By Crystal Shepherd
Working in a space that is invigorating, refreshing, and focused is key to our morale and productivity. Not only are we working from home more, but we’re also spending more time in our homes in general. This makes the threat of distraction and lack of productivity feel even more daunting. It has never been more important to make sure our spaces encourage good work habits. As we adjust to WFHL (Work From Home Life), we must ask ourselves whether our current home offices are optimizing our performance, and if not, how do we make sure our working spaces work for us?
Maximizing our exposure to natural light has been proven to make people feel happier, healthier, and more alert. White light exposure reduces stress, illness, and ultimately leads to more productivity and higher morale. We recommend maximizing the white, or natural, light in your home office, whether that means moving your desk closer to large windows or shifting your office to the highest floor of your home. As we are all spending less time outside these days, it becomes especially prudent to ensure our exposure to natural light. And, if you need a final push to make this change, studies show that white light exposure also increases your quality of sleep!
Houseplants not only provide visual appeal and improve air quality, but they can also have a positive effect on your well-being and productivity. In fact, a study conducted by four universities in Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands found that employees were 15% more productive when working in offices with houseplants. Rather than dreading a drab at-home office, introducing plants to your space will reduce stress and anxiety by encouraging the mind to enjoy its surroundings.
In addition to plants, this study also found that those “who actively engage with their surroundings are better workers.” When you’re psychologically attracted to your environment, you enjoy your work more and are happier overall. Yes, it’s really that simple. So be sure to decorate your office with pictures, souvenirs, and any other visually stimulating items!
Introducing mindful colors to your office also encourages happiness and focus. Colors that you feel are “boring” can lead to sadness and depression, especially if you’re surrounded by them for long periods of time. We recommend putting colors in your office that work well for you, as various colors affect the mind differently. Blue encourages relaxation and restoration, whereas pink and orange can invigorate the mind, making one energetic and excited. Ask yourself what type of worker you are, and what colors are the best to support your work ethic. Unless you want to take on a new large-scale project, you don’t even need to repaint your office. You could get crafty, creating colorful banners or art. Or, you could incorporate specific colors through photo frames, mugs, and planters. The point is to do what works best for you and your personal needs as a worker.
While not everyone has the luxury to dedicate a specific room as an office, these productivity tips can be applied anywhere. Maybe the only space you have is a desk in your bedroom or a breakfast bar in your studio apartment. You can incorporate white light, mindful colors, plants, and art anywhere that suits your lifestyle. Choose where your productivity space will be, and be sure to devote that spot as a Work Only space. For example, if you need a visual reminder of where your office space is, but you don’t have a door or a wall surrounding it, try using tape on the floor to create a visual cue. Just be sure that you and your family know what is “Work-Only” space and what isn’t.
The key to designing your at-home workspace is keeping in mind your own personal needs. What will help you be the most productive, attentive, and joyful? It’s essential that you enjoy your home office because you’ll likely be spending many hours in this space! Make sure it’s personable and personalized. It’s not only your office, but it’s also your space to encourage self-care and joy while remaining productive. Keep that in mind, and you can’t go wrong.
P.S. If you need to do a little shopping for your home office space, visit our friends at Hygge Life for everything from design inspiration to great handmade items!