With the number of perks that come with working from home, the significant increase in the number of people telecommuting in the U.S. over the years comes as no surprise.
In contrast to the regular nine to five routine of working at the office, working from home gives you the freedom to choose when to work and where you want to do it. Plus, you get to do whatever you want with your workspace!
Decorating your workspace requires so much more than just putting knick-knacks on top or finding just any table where you can put your laptop.
In order to create a home office setup that would inspire you to perform well and be creative, there are certain things you need to keep in mind.
1. Personalize, but focus on the essentials
It might be tempting to buy all those frames, vases, and other trinkets you think would look good on your desk. After all, you have total control over how you want to decorate it, right?
But remember, the goal here is to set up a workspace that allows you to be productive. Filling your desk with trinkets might only distract you from getting the job done. It doesn’t mean you should just do away with the decorations altogether though.
The key is to create a workspace that’s functional, pretty, and personal at the same time. Instead of buying stuff purely for decoration, buy ones that can both be decorative and useful.
Buy stylish pen holders and storage boxes to add color and personality to your space. This way, you’d get to decorate your workspace with stuff you can actually use.
Your files (and other things that need organizing) should have storage boxes, shelves, or a drawer so you won’t have to deal with clutter in the long run. Make sure only the essentials and things you use most are placed within your reach.
As Peter Walsh, an organizing guru and author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, said: “Your desk is a workstation, not a storage facility.”
Keep personal decorations at a minimum. If you really want to go full-on with the personalization, opt for hanging decorations or place them in a separate desk instead. The important thing is that the things you need are accessible and your trinkets don’t get in the way when you’re doing your job.
It also depends on what type of job you have. If you have a career in design, you can benefit from having a wall or desk filled with artworks and figurines or action figures for it can help trigger ideas. If you have a job that requires concentration, however, they can be a source of distraction.
2. The right color and decoration will go a long way
Now that you have your essentials in place, it’s time to talk about the most exciting part in setting up a workspace–decorating it. Before you get excited to paint the walls of your workspace red or cover it with posters and framed photographs, did you know that even the color and decorations you choose can affect your job performance?
Studies reveal how various colors can influence performance and productivity in the workplace. Red is an intense color and can increase heart and respiration rate upon sight. You would benefit from this color if your work involves physical activity.
Meanwhile, blue and green both have a calming effect. Paint your walls blue if your work needs concentration. This color will help you become more productive. Paint it green if your work usually leaves you feeling stressed, as the right shade can help you feel more comfortable.
Yellow is a color that can exude optimism or cause anxiety, depending on the tone.
The right shade can help stimulate creativity and innovation; therefore, it is recommended if you work as a writer, designer, developer or in any other creative field.
Avoid using neutral colors such as black, gray, and white on their own. These colors can induce sadness and be sterile in large quantities. They are best used to complement and balance brighter colors such as red and orange.
Aside from the color of your workspace, another thing you have to take into consideration is your decorations.
Plants and artworks don’t only add color and aesthetic to your workspace. They play a part in affecting your performance and productivity as well.
Studies suggest that plants offer a visually meditative effect in the workspace. It has also been shown to offer health benefits, improve creativity, and act as great stress busters. Why choose between aesthetic and functionality when you can have both?
Putting up artworks on the walls of your workspace is a good way to add color without having to overload your desk.
A study says having art in the workspace can boost productivity, lower stress, and increase your wellbeing. Images of landscapes, sunsets, or motivational quotes creatively painted on a canvas can provide inspiration and help unlock creative potential.
Wall art also helps add personality to your space. If you make music for a living, you may like your walls decorated with posters of your favorite music artists.
If you’re a graphic designer, you may find that a wall filled with artworks of your own or of other artists can help you come up with creative ideas. Any type of art can bring inspiration, as long as they mean something to you.
3. Keep it distraction-free
Working from home has its perks and disadvantages. You get to work on your own terms, but you are also prone to distractions. Suddenly, the enforced no phones allowed rule in most office environments make sense.
It’s hard to focus on your work when that phone on your desk keeps tempting you. One minute, you’re on your computer typing diligently, the next you’re on your phone reading celebrity gossip on who broke up with whom. It’s easy to get sidetracked as long as you have your phone in sight.
In order to avoid future situations like that, put your phone away when you’re working. You can hide it in a drawer under your desk and make an agreement with yourself to take it out only at assigned times. For best results, put it somewhere you can’t easily reach. This way, you won’t be easily distracted and tempted to use it.
This isn’t only applicable to mobile phones, but to any potential distractors you have on your desk. Your workspace should be used solely for work and nothing else. Keeping it clear from any distractions helps you associate your workplace with a productive-driven mindset.
4. Choose the right spot
Even the spot you choose to create your workspace in can affect your productivity. So, how can you know where the right spot is?
There are several factors you need to consider in order to determine this. Your workspace should be away from any source of distraction, so it should be far from the door. If you have an entire room for your workspace, then it shouldn’t be hard to find a spot. It should also be cool enough so you stay alert, but not too cold that you can’t focus on your work.
The area near the window is usually the best spot for a workspace. It lets you take advantage of natural light which is found to promote health, wellbeing, and productivity.
This is because daylight regulates our bodies’ circadian rhythms, affecting our bodies’ functioning. Deprived of sunlight, we experience an imbalance in hormones, upsetting our ability to get a good night’s sleep and compromising our immune systems.
Daylight is also easier on the eyes compared to most artificial lighting which can have negative impacts on the health.
Working from home might give you the freedom to wear PJs and work on the sofa, but having a workspace is still important. Choosing just any spot in the house to work in will get the job done, but distractions are likely to slow you down.
Having a defined workspace customized to fit your needs and eliminate distractions will not only allow you to work more productively and finish your tasks in time. It also impacts your health positively and benefits you in the long run.
Are you also part of the population that works from home? What other workspace tips can you think of?