Hey there. Are you working from home or about to? Then you are in a wonderful position to take control of your work environment. If you’re looking to carve out a home office there are some things you can do to make it feel excellent. And you should, because work spaces that feel good improve productivity.
Offices can be set up anywhere however there are some things that should be accounted for. For instance, you do not want to be packing up your office at the end of every day. It is also not desirable to see it while you’re trying to relax, so try to avoid places like the dining table. Of course not everyone has a dedicated office space so sometimes we have to get creative. Maybe you could try for a desk that is on wheels so it can be rolled away easily at the end of the day. Or a murphy bed with a desk attachment. Offices inside cupboards or screened from common areas are potential solutions. Use shelving units, a screen of plants or a room divider for privacy.
Whether you’re in a dedicated office or not, take a look at if you need some storage. However do not buy storage for storage’s sake. Assess what you truly need to store. Write it down in a list. How much is there and do these things need to be easy to reach? Maybe they need to go on a shelf or drawers right by your desk. I would recommend reducing the amount of clutter that is visible in your office as it is distracting and causes stress.
You may need to keep a whiteboard running however it doesn’t need to be the typical aluminium framed board you see in offices. In my office I’m currently using white squares of toughened glass and have previously used an A1 picture frame with a block colour in it. Alternatively blackboard or magnetic paint might work well for you.
Even at home you need to account for basic things like an ergo set-up. When selecting an office chair there are many beautiful options however you should prioritize an adjustable seat height and tilt function. Information on good ergonomics is available online and your workplace health and safety officer should still be able to give good advice via email. Your body will thank you.
So that’s some of the functional things out of the way but what about the things that give you that warm and fuzzy feeling. There is no reason an office space should feel utilitarian. You should enjoy the space you work in. Take time to beautify your space and make it personal, especially since it’s at home and there are no company rules controlling it.
Maybe you would like to get creative and wallpaper or paint your walls. Colour can actually reduce stress and improve focus and creativity if selected correctly. For colours most in tune with our psychology choose tones referenced from nature and understand which colours elicit which feelings and outcomes. For example blue creates spaces for greater focus and the colour green increases creativity. Red encourages urgency (the reason it is used for emergency buttons) which may cause stress while yellow delivers feelings of happiness. It is important to consider the balance of colour in your space. While you may want to include yellow for happiness it can also be distracting so consider restricting it to a small pot or piece of art.
If your office happens to be in a larger space, colour can have the added benefit of zoning your space. Don’t feel the need to use your colour in a traditional way. It could be angled down a wall for creativity, a painted pinboard for your important notes or coloured furniture such as shelving or a chair. Add colour and interest via a piece of art, your kids’ photos and small reminders of your work and life goals on beautiful paper. Pop them into frames or onto a pretty pin board.
Now here’s one of the greatest benefits of working from home (other than the laundry happening in the background). Your potential connection to the natural world. On average we spend a staggering 90% of our time indoors. However a Harvard Business Review showed that a connection to nature is rated as the most highly sought after office attribute. Higher than gyms, pay rises and onsite daycare. Why? Because we have an innate connection to the natural world that makes us feel good. We know that being in and around nature reduces stress and that being exposed to daylight can improve your sleep as it helps to set your circadian rhythm (body clock). A University of Melbourne study showed that a 40 second view to nature will increase cognitive capacity. So add a couple of air cleansing plants to your space and try to squeeze in a view. Add a botanical room scent and a rug made from natural fibres for texture. Use timber for your furniture and open a window. It’s definitely worth trying for.
You may not be able to achieve all of these things however I hope that you treat yourself to a beautiful home office that works for you. You deserve it. xo Bec