During these times of COVID-19 there has been a significant increase in people working from home. We know how important it is to stay productive and to have a space that actually encourages you to get things done! (Your employers can thank us later!)
We are going to give you actionable and science based tips to improve your home office space! Did you know there is actually a thing called Evidence Based Design? More on that later, let’s get to it!
Have a Dedicated Workspace
Research has shown that working from home increases employee productivity by 13%, but like anything in life, you need to set yourself up for this kind of success. Which brings us to our first tip, have a dedicated space such as:
- Seperate Room: Having a dedicated room is optimal. Somewhere away from a lot of noise and distractions and with access to natural daylight.
- Dedicated Work Surface: We know not everyone can have a dedicated room to work in, so the next best tip is to have a dedicated work surface whether that is an area in your kitchen, living room, etc. Anywhere you can leave what you are working on that day out, so the next day you can easily pick up where you left off. This will also minimize stress and create a healthy work life balance knowing you can end at 5 to be with family and not waste time the next day dragging everything out again.
Let Natural Light In
Did you know that artificial light can disrupt our sleep patterns, increase feelings of depression, diabetes, obesity and more? This leads us to our next concept, make access to natural daylight a priority! Here are some simple rules to follow to create a lighting environment that promotes productivity and well-being:
- Eliminate Use of General Overhead Lighting: Overhead lighting could cause glare on your screen which causes eye strain. If possible utilize a task light and natural daylight as your primary lighting. Another good option would be to install a dimmer switch to your ceiling light and have it dimmed as you work. (similar to this photo)
- Shine a Task Light on Your Worksurface: Fun fact, studies have shown that using placing an exposed bulb in your work area, fosters creativity and bright ideas! (Exposed Bulb Study). Another great task light would be one that has an articulating arm, dimmable and color changing. (Task Light)
Additionally, exposure to blue light at night is particularly harmful. This is the light that is emitted from our cell phones, TVs and computers and some LED light bulbs. It is recommended that you wear protective blue light blocking glasses. My favorite pair can be found on amazon here: Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Lighting can be complicated, to get optimal lightning in your home that positively impacts your health and well being, consult with a certified interior designer or a lighting designer. You can read more about the studies done on lighting here: Dark Sky – Lighting and Human Health
Let Nature In
There have been many studies showing the effect of Biophilic Design, we will share more of this concept in another blog post so stay tuned! One simple way to bring in peace, clean the air, reduce sickness, and boost creativity, is to simply get a plant!
People instinctively feel better when closer to nature. In Japan, they actually practice something called forest bathing, shinrin-yoku. Which means bathing in the forest atmosphere or taking in the forest through our senses. Bringing natural elements into our spaces can make us feel more comfortable and ease with our long busy days.
If you are not a fan of bringing natural plants, you can accomplish some of the health benefits by using artificial plants and using natural colors, patterns and textures.
- Here is a list of the best indoor house plants: 10 Indoor House Plants
- And if you are local to Lubbock, TX, you can purchase your own house plant from All Flowered Up Too here! ELEMENT (enter the code: ELEMENT)
Ergonomics refers to the way the human body interacts with your work environment. Incorporating ergonomics into your office will improve your productivity, make you more comfortable, and prevent stress and injury.
We spend the majority of our work day sitting, this makes your chair one of the most important components of a home office. Your chair should support your body and reduce injuries, illness and more! But there are other important ergonomics to consider and implement like:
- Height Adjustable Desk: Height adjustable desk makes you move! Because of this we can increase energy and concentration and reduce risk of injury to the body.
- Fully Adjustable Task Chair: Each component of your desk chair should be adjustable. If getting an adjustable task chair is not an option for you, a great alternative is a simple bosu ball. You can alternate sitting on the bosu ball and your typical desk chair.
- Monitor Arms: These allow you to raise and lower your computer screens. The ideal placement of a computer screen to eliminate neck pain is at eye level.
- For More Ideas: Ergonomic Basics
Design for the 5 Senses
We often think of interior design from an aesthetics point of view, but if we intentionally design in a way that appeals to the 5 senses, we then create a space that allows for creativity and productivity.
Think of one of your most prominent memories, where were you? What did that space feel like, smell like, sound like, look like? Chances are, you probably remember all of those details without ever realizing you did! This is because our brains automatically connect senses with emotions. This proves that design is more than just want meets the eye. By creating a space that appeals to our senses we are creating a work environment that allows the mind to learn better, retain information better and many more positive effects when implemented correctly.
Clear the Clutter
Finally, we come to the last concept, clear the clutter. This is one of the most overlooked but easiest to achieve of all the concepts. Organization not only makes your space look better and cleaner. But, it can also lower your stress levels, help you eat better and make you more productive.
By clearing the clutter, you clear your mind and give it the energy you need to get through the day. If organizing is a challenge for you, there are professionals to help with that! If you are in the Lubbock, TX area, I highly recommend Cabri Carpenter with Minimize then Organize