It has been a bizarre couple of years, what with the global pandemic and all. While it has certainly been full of ups and downs, one undeniable silver lining of post-COVID life is the newfound appreciation for remote work. It may have started off as temporary, but for many, it looks like remote work-life is here to stay.
With more and more people working from home, home office spaces are being overhauled to maximize function and style. The spare rooms that were formerly used to house your desktop PC, pull-out couch, and treadmill are getting purposeful makeovers to suit your new socially-distanced career.
Creating a dedicated workspace at home where you can concentrate and feel motivated is more important than ever. Efficient home storage, tasteful office decor, and personal mementos are the details that take your home office to the next level.
Need a little help getting started? Here are some simple updates to make your home office feel as trendy and functional as the rest of your home:
Let Your Personality Shine
When setting up your new home office, you might not intuitively consider how the actual decor affects your productivity. It’s easy to think that as long as you have a dedicated place to sit and work away from distractions, things will get done. The truth is that poor office design greatly impacts psychology and creativity.
Part of designing your new home office means thoughtfully considering what elements your workspace needs to make you feel comfortable, engaged, and productive. Quiet spaces and efficient technology are important, but personal touches also improve morale and boost your motivation.
So when you’re designing your home office, be sure to include subtle details that simply spark joy — your favorite framed art, photos of friends and family, or display your epic collection of Funko Pop figures. With all the new time you spend in your home office, invest in making it a space that helps you get things done but still feels 100% you.
Bring The Outside in with Plants
Unfortunately, even work-from-home life can be stressful. Some studies in horticultural therapy suggest that plants may help alleviate anxiety and reduce stress. That being said, incorporating some greenery into your home office space might be just what you need to center you after a stressful call or deadline.
A good rule of thumb when choosing a plant for your home office is to pick something low-maintenance that thrives in low light. Aloe vera, English ivy, snake plants, and peace lilies are all great options. Just remember to choose something pet-friendly if your dog or cat has access to that space.
Not much of a green thumb? Try opening a window or taking a short, mid-day walk outside to boost your mood and enjoy the same stress-relieving effects before heading back to your desk.
Elevate Your Space with Scent
You likely use candles and essential oils around your home to incorporate your favorite scents. Why should your home office be any different?
In aromatherapy, certain smells can boost your mood, relieve stress, and enhance creativity. Some scents, like citrus or peppermint, can help increase accuracy, fight fatigue, and promote mental clarity — all of which help you perform better at work.
While candles and scent diffusers might be a no-no in some corporate workplaces, they’re highly encouraged in your home office. Light up deliciously scented candles or scatter your favorite diffusers throughout your home office to fill your space with scents that support your workflow and put you in a better mood.
Set The Mood with Lighting
Like aromatherapy, lighting can also impact your productivity and overall mood. A recent study by the American Society of Interior Design found that 68% of employees were dissatisfied with office lighting. Although this study focused on a corporate setting, some of the points made as a result of the study can be used to improve lighting conditions in your home office space.
Inadequate lighting makes you strain your eyes and causes headaches. Harsh, fluorescent lighting is just as bad and does nothing to improve your mood or productivity. The most ideal option is to use a space with good natural light. Not only does it keep your electric bill down, but it also boosts energy and happiness.
If natural light isn’t an option in your home office, try turning off or dimming the harsh overhead light and instead use a chic, softly-lit desk lamp that adds to your decor aesthetic. A few adjustments to the lighting in your home workspace could make a monumental difference to your overall mood and productivity.
Stock Up on Your Favorite Office Supplies
Whether your corporate job gave you free rein over choosing supplies or you were forced to use the same generic yellow post-its and standard office products every day, remote-first culture is a fully customizable gig. We’re firm believers that comfy computer chairs, chic writing desks, and cute office supplies just make work a little more fun.
Just like you jazz up your workspace to your design preferences, your home office supplies can play a huge role in keeping you engaged. Brighten your mood with quirky post-it notes and colorful gel pens. Use a minimalist-inspired keyboard brush to keep your space clean or new and innovative tech toys that make your job easier.
Take Inspiration from Your Favorites
Don’t have much of an eye for design? Channel your favorite on-screen celeb’s vibes and design your space accordingly. Whether you want to pull inspiration from Carrie Bradshaw’s NYC writing desk or Olivia Pope’s dark and moody D.C. office, you don’t need to be a design expert to achieve the same style in your at-home workspace.
Get creative with mixing and matching in your space until you achieve the look you’re going for. Don’t be afraid to use wallpaper or bold paint choices, mix textures, and make use of the architectural quirks that are already in your space. Before you know it, you’ll have a super trendy home office that even your favorite celeb boss-lady would swoon over.