You might think that going for function over form in your home office will encourage focus and improved work, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The answer to improved productivity in your at home office is to create a space that you find pleasurable to be in, that makes you feel energized and capable. Check out these ways to improve your office below and see how many of them you can incorporate into your own home office!
Natural Lighting: Artificial light is important for facilitating work, but forgetting to use natural light in your office is a common mistake. Natural light is energizing, letting the outdoors in just a bit. It has documented mental health benefits including reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms, and helps us produce vitamin D which is critical to focus and acuity. So open up your blinds while you work and see the difference.
Quiet and Calm: One of the worst distractions is the one many of us invite while we work – namely, noise. Noise, especially talking or constant noises are incredibly distracting and causes the quality of our work to suffer. So if you’re currently working someplace that’s noisy or high-traffic, consider finding a new place to work. Spare rooms are a great place for a home office, but even a corner of your living room away from doorways can be quiet enough. Look around your own home and find some quiet spots you could use.
Be Mindful of Color: You’ve probably heard that fast food restaurants choose the colors of their dining room because they make you hungry. This color psychology extends beyond food, and can actually be harnessed to improve our productivity.
Red for Energy: This is a more physical energy, so best if your job involves a lot of hands-on work.
Blue for Relaxation: Best for jobs that involve a lot of reading or other low energy activities, helping you stay on task without getting fidgety
Green for Calm: Great for jobs where your mind needs to be active, especially if you’re prone to anxiety around your work.
Ergonomic Furniture: Discomfort discourages work and focus. It’s difficult to focus when your body is telling you something is wrong. If there is any part of your home office you should spend a bit of money on, it’s your chair and desk. You need to be comfortable to work effectively, and you’ll spend most of your time in your chair at your desk, so those two things need to be as close to perfect as your budget can take you. From there, consider the height of your monitor and adjust the height accordingly, either by placing it on top of something or with an articulated monitor arm.
Make It Yours: Don’t let the title “office” discourage you from decorating your home office in a way that makes you happy. Avoid clutter, but take some time to decorate your space with whatever plants, posters, paintings, and tchotchkes so that you enjoy walking into your office and standing up to leave. Enjoying the space you work in is critical to it’s proper function.
Eliminate Distractions: This includes distractions we create for ourselves while we work. I think we all know that an internet connection is a curse on productivity; who can resist the urge to browse, check social media, watch a YouTube video, and I’ll get to my work later. While it’s not practical for most of us to shut off our internet while we work, we can take smaller steps to reduce distractions. Keeping social media shut off, our phones where we can’t see, hear, or feel them, no extraneous programs downloaded on your work computer. We all have our own distractions, so think about what those are and try to imagine how to reduce them.
Keep Work In The Office: And vice versa! When you need to work, go into your office to work. Don’t let your work life spill out into your personal life, which is prone to happening when you’re working from home. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to want to be in your office. You also want to avoid letting your personal life leak through the office door. Keep hobbies, quality time, dressing, etc. out of your office. This pair will keep you focused on work while in your office and focused on your life while outside of it.
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