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In this era of the “open-plan office,” employees of businesses both large and small are having trouble concentrating due to noise, distractions and interruptions. Born from these common complaints is a growing interest in working from home.
In fact, employees who have the flexibility to work from home have found it to be the most productive workspace mainly because they’re better able to concentrate without interference from fellow employees.
Even as homeworking is becoming normalized, there are still questions of whether everyone can be truly productive at home. One easy way to make sure you make the most of your time working from home is by using these seven décor hacks to create a more productive home environment for work.
Choose a Scent
Aromatherapy is often used to alter moods and emotions. Subsections of aromatherapy, like oils, are even thought to cure physical ailments, so it’s no surprise that some suggest scents can inspire productivity.
Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, goes further to suggest that smell is the sense most closely associated with memory, so having the right scent in your home office has the potential to improve work performance.
“Many pleasant odors have been found to increase beta waves, the brain activity associated with heightened states of awareness, focus, problem-solving and decision making,” said Backe.
To create a productive workspace, Backe suggested placing essential oil diffusers, scented candles or incense sticks in your home office and using scents like lemon, rosemary or peppermint to induce wakefulness, focus and brain function, respectively.
Add a Plant
If your home office needs a breath of fresh air, try adding an indoor plant to your windowsill or desktop. Not only will this provide a pop of color in your workspace, but plants are known to purify the air in your home by absorbing gases and releasing clean, fresh air.
Caitlin Fisher, content manager for Green Circle Growers, said that the clear air released by indoor plants can boost your mood and improve your productivity.
“Homeowners need to make the most of the space they have available in their home office, and many houseplants can fit in with minimal interruption to the space,” Fisher explained.
Fisher recommended adding a mini succulent that can take up a small corner on your desk, or if space is limited, you can hang a plant from the ceiling or start a window garden.
Any interior designer will tell you that the right lighting can transform a room, but did you know it can also improve your mood? Natural lighting can improve workplace performance as well as limit eye strain, fatigue and headaches caused from fluorescent lighting.
If you have a window and flexibility in the layout of your home office, position your desk by the window for optimal lighting. And speaking of the outdoors, Beverly Solomon suggested creating a decorative flow by tying your office décor to your view of the outside.
“This can open up your space, give a calming effect and can give natural lighting,” said Solomon.
If you don’t have access to natural light, make sure you choose the right indoor lighting option. Bulbs with a blue tone are known to boost energy, and light-therapy devices are known to improve overall mood and emotions.
Different colors have been proven to have different psychological effects. Choosing the right color for your home office can help boost your productivity and even improve your mood.
Color “is great for a productive business workspace designed to support creativity, focus and health,” suggested Katie Anderson of Katie Anderson Interior Design Consultants. “The reason is that color has been studied and proven to have an overall physiological and emotional effect on everyone.”
Depending on what mood you’re going for in your home office, Anderson suggested incorporating shades of green for a calming and creative stimulating effect and shades of blue for focus and assertiveness.
However, don’t go overboard on painting every wall in your home office a bold color, as the color could turn into a distraction. Try incorporating subtle color details in furniture pieces and accessories instead.
Some designers suggest that displaying personal, inspirational pieces in your home office will actually motivate you to work harder. Things like family pictures, scenery from your last vacation or inspirational word boards can make you more productive, they say.
Anderson recommended hanging inspirational artwork, believing that it can motivate you to achieve your goals. She also suggested displaying items collected from personal or professional travels.
“Keep these in your line of vision while you work, or perhaps the first thing you see when you enter your work space, or the last thing you see when you leave,” suggested Anderson.
However, don’t go overboard. Hanging too many pictures or inspirational quotes on your walls could have the opposite effect and make your room feel busy and claustrophobic, rather than open and productive.
Cut the Clutter
An organized home office can contribute to a calmer and more productive working environment while a cluttered workspace can psychologically lead to a cluttered mind, putting a halt on productivity and leaving your necessary supplies scattered.
Don’t let your work supplies overpower your desk space. Solomon suggested a minimalist approach, keeping only the essentials in your workspace and storage at a minimum.
“Don’t go overboard with desk or drawer organizer,” said Solomon. “Instead, pick a few high-impact pieces that can sort your supplies without getting in the way of your work.”
Organize your work by material, storing loose-leaf papers in files in a file sorter and miscellaneous items, like technology chords, in storage bins. You’ll find that you feel more productive when you know where to find exactly what you need, when you need it.
Take a Seat
Your desk and chair are the most important pieces in your home office. They can make or break your productivity, as the wrong size desk or chair can make you uncomfortable and break your focus.
Make sure you spend time looking for the perfect size desk for your needs. If you mainly rely on technology, you might not need drawer storage for papers and supplies. If you find you sit for long periods of time, find a comfortable chair that won’t hurt your back.
“If you can splurge on only one thing in your office, make it your workstation,” asserted Anne Colby, senior editor at Houzz. “Having an ergonomic — meaning efficient and safe – arrangement of your chair, desk, computer, keyboard, mouse and telephone can keep you working more productively and prevent repetitive injuries.”
If you’re looking for more advanced options, there are desks that can adjust to become standing desks (if you need to stand up and stretch) or treadmill desks that allow you to get in exercise while you work.
Get to work!
- Caravan Rug – $78 – $1,798
- Faux Leather Storage Bin – $30
- Electric Adjustable Height Sit/Stand Desk – $624
- Faux Leather File Sorter – $35
- Ergonomic Adjustable Desk Chair – $495
- Essential Oil Diffuser – $25
- LED Light Therapy Lamp – $65
- Grey Felt Letter Board – $21
- Hanging Frame – $50 – $60
- Aloe Vera Plants (2 pc.) – $18
Try incorporating these tips into your home office and let the results speak for themselves! How do you create a productive home office? Share your tips in the comments section below!
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