Shelter staff shares about working in – and on – the home

We thought it’d be a while before we opened more than a dozen satellite offices throughout the Twin Cities (and western Wisconsin)! But, like so many others, we’ve adapted to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

To provide a peek inside our “new normal,” we’ve collected comments from our staff. Team members reveal a bit about their new working conditions — and offer tips for improving your own home office spaces and exploring home improvement projects.


Shelter team meets up for happy hour on Zoom.


Favorite Feature: What I like about my home-based workspace

“The daylight that comes into the house.” – Jackie M.

“My painting studio is downstairs.” – David J.

“The door. (I previously lived in an open loft.)” – Lisa A.

“My Mr. Coffee mug warmer (more than 20 years old). It keeps my freshly brewed cup piping hot!” – Scott B.

“I’ve found that I really like a stand-up desk! I tend to think best when I pace, and a stand-up desk REALLY accommodates that. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to realize that!” – Kurt G.

“Being able to take a quick walk or run in the middle of the day without the hassle of having to look presentable afterward.” – Hal S.

“Not having to pack lunch before the workday starts.” – Jen H.

“Spending extra time with my pup. He finds video calls very interesting and usually tries to join in the fun!” – Beth H.


Room for Improvement: How I’ve taken my home office up a notch

“I painted my walls! Color: Sherwin Williams Iron Ore.” – Lisa A.

“I brought in a traditional office chair to make the hours at my desk a little more comfortable.” – Andrea F.

“I created a quiet zone with signage for the kids, so they know when I’m working, in a meeting or just needing people to be a little quieter.” – Hal S.

“I created an office atmosphere by changing wall decor, rearranging lamps and adding normal desk accessories.” – Stevi E.

“New speakers. From the opening notes of Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A Major to hot banjo licks and the dirtiest blues harp — crisp music brings this place to life.” – Greg E.


Here’s an Idea: Tips for improving YOUR home-based workspace

“Make room for physical activity. I have a bike trainer and a yoga mat set up, so it’s easy to get my heart rate up and de-stress.” – David J.

“Find the most comfortable chair and working surface. When the chair height and work surface don’t work together, it can make working from home uncomfortable and ultimately less productive. If a chair isn’t the right height, sometimes adding a footrest can help body posture.” – Beth H.

“Create a space for ‘work only.’ Leave work-related things in that area so you feel the daily transitions from your ‘home’ to your ‘job’ and back. This allows you downtime in a separate space, so you’re refreshed when returning to work. It creates in-home work-life balance.” – Stevi E.

“Work next to a plant.” – Greg E.


During My Downtime: Working on the rest of my home

“We made over the powder bath, painted the kitchen and tiled the backsplash. We also cut down our stepped kitchen island and made it one level with a new countertop. Now we’re in the process of painting it!” – Andrea F.

“Many closed businesses and stores are having sales online. We decided it might be a good time to look into furniture that we’ve been meaning to replace, like our dining chairs.” – Jen H.

“We’ve started repainting and remodeling the kids’ bedrooms since we have some extra time. This has the added benefit of keeping the kids busy with something other than their phones and devices. 😉 ” – Hal S.

“We demolished our old back deck and built a new one. Social distancing pro tip: We ordered all the lumber and building supplies online and had them delivered. We used a Bagster to get rid of the waste. No up-close interactions required!” – Kurt G.


While You’re There: Thoughts on enhancing your home environment

“Maybe being home is a time to take notice of what works and what doesn’t, so when we come out of this, you can take action and reach out for help.” – David J.

“Remove unnecessary items and donate them to a local charity that has contactless pickup.” – Lisa A.

“Start organizing your thoughts and ideas. Houzz idea books ( or Pinterest boards ( are good places to start. Pro tip: As you save images, edit the captions so you remember why you saved the images in the first place!” – Beth H.

“It’s a great time to look at updating your interior colors, fabrics and fixtures. Give us a call! We can help.” – Hal S.

We’re ready when you are! To discuss home improvement ideas, contact us at 612-870-4081 or

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