As more companies move to remote or hybrid work models, finding motivation at home can be a difficult and daunting task for workers used to thriving in a designated work environment. Conjuring the discipline needed to finish that spreadsheet while in pajamas or tackle that Zoom meeting with a dog’s nose in your lap isn’t an easy task for most people.
But after scouring the web for the best interior design firms, you’re ready to build the perfect workspace at home. You don’t need bright fluorescent lights, gray, square cubicles, or the constant hum of miscellaneous office noise like toe-tapping, staplers clicking, and phones ringing to get yourself into work mode.
Roughly 6 in 10 Americans are now working from home in one capacity or another; they might as well do it comfortably and customize their workspace to their specific needs — something they’ve never had complete control over before.
First, start with natural lighting
No one prefers the buzzing, eye-hurting fluorescent lights of most offices that remind employees of waiting at a doctor’s office or to take the SAT. Using natural light can improve your mood and boost your overall well-being, and can relax workers compared to stress them out.
Also, save on your energy bill by placing your workspace near a large window. Fluorescent and other artificial lights can damage your eyes, cause headaches, and stifle creative thinking and productivity. Soak up the Vitamin D by working near natural sunlight. Other benefits of natural light include:
- Benefits for vision
- Better sleep cycles
- Mood boosting
- Productivity boosting
Decorate your workspace with the right colors.
Choose colors that you prefer to be surrounded by, but keep in mind certain colors have different effects on humans’ emotions and productivity.
Green, for example, provides a happy, natural feeling in the mind, whereas red is known to stress people out, being associated with STOP or warning signs. Blue is generally associated with feelings of calm and relaxation.
In general, use light, airy colors to lighten up your workspace and make it a place of welcome productivity. Surrounding yourself with stressful or dark colors can stifle your creativity and make work feel like much more of a chore.
Choose comfortable furniture that works for you
Since you’ll be spending several hours per day in this new environment, choose furniture you feel comfortable using all day long. If your office had a creaky, hard chair that hurt your back every day, consider working in a recliner or sitting on a couch. It’s your house and your workspace, so choose the furniture that you know makes you the most comfortable and productive.
You’re your own office manager now. Order that new desk you’ve been wanting, or invest in a posture-improving office chair. Placing a few different sitting options in your workspace can allow you to mix it up every day. Consider adding plants or other decor to brighten up your office and add a homely touch.
Personalize your space
Making your workspace somewhere you want to spend time in goes beyond improving productivity or comfortability in your home office. You need to make it yours. Using photographs or personal items to complement your workspace can be a useful motivational tool to get through the week.
Adding your favorite plants, pictures, coffee maker, or inviting your dog to join you for work can ease your mind and intermingle your home and work environments. Hang your Dallas Cowboys poster on the wall if it inspires you to work harder for the weekend. Whatever works, works.
Designate rooms for different work-related activities
If you have the space to do so, consider designating certain rooms for different aspects of your job. If you need to hunker down in a quiet office to get meticulous work done, do it. Then try taking a meeting or phone call outside to the porch to alleviate yourself from your work cave. Taking time to work outside can be a mental reset from your computer, and is encouraged to break up the day and avoid self-burnout.
Certain workers need different environments to be productive. While some prefer silent, dimly lit rooms to knock out assignments, others prefer to have music playing or a TV in the background to focus on work. Eliminate distractions you know will interfere with your work, and lean into what makes you work more efficiently.
Consider investing in a second computer monitor
Consider improving your multitasking skills by adding a second monitor to your work computer. This can help you organize your materials and can make certain functions easier on a daily basis, such as conducting research, writing reports, computer functions like coding, etc.
If several tabs on your computer stress you out, adding a second monitor can simplify your sites and is less likely to overwhelm you as you navigate through the web. Double up on the type of computer you’re already using so the adjustment will be minimal. This can also help you juggle communicating with coworkers and tackling the day-to-day tasks of your job.
Try a standing desk
Sitting down for several hours a day comes with certain health concerns and leads to unhealthy habits. It’s known to lead to higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar, excess weight, and unhealthy cholesterol levels, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In contrast, working on your feet and using a standing desk can help you burn more calories and help with posture. According to WebMD, in a study of call center employees, those with standing desks were 45 percent more productive on a daily basis than employees who sat during their shift. Depending on the nature of your work, standing might not be the most efficient method for accomplishing tasks, such as research or writing. Also, standing desks can lead to leg and foot pain, vein issues, and other health concerns.
Many standing desks are customizable, allowing you to lower the desk and sit when you need a break. But breaking up your sitting and standing can boost productivity and mix up your activities for the day.
These are all just suggestions. Do what works for you, since you don’t need to please anyone else in your home office. Consider trying some of these tips to help you transition, but ultimately find the method that is most beneficial to your productivity and work comfortability.