One of the best things about working remotely is the freedom to create your own workspace. Despite this, many remote workers “make do” with a spot they already have. They put up with drab and depressing spaces or camp out in household places that aren’t conducive to productivity. However, your home office or workspace can influence your productivity and work performance. As a result, you may want to consider tips to brighten up your home office.
Moreover, many rigorous research studies indicate that environmental workplace issues can significantly affect employee performance. Some of the biggest problems include temperature, air quality, lighting, and noise conditions. In addition, research shows that a cluttered workspace reduces your ability to focus resulting in declines in productivity as well.
To optimize your mental capacity and enhance the enjoyment of your workplace, follow these tips on how to brighten up your home office.
1. Create a Dedicated Space
Nothing brightens your day more than a well-organized, functional home workspace. While working on the couch or from bed may seem fun or convenient, neither were designed to promote productivity. You can end up with distractions if you’re on the couch or ruining a perfectly good night’s sleep if you’re on your bed. So start by creating a dedicated spot for you to work. Not only will this establish a degree of routine, but a designated workspace can also provide other benefits — even lowering your tax liability.
Ideally, a room with a door provides the optimal level of privacy. However, converting closet space or using a section of a room for a daytime office can work too. The key to carving out a functional space is to get creative with your furniture and storage options. Innovative products such as armoires that open into desk space or desks that fold down into sleeping space give you even more versatility, and office carts can roll away so laptops can be stored after use.
Since you are working from home, you can make your space entirely unique to your preferences. Brighten up your home office by letting your creativity soar! Focus on surrounding yourself with furniture items and décor that support your unique needs when designing a productive environment.
Personalization can mean everything from a pink stapler to a leopard patterned throw to a massage chair. Hang some artwork that incorporates your favorite motivational quotes or an evocative landscape. Put framed pictures on your desk to remind you of your favorite people or memories. Order a desk lamp in the shape of fish or use neon highlighters in your day planner.
Sometimes we are so used to adapting to an existing environment that we don’t even know what our preferences are in creating an effective workspace. If this is you, have fun exploring different options. Pay attention to what you miss and what you don’t from your brick-and-mortar office to start. Slowly add furniture and storage. Try a variety of different supplies and desk setups, then adjust the arrangements as you go, tweaking as necessary.
3. Improve the Lighting
Home office lighting is easily overlooked, but bad lighting can lead to eyestrain, headaches, and moodiness. The easiest way to brighten up your home office is to add effective ambient and task lighting. The experts say that lighting should be added in layers. Add a desk or floor lamp to illuminate your immediate workspace. Then, add other light sources to even out light distribution and avoid deep shadows and glare.
If you spend a lot of time staring at a screen, consider other options to pamper your eyes. Take frequent breaks, get a filter for your monitor to reduce glare, or sit farther back from the screen. You might also consider blue light glasses to mitigate effects on your sleep, especially if you’re working after dark.
4. Optimize Natural Light
Natural light is the best light to work in and another effective way to brighten up your home office. So let the sunshine in. Studies indicate that access to natural light is the number one attribute that workers want in a brick-and-mortar office, outpacing even onsite childcare. Research also found that 78% of employees attributed improvements in wellbeing to natural light and 70% reported increased productivity.
To brighten up home offices with little natural light, enhance the light you have by hanging a mirror and removing any blinds or curtains. If privacy is a concern you can apply frosted window film over all or part of the glass area. Consider adding new ways to let in natural light such as a glass door or tube skylight. You can also hang a mirror to encourage the light to bounce around the room and increase the depth of the room.
5. Open a Window
Getting fresh air is another great way to brighten your home office. Study after study shows that increased levels of fresh air is associated with a variety of benefits including improvements in information processing, decision-making, and crisis response.
6. See Green
If you’re fortunate enough to have a window, move your desk so you can see outside, especially if you have a green view. A recent study found that individuals with green window views reported increased levels of self‐esteem, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness.
No green view? No problem. Bring a little green from the outside to the inside by adding an indoor plant to your home office decor. If your desk space is limited, consider hanging plants or a living wall. Adding life to a drab office is a great way to brighten up your home office and your mood. In addition to creating a calmer atmosphere, plants improve your office’s air quality by removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
7. Add Paint
Nothing serves to freshen and brighten up your home office quicker and easier than a coat of paint. In addition, color has been shown to have a powerful influence on our mood, so you may want to put some thought into your new choice. Below are a few rules of thumb to consider:
- If you are working in a small office space and want to make it feel more expansive, paint your walls a light color such as white, light grey, cream, or any color that appeals to you as long as it is “bright.” Brightness here refers to a less saturated color like a pale yellow or blue.
- Larger office spaces or those that lack “coziness” can be brightened up by adding a deeper, more saturated color to the walls. Perhaps a dark blue or deep red. If this is too much color for the whole room, try painting an accent wall to draw you into the space.
- Perhaps you feel that your space is too cool, both in temperature and in mood. For example, you describe it as too “sterile.” Try choosing a warm color. These can be found in the range of reds and oranges, but warm undertones can be found in almost any color, for example, a “warm” grey color.
- Maybe your space is too warm with regard to mood and temperature. In this case, try choosing a cool color. While cool colors are usually associated with blues and greens, as above, paint colors with cool undertones can be found in almost any color.
8. Adjust the Temperature
Temperature can be key to maintaining a comfortable office space. Studies have shown that offices that are too cold or too hot can significantly affect productivity and contribute to dark moods. So, what is the perfect temperature? Research indicates that performance peaks if the temperature is about 71.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sometimes the ambient temperature is beyond our control. In this instance, if the space is too cool, consider a space heater or throw blankets. Too warm? Invest in a portable air conditioning unit or fan. Keeping a cool drink nearby won’t hurt either.
Our brains like order. There is nothing that leads to a dark mood quicker than a lot of stuff cluttering up our space. Studies have shown that clutter actually drains us of our brainpower. When we see clutter we think of disorganization, and chaos, and then we become overwhelmed and stressed out. Stave off anxiety by investing some time and effort in developing smart organizational solutions. Whether it’s a process or a filing cabinet, it will be worth the peace of mind it brings.
10. Rearrange the Furniture
Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. Refresh and brighten up your home office by rearranging the furniture. Maximize your efforts by considering how you use the space. Ask yourself if you’re always banging into a piece of furniture or stubbing your toe. Can you easily reach supplies and equipment that you use most frequently? Do you need an additional flat workspace? A few tips to keep in mind include:
- Keep entryways clear. Avoid putting furniture near the doorways as this can restrict the flow. Even if it doesn’t actually impede movement, the perception of a crowded entry will make it feel restricted.
- Create visual balance. Try to distribute the furniture and art arrangement evenly throughout the space. If you have a tall bookcase on one side of the room, balance that item with something of equal weight on the other side. It doesn’t have to be another bookcase; it could also be a piece of art or wall-mounted storage.
- Don’t push furniture against the wall. Placing the furniture towards the middle of the room creates a feeling of spaciousness and flow. If your space is small or contains too much furniture, consider editing your furniture items and only keeping what is needed.
- Keep the flow. Keeping walkways about 3 feet wide can go a long way allowing unimpeded access in and out of your office to save on those shin bruises. Cluster the desk and storage spaces you use all the time in one area to improve convenience and save time.
Brighten Up Your Home Office and Maximize Your Inspiration
Chances are you are going to spend a significant amount of time in your home office. It is well worth an investment in money and effort to create a space that will meet your unique needs. However, sometimes it’s the little things that make us happiest. Adding inspiring artwork and fun desk accessories can do wonders to brighten up your office space. Surrounding yourself with what makes you feel good will brighten up your home office and keep you motivated and productive throughout your workday.
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