The interior design and function of a professional office space gets plenty of attention. But what about the home office? If you’re lucky enough to work from home, follow these tips to make your home office space a veritable hub of creativity, organization and productivity.
Separate your Spaces
Working from home is a definite luxury – no commuting! No dress code! – but it has its drawbacks too. Distractions are everywhere and they can send productivity into a tailspin. If you have a dedicated room for your office space, that’s great. If not, make sure your office area still has a professional air about it. You want it to be comfortable and inviting, but not so cozy that you want to curl up and take a nap. Your workspace elements can certainly reflect your personality, but the goal is a space that fires up your creativity and puts you in the mood to get stuff done.
Build in Some Flexibility
It’s impossible to focus when your back is aching because you’re hunched over the computer. Splurge on an ergonomic chair or consider a large exercise ball – both will keep you comfortable, attentive and alert. Your desk can reflect your style, but if you go for a minimal approach, keep in mind that you’ll still need to factor for organization. Simplify and de-clutter – you want just what you need on hand, and everything should have its place.
Don’t limit yourself to just a desk. When you have a few work surfaces, you have built-in flexibility – and that’s a good thing. Not only can you move around a bit, which is always nice, but having some control over our surroundings has been shown to improve work performance too. Other ways to keep your space fresh and customizable? Incorporate things like task lighting, a fan for airflow and shades to adjust natural light, as well as several seating options if your space allows. Again, being able to arrange your workspace as it suits you from one day to the next gives you a mental boost that you can channel directly into improved productivity.
Pro tip: A chalkboard, whiteboard or bulletin board can help keep you organized. It’s a tidy way of displaying your day or week’s to-do list.
Be Choosy about Colors
Colors are powerful, so do your research. Greens and blues are calming colors associated with creative thinking. Yellow can be stimulating, but too much can actually cause anxiety. Red stimulates the pulse and it can raise your blood pressure, so go easy if you have to have it. And remember that color preferences are ultimately highly personal. It’s less the color itself and more your reaction to it. Go with something that makes you happy.
Pro tip: A white room might seem like a fine choice for a home office, but its sterile characteristics aren’t conducive to work. If you go with white walls, incorporate bright pops of color into your design to keep you energized.
Consider your View
Turns out, a good view is more than just a status symbol. You’ll recharge and de-stress if you can gaze out at nature when your mind needs a break, so keep that in mind when you’re positioning your home office furniture. And don’t despair if your view is less leafy green and more neighbor’s wall. You can still reap some of the benefits of nature by bringing the outdoors in. Try adding a few vibrant plants to your office space, and consider a small, quietly gurgling fountain for peaceful background noise.
Pro tip: Natural wood grain has the same calming effect that nature scenes do, so try incorporating unpainted wood into your space.
Staring at your computer screen all day long is hard on your body and your mind. Take periodic breaks to stretch your legs. You’ll find even short walks of ten or fifteen minutes beneficial. If you’re stuck on a deadline and racing the clock, remember the 20/20/20 rule. Every twenty minutes, stare at something 20 yards away for 20 seconds. It’s a good way to reduce eye strain.