One of the great and often forgotten about benefits of working from home is being able to create your own working environment. Too often in employed office settings we are restricted to dull grey and unenthusiastic atmospheres, but at home you can create a healthy and motivating space that inspires you.
At the moment I share my office with the children’s playroom. I have the bottom third of the room next to the window and the kids have the other two thirds. Originally the whole room was my office, but as the kids grew we felt they needed some space and I was hogging the entire garage conversion! At first it did seem ideal as the kids could play whilst I worked, but the reality is far from different. If I am in sight then you can guarantee they’ll want my attention, or at least to climb all over me and the desk!
In the day times outside of school holidays it works as the kids are at school and nursery, but when they are here it is hard for me to work. I may turn the room back into my office one day and move their belongings to their bedroom, or I’ve even thought of an attic conversion or garden room to give me a private separate office.
Even without the ideal office space right now I have still tried to create a healthy and motivating home office environment. I still much prefer it to any other mundane office setting I have worked in.
Here are four tips to begin to create your own healthy and motivating home office:
Photo by Hutomo Abrianto
Firstly, get the décor right. I am a big fan of white walls so my décor is white. If you love the idea of white painted walls, but think it’s a bit boring or plain, then add a feature wall with some white brick slips, otherwise known as white brick tiles to give the effect of a painted white brick wall. These will add an interesting dimension to the room as well as some texture.
I find a cluttered space makes for a cluttered mind, so keep décor minimal but with ample storage for all your necessary bits and pieces. Use desk tidies and storage boxes to keep things organised. A simple unobtrusive desk plant, a couple of photos of happy memories, an inspiring quote for when you lack motivation and need a reminder of how great you are, and voila. Your inspiring ready to work desk area is complete!
Many people use their smallest bedrooms for an office or the smallest room in the home. This can feel quite claustrophobic in some instances, so the light neutral décor mentioned above is perfect for making the space feel airy and less cramped. In such small spaces it’s important to have good air flow to ensure the air does not get stagnant or too full of CO2. In my blog post ‘Is sleeping with the window open healthy?’ we saw that increased levels of CO2 even contribute to a poorer night’s sleep, so air quality does matter.
This doesn’t mean add plugins and toxic air freshener, as though this will mask any bad odours and make the room smell nice, it’s also toxic for breathing in. Instead try to freshen the air naturally with clean air, use a plant based chemical-free candle or an essential oil diffuser. Keep the door open an inch when possible and open the window to let fresh air circulate. Add indoor plants to purify the air, add a calming green colour and they offer some natural décor.
Sitting is the new smoking. It’s terrible for us, yet in the modern world where most of us work on laptops all day long, we find ourselves sitting down more than ever. Two things I purchased recently which are life savers for sitting down (or rather back savers) are an ergonomic kneeling office chair and a wedge cushion. I use the kneeling chair at my desk and it allows for my spine to be positioned correctly whilst I work instead of being slumped. The wedge cushion is portable and can be placed on regular seats – I use mine on my dining room chairs when I fancy working there for a change of scenery. There are also ergonomic arm rests available which support the elbows, arms and wrists whilst typing for long periods.
If possible, position yourself next to a window. There’s nothing better than natural light to naturally boost your mood and energy levels. Plus it will save the cost of turning on the artificial lighting if you can see your work thanks to free daylight. Keep windows clean with a natural non-toxic cleaner so you’re not put off by smears and dirt when the sun shines through and if it’s too sunny then try a voile to soften the light.
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