When you think of your ‘home office’, what springs to mind?
A dedicated space that’s free from all distractions? A desk with dual monitors and assorted stationery? Or maybe it’s that ergonomic chair your neck and shoulders are forever thankful for.
Whether you’re a keen remote worker or you prefer to be in the company HQ, it’s safe to say that most people’s home office setups are pretty well-established now. We’ve picked an appropriate spot. We’ve switched internet providers. And some of us have become proud plant parents.
But while ‘working from home’ has been heralded as a productivity booster in the hybrid world of work, there’s no denying that there are a few potential pitfalls. Not everyone feels productive from home all of the time—even though we’ve collectively been doing it for the past two years.
Of course, it’s normal to have the occasional ‘off’ day. But if it’s a persistent problem, it could be time to reassess your home office setup—and psychologists and designers alike think the answer lies with our interior design choices.
So, how can we decorate our home offices to maximum productivity?
Add a touch of colour
Colours are powerful. They can influence our productivity levels, how we interact with others and also our mental wellbeing. Since the pandemic, there’s been a new wave in interior design that’s dedicated solely to making us feel better through colour, and that’s ‘dopamine décor’.
Dopamine décor is when we inject the use of colour to our homes to help motivate and make us happier. ‘Dopamine is essentially the “feel good” chemical our bodies produce when we’re experiencing something pleasurable”, says Emily Harnasz, interior expert and founder of Swish Colour Consultancy. “Therefore dopamine décor is design that makes us feel good.”
But it’s worth noting that not everyone is able to paint the walls of their home office. Whether you’re a renter or your “office” doubles up as a kitchen or lounge, you can still incorporate colour to your home working setup through the use of accessories, such as trinkets, photos and posters.
Psychologists have been saying for years that our brains are wired to associate certain colours with certain feelings. So, consider the type of work you do and the issues you tend to face. For example, creatives should opt for a stronger colour palette to boost innovation and motivation.
Here are a few more examples:
- Blue is known for its calming and stabilising effects. This can help you remain focused on a task, especially since research shows that people are more productive in blue rooms.
- Red can boost brain activity by increasing your heart rate and blood flow. This is an ideal choice for work that requires you to be energised and upbeat (sales and CS teams, we’re looking at you!)
- Green is a colour that’s suitable for long work hours. Research has shown that it doesn’t wear on the eyes, and helps to keep you calm and focused all at once—ideal for meeting tight deadlines.
Light up your workspace…the right way
Lighting is one of the most important factors in staying focused and feeling motivated, yet it’s often overlooked. It’s no secret that bad lighting can cause fatigue, eyestrain and migraines—and dark and dingy spaces can actually produce feelings of depression. Yikes.
Many home offices already have ambient lighting that includes overhead or recessed lights. This is background lighting that illuminates the entire space. But researchers agree that this lighting is not enough, as it’s not designed for the functionality of a ‘working from home’ setup.
Therefore, it’s crucial to add additional sources of light. Here are a few examples:
- Task Lighting is a practical type of light that enables you to concentrate. Colder tones, such as blue lighting, is most effective here. Simply screw a smart bulb into your directional desk lamp or low hung pendants, and change the colour to boost your brainstorming session.
- Natural Lighting is always ideal in a home office. It contributes to a number of health benefits, such as mood, sleep and vitamin D levels—all of which helps us maintain productivity levels. It’s best to have natural light in front of or next to work surfaces and computer screens to avoid glare.
Get comfortable…but not too comfortable
Maintaining good posture while you’re working from home is essential. After all, it’s incredibly difficult to be focused and productive when you’re constantly rubbing your aching shoulders or straining to see your screen.
The solution? No, not working from the comfort of your bed. But investing in a good, ergonomic office chair. This ensures that you’re sitting comfortably in the correct position, but not too comfortably. Here are some quick ergonomic checks to consider:
- Invest in a computer stand. Your eyes should be 24-36 inches from the computer screen, and the top of the monitor should be below or at eye-level.
- Invest in a sit-stand desk. Psychologists found that using a sit-stand desk can boost productivity, decision-making and general feelings of happiness. What’s more, participants were 28% more creative when using a sit-stand desk.
Add your favourite scents
Just like the colours in our home offices, our sense of smell can powerfully affect our mood and mindset. This is what workspace providers, like Uncommon, are consistently getting right. They utilise the power of scent in all of their workspaces to lift their members’ mood and aid creativity.
What’s more, research suggests that our ability to recall information may be improved by inhaling a fragrance you breathed in while absorbing said information. So, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate scents and essential oils to your ‘work from home’ setup. Here are a few examples:
- Peppermint is an energy booster. Research suggest this scent invigorates and stimulates clear thinking.
- Lavender and Jasmine can relax us and decrease our heart rates. Psychologists recommend taking several whiffs to recharge during our work breaks and prevent an afternoon slump in focus.
- Citrus scents, such as Lemon, can promote concentration. It also has clarifying properties that are helpful when you’re feeling angry, anxious or burnout.
Bring in nature
It’s no secret that spending time in nature boosts productivity. Why? Well, nature offers a calming environment and a break away from the bombardment of external stimuli. It can support working memory and cognitive performance—which, in turn, increases productivity and energy levels.
So, how can you bring in nature to your home office? First, it’s vital that your workspace has a window in it. As mentioned earlier, dark spaces can contribute to feelings of depression—so having a window where you can instantly connect yourself back to nature is definitely the way to go.
But in terms of decorative objects, here are our top suggestions:
- Invest in a few potted plants. This is an excellent way to breathe life into your home office. Research even suggests having plants in your workspace can improve productivity levels by 15%.
- Harness the power of water. Whether it’s a fish tank or an affordable desk fountain, the movement of water can actually help to lower blood pressure and symptoms of anxiety.
Work in a top-quality workspace from time-to-time
While working from a top-quality on-demand workspace doesn’t contribute to your home office décor—there’s no denying that getting a change of scenery can do wonders for your productivity.
On-demand workspaces—workspaces that can be booked by the day or hour—are hugely beneficial because they’re designed to help their members live and work well. While each workspace is unique, most provide an array of facilities and services that boost productivity.
From phone booths to meditation pods, these workspaces are fully-equipped to facilitate all types of work and play. Keen to try one out? We make this easy with the Hubble Pass: your all-access ticket to a global network of coworking spaces, private day offices, meeting rooms and event space.
If you’re new to the Hubble Pass and would like find out whether it’s suitable for your team, we offer a one month trial where every employee will receive four free day passes to access coworking spaces. No commitment. No limitations. No wastage.