The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of workers around the world to work from home. For many teams, the experience is new and difficult to adapt to, especially if people haven’t worked remotely before. Beyond the logistics, some employees struggle to create the right environment to continue working productively.
The move from office to home can be disorienting but 77 percent of people actually say remote work increases their productivity. The trick is to create the perfect conditions for increasing home office productivity
Elements like workplace design, colors, plants, sound, and lighting have all been scientifically proven to impact concentration. According to a recent article, bright light makes people happier, white noise helps focus, poor air quality reduces productivity, and the color blue facilitates feelings of calmness and stability.
These subtle nuances show the importance of addressing your space before diving into the day’s tasks. Follow these simple and affordable interior design tips to improve (or ignite) your home office productivity:
The power of plants
Plants very fashionable in homes right now, and they have a noticeably positive effect on increasing home office productivity. According to a recent report, plants can spark up to a 15 percent boost in productivity. Plants represent growth and nurturing, two qualities essential for productivity. Plants remind us we can thrive in a new environment.
Adding plants to your home office eases the transition from outdoors to indoors, relieving feelings of claustrophobia during quarantine. Plants oxygenate the air, making it cleaner and better for your health and performance. If you suffer from asthma, plants can alleviate symptoms by cleaning airborne toxins.
The positioning of plants is key. Assess the sunlight your home office gets, then put plants facing west for the most sunlight. If you don’t have much natural light, pick a plant species that copes well in the shade (e.g. bromeliad, cast iron, peace lilies). Next, research how often the plants will need watering and fit this into your schedule. You may find that watering your plants is a way to take regular recuperation breaks from working.
The color scheme of your home office has a big, subconscious impact on your productivity. While it’s unlikely that you can repaint during quarantine, little color choices can make a noticeable difference.
Drab tones like gray, white, and beige can create a negative atmosphere. Interestingly, these colors are found to have negative impressions on women in particular. Instead, light greens will complement any plants you have in the space, and continue the theme of nature, openness, and freedom. Avoid fluorescent greens, as this can be overwhelming and conflict with natural light.
It’s all about balance. Red can be too intense if it’s overused, yet, splashes of it can inspire passion and competitiveness. So rather than fully dedicate to red, have only a couple of statement pieces to turn to when you’re in need of an energy boost. Ultimately, color preference is subjective, and the best advice is to decorate using shades that have a positive impact on you. For example, if green holds negative connotations for you, don’t use it.
Another great tip is, where possible, try to integrate the brand colors of your company in your home office. This subtle nod to your usual place of work will make you feel more familiar doing business at home, while keeping the feeling of working as a team.
The right furniture
Did you know that people spend roughly 7,709 days of their lives sitting? How you sit matters.
Resin, glass, stone and metal furniture may be stylish but it isn’t always comfortable. When it comes to your home office, prioritize comfort over appearance, and function over form. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise on aesthetics – a lot of furniture that is both practical and attractive increases home office productivity.
Back pain caused by bad posture costs US employers $7 billion per year in lost work days and productivity. How you feel physically has a big impact on how you process information and your levels of creativity. You can’t think clearly if your furniture is causing you pain.
The solution? Invest in furniture and ergonomic supports. A standing desk to stretch your muscles, a chair with back support, a laptop stand to make sure your screen is level with your eyes, and a charging port to prevent you from bending down, are a great place to start. This equipment doesn’t have to be expensive – there are a number of stores, websites, and apps that have a vast range of affordable office furniture. Some brands even give advice on how best to position yourself when you’re working.
Don’t forget that furniture can still set the personality of your remote office without being too distracting. Play with silhouettes, scales, and the layers of furnishings to personalize your space. Mid-Century Modern or Art-Deco are timeless styles that can add a little luxury to a home office while still being professional-looking.
Professional and personal benefits
Working remotely doesn’t have to mean you lose productivity. A well thought-out home office increases home office productivity by improving your concentration, and reducing stress and anxiety. Creating your own perfect spot is great for both your professional and personal well-being.
One of the biggest benefits of a home office is that you can shape a unique workspace for yourself, tailored to your individual preferences. It can also be a fun project to keep your mind occupied during social isolation or simply a chance to explore the budding interior designer in you.