Improve Your Environment for Well-Being at Home
Needless to say, we’ve all been through a lot in the past few weeks. From the news of a worldwide pandemic to the official order that all non-essential businesses must shut their doors and work remotely, it’s been difficult to process all of the changes to our daily routines.
When we began transitioning from our co-working space at Studio88 to our home offices, our President (and fearless leader) Chris Johnson gave us a valuable reminder: in times of great uncertainty, we must focus on what we can control rather than what we cannot.
With that spirit, we wanted to share a few methods we’re using to improve our environments and promote well-being at home. These simple changes will promote a sense of calm and boost overall happiness. It’s our hope during this challenging time that we all take intentional steps towards taking care of ourselves, improving our environments, and maintaining focus on the areas of our life that are within our control.
An Interior Design Perspective on Working from Home
Define Your Space
Add a personality area rug to define your workspace when possible. It sets a creative tone as well as a physical boundary for other family members. Many online sources such as Wayfair, CB2, West Elm, and Crate & Barrel carry various sizes, shapes, and styles. Still find your mind wandering off while you’re trying to work? Create a small vision board or simply keep a couple of images of the subject you are working on in close view to help you stay focused. Keep post-its nearby to jot down ideas as they come to you through your creative process.
Light Up Your Life
Is your desk dark or poorly lit? Rearrange lamps, dimmers, and candles to enhance your workspace lighting. Notice how natural light changes as the day carries on. If you feel yourself losing steam, you can increase the intensity of your lighting. Set an alarm when it’s time to start winding down at the end of the day and dim the lighting to support your natural circadian rhythm.
Bring in the Great Outdoors
Re-position furniture to bring your home office closer to windows, patios, balconies, or skylights. Create areas within your space where plants are the center of focus without TVs or electronics nearby. Bring in cut flowers from outside and put in a vase to add color and life to your space. With a focus on houseplants, wildflowers, soft textures, and earth elements, you can make this a space to rest and recharge.
Invest in a comfortable ergonomic chair if possible. It will make all the difference in how you feel at the end of the day.
Incorporate a sound diffusion strategy. When working in close quarters with others working or playing at home, sound-canceling headphones or earbuds are a must for total concentration. Download a favorite playlist, tune into a Pandora collection or YouTube some soothing music or nature sounds to drown out other conversations, encouraging focus and creativity.
Use Color to Affect Your Mood
Transform your home into a sanctuary. Need a creativity boost? Use palettes with a focus on hues of green. If you’re looking for a little help calming down, blues are the way to go. Find inspiration with this color tool created by Sherwin-Williams. Home Depot and Lowe’s are still open, so take advantage of a little extra time in your day and paint a wall in your office, extra room, or wherever you are setting up shop to give it a fresh look.
Maintain a clear workspace and notice how it affects the clarity of your thoughts. Make sure personal items are out of view to keep you from being distracted. Make a habit of organizing and clearing your desk at the end of each day so you can start tomorrow fresh. To clear mental clutter, make a shortlist of non-negotiable daily tasks you want to incorporate into your new WFH routine.
Infuse Your Day with Fresh Air
Take breaks when you can and get outside. A short walk in nature for a change of scenery will do wonders to energize you midday. Eat lunch outside on a deck, patio, or lawn (weather permitting.) Leave your phone in the office to get a true mental escape.
Keep Your Office Hours
Stick to your home “office hours” and do all household chores before or after your home workday to define the boundary between home and work as much as possible. During your lunch hour, allow only what you would if you were at the office, like a short errand or personal phone call.
Justify your otherwise commute time with a special treat at the end of the day as a reward for staying focused. Add in an online yoga class, prepare an otherwise too time-consuming week-day meal for the family, or play a board game or game of basketball in the driveway with your kids for the extra 30 to 60-minute commute you may otherwise have had if you were going to the office. Build in intentional joy and happiness in nurturing ways on a daily basis to compensate for the stress and inconvenience that the current situation brings.