2020 upended the world as we know it, and nowhere was this more evident than in the workplace. According to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research, around 50 percent of U.S. workers were working from home at the start of the pandemic. Nine months later, Upworks December 2020 Future of Workforce Pulse Report found that 41.8 percent of the American workforce continues to be fully remote.
With permanent remote work likely here for the long haul, theres never been a better time to spruce up your home office. From choosing colors that spark joy to investing in high-quality lighting, here are five ways to boost your comfort and productivity without needing to completely gut your room.
Declutter and create, and open your layout
First things first: Remove any unnecessary desk clutter and junk from your home office, since research has shown that cluttered spaces can lead to poorer mental health and less-efficient thinking. Once youve removed any clutter from your space, give your home office a fresh facelift by switching up the furniture placement based on how you can easily flow in and out of your space. Take a cue from the layout principles of traditional offices and leave plenty of space around your desk.
Consider positioning your desk underneath or perpendicular to a window to allow plenty of natural light to filter in; research shows it makes you more alert, and contributes to productivity and happiness (more on that later). Invest in ergonomic furniture to reduce strain and stress. If youll have people stopping by for (socially distanced) meetings, its a good idea to invest in a chair or two as well. Dont forget to experiment by moving your lamps, bookshelves or cabinets around to see what layout looks best.
Choose colors that make you happy
One of the biggest advantages of working from home is having the freedom to design a space that truly speaks to you. So instead of opting for neutral colors that would be found in a traditional office, lean into a color palette that best boosts your mood and inspires your creativity. For example, you might want to go for a soothing shade of green (which is often considered restful and soothing) or blue (which often calls to mind serenity and calmness). If you prefer something a bit bolder, you can opt for red (which elicits feelings of passion and excitement) or yellow (which denotes energy and warmth).
Regardless of what hues you choose, incorporating your favorite colors is a simple and inexpensive way to reimage your home office. While you can easily repaint the entire room, an accent wall or some colorful decorations are an easy alternative.
Light up your space
Reduce the risk of headaches and eyestrain by making sure your home office has ample light sources. If possible, try to set up your home office in a room with natural light, since studies have shown workers often feel tired or gloomy if they dont have enough natural light in their workspace. And when it comes to artificial light sources, instead of working directly under overhead lights (which give off an unwanted glare), consider using desk lamps and non-LED lights to soften the glow. You can also purchase some decorative lights such as wall sconces or string lights to add personality to your space. Bonus: Light a candle or two for another calming aesthetic.
Purchase a comfortable chair
If theres one piece of furniture you dont want to skimp on in a home office, its your desk chair. Youll be spending the majority of your time each day in that chair, so its well worth it to find one that is adjustable, comfortable and ergonomic. Since desk chairs can easily range in price from under $100 to several thousand dollars, spend some time researching various brands and chair types to find something that fits your budget and works well for your needs.
Studies have shown that plants can boost your mood and productivity, so why not purchase a few for your home office? Start with some that are simple to care for (such as spider plants or heartleaf philodendron) and pick out fun pots that match the aesthetic of your home office. Plants also serve as a beautiful backdrop for any video meetings with clients or coworkers. Purchasing plants is an easy, cost-effective way to liven up your office space and create some aesthetically pleasing office wall decor at the same time!
Pictured at top: A light-filled home office in our listing at 11468 Strait Lane in Dallas, available for $3,100,000