7 Singapore creatives share their dreamy WFH set-ups

PHOTO: Tiffany Loy

By now we’re all pros at WFH but that doesn’t mean we can’t do with some desk/decor inspos now and then.

With Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) mode in full force, we asked some of our favourite female creatives from the fields of fashion, jewellery, lifestyle and design to open up their homes and give us a peek at how they do it.

1. Jackie Yoong, curator, fashion and textiles at the Asians Civilisations Museum and Peranakan Museum

What is your approach to creating your WFH environment?

“I try to create a calming atmosphere conducive for thinking and an environment comfortable for the body. My all-senses approach usually includes a cup of rooibos tea, lemongrass aromatherapy and a good playlist. I turn to the rocking chair by the library for reading, reflecting and relaxing.”

Where is your desk located in the home, and where did you get your desk from?

PHOTO: Jackie Yoong

“My ‘desk’ is the window ledge! Standing often while working improves my posture and allows me to fully take in the lovely greenery outside the window.”

PHOTO: Jackie Yoong

One item you must have on your workstation and why?

“It’s got to be Spotify on my iPad. Music helps me focus and get into the mood for different projects. Right now, I’m listening to quite abit of Singaporean music like Dick Lee and JJ Lin for the next project on Singapore fashion.”

What new perspectives have you gained a year on after everyone started WFH?

“No matter how conducive the WFH environment is, a key thing I learned is the need to have the discipline to ‘knock off’, to keep a balance between work and home.”

2. Daniela Cacca, content creator/working in branding & franchising at the Walt Disney Company

What is your approach to creating your WFH environment?

PHOTO: Daniela Caccia

“A peaceful and comfortable environment where I can feel focused and centred, with natural light, plants and a good sound system (including instruments for sound healing when the stress hits).”

Where is your desk located in the home, and where did you get your desk from?

“I have moved in recently and my living room is my current office. The table is from an Italian designer. Here, I can find a balance of daylight, plants, flowers, books, art, peace, and functionality.”

One item you must have on your workstation and why?

“My workspace needs to be very tidy and neat. A notebook is a must-have. I love capturing the key points of all my meetings, elaborate on them and process them. I also journal daily, writing down my thoughts and areas of gratitude.

On my table, there are white wild orchids to bring vitality, poetry and energy, as well as essential oils and water. Currently Luna the cat is keeping me company as her parents are travelling.”

What new perspectives have you gained a year after everyone started WFH?

“WFH or flexible arrangements should have been implemented long ago; it allows more productivity and comfort for many of us. I have been an advocate of WFH and remotely for many years. Obviously, WFH depends on one’s type of job and lifestyle. Whatever works for you is good, isn’t it?”

3. Tiffany Loy, textile artist

What is your approach to creating your WFH environment?

“It’s a super practical approach. I have installed tall shelves to store almost everything – tools, past works and materials, So I can use my desk solely for work. The 1.6m-wide desk is also right in the middle of the room, with my weaving loom beside it. This arrangement gives me little floor space for walking, but I like accessing my workstation from both sides.”

Where is your desk located in the home, and where did you get your desk from?

“It’s within my home studio, which used to be a spare room. I’ve had this desk since I was little, not sure where it was from.”

One item you must have on your workstation and why?

PHOTO: Tiffany Loy

“Scissors, I just love using them. There’s a right pair of scissors for every task, like snipping threads and cutting fabric or paper.”

What new perspectives have you gained a year on after everyone started WFH?

“I’ve asked myself what it means to be a textile weaver. If I didn’t have a loom or couldn’t weave anymore, what would I do? I’ve delved deeper into my approach to making, and have since applied my ‘weaver-ly’ way of thinking into other domains like sculpture and image-making.”

4. Monica Lie, owner of jewellery brand The Ordinary Co

What is your approach to creating your WFH desk and environment?

“My husband and I take turns using our study room. Since he has to do more calls than me, I converted the living area into my workspace!”

Where is your desk located in the home, and where did you get your desk from?

“We thrifted a lot of our furniture online. Our study table was from a couple that was letting theirs go because they had twins and needed space in their home, and our dining table (pictured) is actually a display set that was sent back because the original buyers didn’t like the wood eyes, which we found beauty in.”

One item you must have on your workstation and why?

PHOTO: Monica Lie

“We invested in our first Herman Miller chair just when CB started and got the second one, the Aeron, from Xtra when we realised WFH was going to be around for a while. It’s really life-changing for our posture and has given us so much comfort since we sit for such long periods of time. The colour and aesthetic fits in with the home so well too, and they have the longest warranties since they’re so well made!”

What new perspectives have you gained a year on after everyone started WFH?

“I have a lot of gratitude that we have enough space in the home to have the privacy to do our work. I know it’s a huge privilege that cannot be taken for granted.”

5. Charlotte Puxley, owner of Charlotte Puxley Flowers

What is your approach to creating your WFH environment?

PHOTO: Charlotte Puxley

“Of course, a touch of nature to feel calm. Quiet. And essential oils for a good smell.”

Where is your desk located in the home, and where did you get your desk from?

“It’s not ideal but the kitchen table for now. With two little ones, I wait for nap time and then I am off to the computer. We are always testing new flowers so I can see how they fare. So the kitchen table always has an experimental flower on it. The kitchen table is from Ethnic Craft.”

One item you must have on your workstation and why?

PHOTO: Charlotte Puxley

“A small vase of flowers of course. But aside from that, my bright bag of treats, which include Aesop facial spray and now essential oils.”

What new perspectives have you gained a year on after everyone started WFH?

“Take smiles and love wherever you find them. Be it from enjoying a beautiful ceramic cup in the morning, flowers on the table or having a laugh while washing the dogs (a favourite kid activity in our house). It’s the small things that will make your day.”

6. Jaime Lee, co-foundeer of The Paper Bunny

What is your approach to creating your WFH desk and environment?

PHOTO: Jaime Lee

“I don’t have a study room at home, so I work from my dining table which is my work desk in the day. In addition to my laptop, I always need my desk planner and planner with me, a pen, a cup of coffee, a glass of water and I’m set to go for the day.”

Where is your desk located in the home, and where did you get your desk from?

“The dining room! My table is from Comfort Design.”

One item you must have on your workstation and why?

PHOTO: Jaime Lee

“My desk planner and my annual planner. Seeing my to-dos for the day and the schedule for the week helps me keep in mind what’s coming up next, and what I need to work through. It keeps me efficient and productive, and gives me a sense of accomplishment ticking them off the list.”

What new perspectives have you gained a year on after everyone started WFH?

“I’ve learnt that discipline is an essential skill and tool in maintaining a healthy WFH life. This includes discipline to take meals at mealtimes, discipline to make an extra effort with the team to ensure that we are always communicating and staying connected, and discipline to take a break when you need a change of environment, to recharge and gain new perspectives.”

7. Steph Leong, marketing executive at The Paper Bunny

What is your approach to creating your WFH environment?

“I feel my desk and environment is set up for efficiency. I have everything I need so I don’t have to leave my desk too often. Scent and music form a big part of my environment so I’d usually turn on my diffuser to start the day, and I have different playlists for different work task situations as well. I also love that I’m getting a lot of sunlight at my desk because it helps boost my productivity.”

Where is your desk located in the home, and where did you get your desk from?

PHOTO: Steph Leong

“Given that I’m renting a room at the moment, space is limited so my desk serves as both my work desk and vanity corner – which works out because I can get myself ready to look presentable at Zoom meetings. But sometimes when my cats are getting a little needy, I’ll move down to sit on the carpet so they can be beside me as I work.”

One item you must have on your workstation and why?

PHOTO: Steph Leong

“Scent is very important to me so I’ll usually turn on my diffuser with peppermint-lemon scent to help me focus. And hydration is key! So I’ll make sure I have a bottle of water on my desk so I don’t have to keep getting up to rehydrate. Lastly, I need my to-do list, desk planners and notebooks to jot down ideas & notes, as well as keep track of my schedules and tasks.”

What new perspectives have you gained a year on after everyone started WFH?

“I realised it actually takes a lot of discipline to WFH because there are so many distractions in the house. Hence I think it’s important to create a space for you to work effectively. And it’s important to create a separation where you work and where you wind down in your room or home so that you can properly power through work, and move somewhere else to take a break when you need it.

Also, communication with your team is very important. Sometimes it’s hard to convey your ideas, or you may have ideation blocks because you can’t have impromptu face-to-face conversations to bounce ideas off each other. And mostly it’s just about being accountable to the team. I feel WFH conditioned me to be a better communicator and trained me to be much more independent.”

This article was first published in Female.