Covid-19 has changed how people view work culture, productivity, and most importantly, the office space immeasurably. There is no going back, and with regard to some elements of ‘work’, we couldn’t be happier. No more post-work pints with folk spouting questionable opinions. No more hiding the following day’s hangover from your boss. No more unholy commute which eats into your free time and your wallet.
That said, there are certain elements of ‘working from home’ which are taking a little getting used to. In particular, many have found it tough to adjust to juggling domestic life with deadlines, and as such, efficiency can suffer when you’re #wfh. So much can be remedied by getting your home office kitted out and primed for a productive day’s work. Here’s how; our 5 home office design hacks IDEAL for better productivity.
A DISTRACTION FREE ZONE
You want – no, you need – to create your home office in a space shielded from distractions. Ideally, allocate a room that you can dedicate solely to work, but even devoting a desk to your work – and your work alone – can provide the necessary focus required to get things done. The worst thing you can do is have a temporary spot on the kitchen table which you keep having to uproot; not ideal for concentration and improved output, that’s for sure.
If you’re able to, endeavour to distinguish between work and home life, drawing a line between the two, physically and metaphorically each day. Have set times when you complete your domestic chores, preferably after work hours, and eat your lunch away from your desk, too. When you finish your working day, perform a small ritual to symbolise shutting up shop, like packing your laptop away in its case or setting an out-of-office reply, so you’re able to relax and tune out until the following morning.
Like any office space, organisation is key to a smoothly sailing ship. Essential physically, for finding documents easily, it’s also vital psychologically; a tidy desk equals a tidy mind, after all.
Simple steps get the job done here; by affixing shelves to your wall or investing in a new desk with several drawers, you’ll be able to arrange items in an orderly fashion. Of course, going paperless is the best solution to mitigate clutter and that sense of disorganisation, but be warned that a minimalist approach can make your home office feel incomplete and clinical. With all that in mind, you’ll need something to ponder and inspire you…
VISUAL INTRIGUE & INSPIRATION
Since you plan to spend the better part of your day working in this room, it might as well spark joy and creativity. Let’s start with the colourscape; it needn’t be muted, downbeat or dull. It’s been suggested that a highly saturated blue shade arouses the mind, so for analytical work grounded in logic, this is a great choice. Blue can improve efficiency and focus, and create a better overall sense of well-being. However, if your work runs on emotion and creativity needs fueling, a vibrant orange or yellow are best at stimulating the imagination.
Don’t stop with that fresh lick of paint. You can also get creative with the art and photography you hang, designed specifically to evoke insight and positivity. Of course, this is dependent on the type of worker you are, as well as your own unique interests, but something along the lines of a big impact piece of art, such as a photowall mural or candid set of black and white portraits could be the ideal fit. Another option could be to create a gallery wall of some of the most important moments in your life, serving as a document of (and further inspiration for) your journey. You never know, a shot of you #wfh might make it onto the wall eventually. One can only dream.
HARNESS THE POWER OF TECH
If only you could do this thing with a blunt pencil and some toilet roll, but in reality, and even in the age of ‘going paperless’, some items of tech will make your work life so much easier. In the home office setting, we’ve found that ergonomic adjustments are particularly useful to improved productivity.
Wireless keyboards and mouses make interaction with your computer much easier (and less physically impactful), particularly when using a table which wasn’t originally destined to be a desk. What’s more, a laptop stand which positions your screen at the correct height can do wonders for improving focus. Interestingly, experts now believe that your computer screen should be at the height of an ironing board…food for thought, indeed. Rather than perching your laptop precariously on one, consider investing in a standing desk instead, which can banish some of the dangers presented by the increased sedentary working day.
A well-lit office, preferably with plenty of natural light, is essential to a buoyant, fruitful mood when at work. You’re spending the day working in the same spot, the least you can do is allow in more light, whether this is by hanging a couple of mirrors to bounce the light around the room, or by always having a window open to feel more connected with the outside world.
However, you should strive to ensure that the natural light is controlled; align your workspace such that the sunlight doesn’t disrupt either by being too bright or creating shadows. If your office doesn’t allow sufficient natural light, be sure to supplement it with artificial light. Most importantly, mitigate the risk of digital eye strain presented by having the wrong light levels and screen brightness. You can read more from the experts (us) about preventing digital eye strain; just don’t squint while doing so!