Where I Work: Sabinna, the business owner working from home during lockdown

As the coronavirus pandemic makes working from home the norm, our mini series Where I Work is exploring people’s home office setups – to give us all some inspiration for our workspaces and take a look at the reality of remote working.

We’ve been on a houseboat, met a barefoot athlete who has no chairs, and seen how a jewellery designer creates her pieces from her shed.

Today we’re hanging out (virtually, because social distancing remains key) with Sabinna, 30.

Sabinna, who is originally from Russia and Austria, has been living in London for almost 11 years.

She’s the founder of London-based conscious fashion brand SABINNA.

Here’s how she’s working since she moved her office back to her home.

Hey, Sabinna! How has coronavirus changed the way you work?

When I started my business five years ago, I had to work from home for almost a year. Then I was working from a shared co-working space, later my business moved into its own studio and since November 2019 we have been in a lovely studio in Hackney Wick, with lots of space and possibilities.

Going back to working from home now is definitely a very weird feeling.

I live with my husband, who is currently also working from home.

How has working from home been?

So far it somehow feels busier. The biggest challenge was to stay up to date with the rest of the team but we are doing regular check-ins via Google Hangout and Slack.

What I have enjoyed so far is not having to commute for almost an hour each way as well as being able to make my own lunch every day.

Talk us through your working setup

Our apartment is quite small. I switch between the dining table and the armchair in our living room.

We are quite lucky and have a lot of natural sunlight in the flat, which makes working from home a better experience.

If possible, I always have fresh flowers on the table.

In terms of equipment, it’s mostly my laptop and my phone. But I am considering getting a laptop stand and maybe moving my office chair home. My back really starts to feel it now.

What’s a working day like for you?

I wake up at 7.30am, start with a morning workout or yoga session (there are so many amazing online workouts these days), then I shower, get dressed and have my breakfast and tea.

By 9am I will be in front of my laptop going through some emails and getting ready for the first check in with the team.

Lunch happens between 12.30 and 1.30 pm – I try to coordinate that with my husband so we can have lunch together.

The afternoon is usually filled with calls and online meetings. Where possible I try to take a short break to stretch and relax my eyes.

My aim is to finish work by 7pm, which is not always possible as a business owner. Plus working from home makes it very tempting to stay in front of the screen for a bit longer. I set myself an alarm when it’s time to finish work.

Then I have a video call with my family in Austria and Russia while starting to prepare dinner.

For evening activities in self-isolation I got myself some jigsaw puzzles, they are fun and really help my brain to relax. Or I read a book, speak to my friends and check in if everything is ok, watch a good movie or do a few brainstorming sessions to work on some upcoming projects.

What advice do you have for people new to working from home?

Get up early and develop a routine at home. Start your day with a workout, yoga or a stretch.

Get dressed. Put on real clothes – sometimes even simple things like shoes or a bra can help trick your brain that this is the start of the working day.

To-do lists are especially important now. Make sure to set goals of what you want to achieve in a day and stick to them.

Do not procrastinate! The kitchen is close and so is your phone but make sure to focus on your work and limit distractions to a minimum.

Spend your free time wisely: If you’re feeling lonely in the evenings, why not plan a video call with friends over a cup of tea or glass of wine? Or catch up on that book you’ve been putting off or finally get around to trying that one recipe?