Finding yourself spinning your wheels trying to work in your home office? It’s already bad enough that the overall productivity in the U.S. is shrinking as explained by our fellow Bureau of Labor Statistics, but I’m sure you hadn’t realized your productivity could be affected by how you decorate your workplace!
For the lucky ones who work from home, you can decorate your home office however you want because, guess what, it’s all yours! Many people, though, find themselves decorating with preconceived notions of what an office is supposed to be. However, there are a few design don’ts that have been found to reduce productivity in the office, even though they are staples of office decor. You don’t need any feng-shui know-how – you can work around these decor no-nos by following these tips. Even if you work in an office with others, some of these tips can spruce up your workspace!
Color & Lighting
Traditional office settings are convinced that florescent light and colorless tones (whites or greys) are productive. The fact is, they are anything but. The ideal lighting should be natural, or mimic natural light. Studies show that fluorescent lighting can bring on headaches and eye strain, and shadows can cause depression. Color can also have an impact on mood, which in turn impacts productivity. Calming blues and greens enhance concentration, while yellows are upbeat and reds are alarming. Natural views, such as trees, flowers, and sunlight, have been proven in studies to provide a boost to creativity and concentration. So, why don’t you turn around your desk and face the window for some natural inspiration!
Your Favorite Scent Can Boost Productivity
If you work in an office, you might be limited to small sachets or scented handkerchiefs. In order to avoid imposing on your co-workers, if your office is at home, you can experiment and be creative. Incenses, oils, air fresheners, and even fragrant houseplants can be added to enhance your productivity, creativity, and energy level.
Candles, oils, incense, and air fresheners aren’t just about making the room smell nice. Certain scents have different effects on your mood, just like colors. They reach into your brain and trigger the release of certain neurotransmitters. The same principle also triggers negative reactions to scents, such as illness.
Your furniture, keyboard, and desk layout can also be inhibiting your concentration and productivity. Uncomfortable chairs can cause back pain and bad posture (which leads to a host of other pains). Sitting for lengths of time with no breaks has been shown to be as unhealthy as smoking. Having the seat adjusted too high or too low for your keyboard can cause shoulder and neck pain, as well as carpal tunnel.
If the monitor is too close or too far away, this can cause eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. What muscle and eye discomfort does to the body, clutter causes in the mind. Keeping things organized isn’t just about knowing where to find them. It’s also about creating peace of mind, which is like fuel for productivity.
Air Quality Can Also Boost Productivity
When we think of air pollution, images of smoggy cities come to mind. However, air pollution happens on a much smaller scale all the time, even in the home. Office workers take note – this gets amplified in an office environment! Dust trapped in the filter and vents of your air conditioner or molds from your bathroom can travel around the house as particulate matter, which means it is tiny little particles you are breathing in.
Just this everyday dust and mold contribute to colds, illnesses, and stress, so it is a good idea to clean your vents regularly. Having an air filter on your desk can also improve the air quality of your home office or work environment. This can prevent illnesses and sluggishness, and improve your overall health.
Even small potted plants on your desk work a myriad of wonders. First, they can act as a natural air filter that compliments your electric one. Secondly, certain plants can emit the aromas discussed above, replacing heavy incense or candles.
Finally, there have been numerous studies showing that just being able to see plants and greenery makes people cheerful and more productive. Many office buildings have responded by having gardens or atriums on their grounds or even on balconies and rooftops. If you can’t have a plant in your office, a wide window with an outdoor view can boost productivity naturally!
You don’t have to be an interior designer to have an office where you can be productive. These life hacks can turn your office into a sanctuary of productivity that echoes your vibe. A few little touches here and some simple adjustments there can turn your home office from “that place where you do work” to a place you can’t wait to be. Where great things flow from your creative mind!
Cassie Brewer is a health professional in Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys writing about her passion (healthy living of course!) and everything beauty-related. Nothing makes her happier than helping others be the best version of themselves they can be. You can read more at cassiebrewer.weebly.com and follow her on Twitter: @Cassiembrewer.