psychologist and forensic clinician, Nat O’Keefe shares her work-from-home space with her brother and sister. “So had to mock up – swiftly – a confidential client space.” Though she says her room isn’t particularly tidy at the best of times, “I’ll be using this as an opportunity to organise the unorganisable.”

Richard James Kendall working from home

Richard James Kendall is a technology consultant. He shares his townhouse with his wife and 18-month-old son, and works from the bottom floor. He says: “The desk is actually a bench-top from Bunnings with six legs we attached to it, so we made it!”

Hassan Al Kontar working from home

After months spent living in an airport, Hassan Al Kontar is adapting well to his new life in Canada, and his new dress-from-the-desk-up style. He says: “Canada saved me, gave me a second chance and gave my family a new hope. What else do I need!”

Aldona Kmiec working from home.

Aldona Kmiec, a Melbourne-based photographic artist, has pulled on her ugg boots and track pants to work from home on a cold Melbourne morning.

Paul Rowe working from home, plus minding teenager Yann Zabicki Rowe

Paul Rowe is the chief executive of a small software company, and has been adapting to life at home with his teenage son, who spent the day with him while his school was closed.

Sheelagh Doyle working from home

Sheelagh Doyle uses a Snap camera backdrop – right now her favourite is the “jungle” image – to hide the fact that she’s set up office in her twin sons’ bedroom. These days her desk is usually decorated with Lego – “which is far more interesting and fun than what is usually on my desk at work”.

Ginger Gorman working from home

As a freelancer, Ginger Gorman says: “I always work from home. When I got made redundant by the ABC in 2015, I turned one of the bedrooms into an office with a lovely Jarrah desk. It overlooks our quiet leafy street, and I love it.”

She adds: “However, my desk isn’t usually as messy as this. Working from home with kids in a pandemic is an absolute shit show. They are shouting and punching each other in the other room, fighting over the TV remote and generally just smearing the entire house with kinetic sand and glue and cold tea – don’t ask!”

The pandemic took away 60% of her income overnight. “So that kid chaos is all happening while I’ve been working twice as hard as usual to find new work. Consequently, my desk is littered with makeup, from trying to pretend I’m normal on Zoom calls; dirty dishes from eating lunch and breakfast and dinner at my desk; empty cups; thousands of sheets of paper and notebooks and pens and cables and batteries and empty printer cartridges and all my podcast recording equipment. I’m tired.”

Lyndal Bubke working from home on a piano

Lyndal Bubke, a government policy worker, has made an improvised desk out of her nana’s piano. “My partner works in IT and already had a big setup in the office so this was the only ‘desk’ space free,” she explains. She is enjoying her new footwear though, “slippers at work are a bonus at least”.

Saira Manns working from home in the tiny loft

Saira Manns, an editorial consultant, is working from “my apartment’s tiny loft” –with “a half-done puzzle sitting dangerously close to the back of my desk chair”.


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