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Tips for a calm & productive home office

Many of us are currently working from home for the first time and it’s a unique situation we find ourselves in. Without knowing when we might return to our workplaces (and in our case, our brand new office!), we’re keen to ensure our home office is as comfortable as possible.

Here, Hannah Brown, founder of interior design consultancy Wilding & Wolfe shares her top tips for improving your home office space. With clients all over the UK, Hannah knows a thing or two about creating spaces that improve productivity and emotional wellbeing. She’s particularly interested in biophilia and the benefits of bringing nature into the home.

For me, having an uncluttered workspace is key to keeping my thoughts in order and my productivity up

Having clutter around you not only distracts your eye and your thoughts but can make us want to start tidying instead of working. Storage is one of the key elements in keeping your home office clutter-free. Whether you opt for built-in joinery to maximise your storage potential and offer bespoke options or off the shelf storage, getting your desk clean and clear is a great place to start. This will also give you more physical space when sitting at your desk. You won’t feel cramped or restricted, which can make a work environment feel uncomfortable.

Research has shown that biophilia – having a connection with nature – is very important to wellbeing and concentration

Having plants around us and better still a view of greenery and nature outside has been shown to create a calm and responsive mind. You can create this connection with nature by adding plants to your home office. If possible, placing your desk near to a window, so that when you look up from your work you can see space and a natural landscape beyond. A feeling of space is shown to alter our perception of time, giving us the feeling of being less time-pressured and able to think creatively.

During the day and with the onset of spring, natural light is in abundance, boosting our energy levels naturally

This is another reason to have a home office with a window and for your desk to be close to natural light. Many people working from home, at the moment especially, are not necessarily able to work conventional hours as they are juggling various responsibilities. This means that lighting when working at night is very important.

Having various light sources can aid concentration and mood, so having overhead lighting as well as a desk light is the best approach

The quality of light is important. Increase illumination above the standard 500 lux (which can be measured by an app) and adjusting the temperature of your light source will aid performance. Research has shown blue-enriched white light stimulates the brain, improves alertness, and sleep quality. So, try to have lighting that is neutral white or daylight white to support concentration.

Comfort, while you are sitting at your desk, is very important as you are likely to be spending many hours there

If you work from home a lot it is worth investing in a really good office chair. Our physical dimensions are all different so buying a chair that you can adjust to suit your size and posture is always a good idea. Again, you want to make sure you have plenty of space behind your chair so that you don’t feel physically cramped and restricted. Comfort isn’t just about the furniture you use but also about the space you give yourself to move around in.

All images by Wilding & Wolfe

Finally, think about creating a space that you enjoy being in and that inspires you to be creative and productive

This can be done in many different ways:

  • Have the biggest desk you can fit into the room so that it feels spacious,
  • Having wall lights so a desk light doesn’t take up space,
  • Declutter – have a clear-out,
  • Try not to relegate the office space to the tiniest part of the house –  if you can avoid it.

I think allowing yourself space to move around and work in gives you the ability to feel calm and unrestricted. It is also good to introduce some comfort, like a rug or some artwork. You can also use an interesting fabric on a roman blind to add colour and texture to the room. Colour is a great way of bringing some personality to your home office. Blues and greens are calming and inspire focus. Yellow is a great colour for boosting feelings of optimism. You can simply paint a wall or a bookcase to create this atmosphere; it isn’t too expensive or time-consuming to do.

Find out more about Wilding & Wolfe and their full range of design services here: