Design tips to steal from the office to foster productivity, concentration, and creativity in your home workspace
Whether you're working out of an office or from the comfort of your home, the design of your workspace matters. And that's because interior design has the ability to inspire, energize, and motivate. Bearing this in mind, commercial employers are more invested than ever in the curation of dynamic, thoughtfully designed workspaces.
With that said, people are shifting to work from home in growing numbers, which poses the unique opportunity for telecommuters to create home workspaces that are conducive with health, happiness, and efficiency. Below, we take cues from commercial offices that inspire productivity and showcase sophisticated style in equal parts, and talk about how you can bring these design elements into your home office or workspace.
The psychology of color
Office design has come a long way from the naked white walls and bulky beige furniture of the '90s. Today, we are much more in tune with the role color plays in how we feel, think, and perform. And while neutral colors will always be a safe choice when decorating any interior space, taking chances with color in your home office based on the demands of your workday can be subconsciously beneficial.
For example, according to color psychology, earthy colors like green and blue help to boost relaxation, mitigate stress, and foster intellectual thought. (Studies show that blue can even make you feel less sleepy!) These colors are ideal if you work in a profession that can be stressful and requires extended periods of concentration. Meanwhile, brighter hues such as yellow, red, and orange are best used in creative, active environments. Observing the principals of color psychology is a great place to start if you're looking to infuse your personal workspace with color in a strategic way.
TIP: Aim to use color in a way that's energizing, but not distracting. For example, the Google head office is suffused with striking colors, like red, yellow, green, and orange, but they're used in an accenting way, which prevents them from becoming overstimulating. Think colorful seating and art installations and the iconic Google bikes. (And remember, Google is a place of work that encourages creative thinking and spontaneity, so it does suit their overall workplace culture to utilize color.)
You can take a cue from Google by opting for a brightly colored chair or displaying colorful artwork in your home workspace. Here are some other creative ways to use color in your home office:
- Paint a bookshelf
- Add a vibrant area rug or window treatment
- Display books or magazines
- Incorporate plants or flowers
The benefits of biophilic office design
Biophilic design is all about mimicking the outdoors in indoor environments to reap the benefits of the outdoors more consistently. Studies have revealed that adding biophilic elements to the working environment can increase productivity, improve move, and make the workplace a more pleasant place to be.
Highly successful companies are already putting biophilic principals into play, finding creative ways to merge natural landscapes with the everyday office environment. For example, Apple Park, which is the corporate headquarters of Apple Inc., includes 6,000 trees, 5.9 million square feet of landscaping, and a green courtyard in the middle of the facility. Meanwhile, Amazon's Seattle headquarters is encompassed within a trio of connected glass orbs with living walls.
Of course, there are much simpler ways to invite the benefits of biophilic design into your home office without bringing on a professional contractor. Studies have shown that placing an assortment of potted plants of varying heights and textures throughout your workspace can be therapeutic. (Plants are also a great way to infuse your space with color!)
That said, true biophilic design has less to do with physical objects and more to do with emulating the feeling of being outdoors. Here are some ways to achieve biophilic design in your home workspace:
Make sure your workspace gets ample natural light
Incorporate organic textures, such as wood
Improve air quality by opening windows when possible or using an air purifier
The importance of ergonomics
Ergonomics deals with the efficiency, comfort, and health of people in their everyday environment. In an office setting, it's geared at making the workplace suit and optimize the employee, and not the other way around.
There are five aspects of ergonomics: safety, comfort, ease of use, productivity and performance, aesthetics. In order to ensure an ergonomic workspace, you can crosscheck practical and decorative décor and furnishings with these criteria. For instance, a desk or chair might be aesthetically pleasing, but if the height can't be adjusted to prevent muscle strain and ensure your long-term comfort, it might not be a good fit for your personal workspace from an ergonomic perspective.
Lighting also heavily plays into ergonomics. Inappropriate lighting can result in eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. And while natural lighting is ideal, artificial lighting can be used to positively manipulate circadian rhythm, mood, and alertness. For example, bright white light that mimics daylight can help to stimulate the brain and improve concentration and performance.
Here are some final ergonomic edits to consider to help maximize your productivity, optimize comfort, and minimize injury in your home office or workspace:
Your computer screen should be positioned no lower than eye level. Ideally it should be just below eye level.
Your computer monitor should be at least an arm's length away to prevent eye strain.
To control screen glare, avoid placing your computer monitor in front a window.
Adjust the lumbar support of your chair so that your body weight is evenly distributed on the chair seat.
Keep your chair as close to your desk as possible, keep the weight of your head directly above your neck, and avoid leaning forward while you work.
Your feet should comfortably reach the floor while you're sitting at your desk. If not, use a footrest or lower your chair.
Make sure that your workspace is located in a quiet area of your home to avoid noise related stressors.