You may have seen the recent article for InStyle Magazine that I was mentioned in discussing how your work from home environment can impact your mood. Whether it's the construction of your office chair, the height of your desk, or the color of your walls every inch of your home office has an impact on your mental and physical well being. I was asked some pertinent questions and it got me thinking. I need to write about this! The aesthetic of your home office can make or break your level of productivity and your work shouldn't suffer for it. Keep reading to discover how along with my tips on how to improve your workspace.
How does your work-from-home environment impact your productivity, focus, and overall happiness? Why is your environment so important?
One word that seems to be popular this year is “vibes”. The vibes you get from your work-from-home environment can have a significant impact on your productivity, focus, and overall happiness. A workspace that is not built for success can cause distractions, as well as mental and physical fatigue. For instance, lighting that’s too bright can cause headaches. Or a chair with no lumbar support can cause backaches and long-term physical problems. This often time results in getting lost in non-productive actions, like staring at the squirrel outside the window, constantly checking social media, or multiple trips for snacks in the kitchen just to get away from the desk for a moment. Wasted time is wasted money and could even result in disciplinary actions if your office notices a drop in your productivity. Creating a work-from-home environment where you can thrive is very important to being the best YOU during and after business hours.
Is it important to have a workspace that's separate from your living space? Why? Do you have any tips for accomplishing this for people who live in smaller spaces or with roommates/kids/family members? (Maybe even mental tricks to create boundaries between work/home life?)
Having a workspace that is separate from your living space can be a major support in increasing your productivity. It helps to disassociate “home life” from “work life”, even while at home. Ideally, you wouldn’t want to work in the same space you sleep. Your brain likes to connect to the feelings you get once you enter an environment. For instance, you may always feel hungry the closer you are to the kitchen and you may feel most energetic in the family room. The bedroom is meant for resting, so having your workspace there (which is typically high energy, busy work) could send your brain mixed signals, making it difficult to shut work-mode off at bedtime. This of course can be a bit difficult, especially when you’re sharing spaces with family members.
Now that my son is back home from college, I no longer have my home office myself! Plus, with my school age son virtual learning, we’re having to create more workspace boundaries than ever before. So, if you must place your workspace in your bedroom (like I had to do), create a mental box around your desk. Sort of like drawing an imaginary line on the floor. Anything on the left side of this line (your office space) is work mode. As soon as you cross to the right-side of that line, image that you’re away from the office and pretend like you don’t even see your desk. Try not to work in bed (I'm guilty of this). Keep your laptop or computer at the desk logged-off and shut down. Even set times for a hard stop at 5pm and step completely away. Eliminate distractions (sorry hubby, I can’t hear you with these noise canceling headphones) and treat your work-at-home space as you would going into the brick-and-mortar office. You’ll notice your productivity increase during office hours and your peace of mind increase after office hours.
Are there any home products or items you consider must-haves for a healthy home office environment? Please explain why each is helpful/essential.
After having to transition to working from home, I have discovered some my Top 3 essentials for a productive home office.
What actionable advice/tips do you have for creating a healthy/focused work-from-home environment? For each, how does it work and why is it important?
One thing I learned in a color theory course I took in college is the impact of color as it pertains to your productivity, focus and overall mood. A fresh coat of paint is an easy fix to any space that will get you well on your way to a more focused and healthy work-from-home environment. Nature’s colors naturally increase focus. Blues and greens help you stay calm and focused as well as encourage positive well-being. Yellows are great for artists and creatives, because it is a color that brings about optimism.
I also advise getting ergonomic furniture. I sometimes see people sitting in a dining chair at their desk, when ideally, you want to have an actual office chair. The reason being is that office chairs are adjustable to fit different body types and specially designed to support your posture. A good rule of thumb is to have both knees and elbows at a comfortable 90 degree angle while working. Having the right office chair helps to reduce tension in the neck and shoulders, improves posture, and combats strain resulting in a happier, healthier you.
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Veronica Sanders, an award-winning interior designer creating spaces that's authentically you.
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