Let’s face it: Working from home is a dream come true for many professionals, but it doesn’t come without challenges. While we lose the distractions of watercooler conversations and noisy deskmates, it can be replaced by the temptation to fold laundry, wash dishes and complete that to-do list we’ve been ignoring. As the desire for a virtual workforce increases, so should the attention to design optimal work-from-home spaces. One of the main benefits of virtual working is improved work-life balance, as employees don’t waste time commuting.
Working virtually is only growing in popularity. Some 50% of employees said that they now work outside their company’s main location for at least half the working week or more, according to research by IWG. And, for 70% of people, a choice of work environment is a key factor when evaluating new career opportunities.
I’ve studied interior design and the psychology behind the seven elements of interior design: space, line, form, light, color, texture and pattern. And, believe me when I say, you will be a better employee if you design your space with intention. I have listed four easy steps to follow if you want to make the most out of your work-from-home space.
- Separate your space
This might seem obvious, but there are many professionals who do not dedicate a separate workspace for themselves. The benefit of having a dedicated workspace is the peace of mind that comes after the workday is over. If your laptop follows you around the house during the day, you will likely have a difficult time creating work-life balance. You’ve created a habit of bringing your work with you and not creating physical boundaries.
- Follow the 60/40 rule
The most basic interior design rule is to decorate 60% of your space and leave 40% blank. Too much clutter will distract your mind, much like leaving too many tabs open on your browser. If you have too few decorations, your brain may try to fill the space with more (unless you are a self-proclaimed minimalist, which is also great). Following this rule will ultimately save mental energy that may be spent being distracted by the imbalance you feel in your space.
- Red, blue, yellow, and green
Colors have power. They bring out and enhance emotions that can quite literally be used as a tool to make professionals feel a certain way. For instance, red is associated with power and will often raise your heart rate. Blue is an intellectual color that can help calm your mind and provide focus. Yellow is also energizing and radiates positivity. And green provides harmony and creates reassurance. Thankfully, color does not require a large surface area to make a big impact. If you have neutral walls, find accent decor in your line of sight rather than immediately getting out the paintbrush. Pick one or two colors based on the emotions you would like to add in your life and they will deliver.
- Maximize your desk space
The same 60/40 rule applies to your desk surface. Have 60% of your desk taken up with requisite items such as your computer, notepad, headset, calendar and so on. If you have two monitors at your desk, you’re probably breaking the rule and may need to add surface area. If you don’t have the budget, the best way to remedy this is by adding a shorter end table at the edge of your desk to put items you don’t use on a daily basis. Pro tip: Clean your desk the night before, and do a check that you’re following this rule and abolishing clutter!