WFH Stress? Try Painting Your Walls Orange! (No, Really)

Despite the recent focus on “getting back to normal”, it’s become very clear that some level of remote, flexible or dynamic working is here to stay. As a result, creating the perfect working environment plays a key role in boosting your mood and focus, ensuring you have a productive day. That’s why design experts from Cala Homes and interior designer Felicity Stevens at Interiors by Haus have provided tips on creating the ultimate home office to boost your overall wellbeing and productivity.

Steve Rule, Group Design & Technical Director at Cala says: “Our experience during lockdown is likely to have a long-term impact on the way we live our lives and what we look for in our homes. Working from home is going to become the new normal way of working for many people and businesses, and here at Cala Homes, we have seen an increase in demand for home office space and integrated supporting technology.”

Items that make a good home office

  • Ergonomic chairs can reduce discomfort in workers and increase productivity by 17.7%. A survey by Westfield Health found that 60% of British workers spend the majority of their day sitting down.
  • Switching to ergonomic keyboards can reduce discomfort in 44% of cases, boosting productivity and morale.
  • Standing desks – or hybrid sit-stand models – can increase comfort by up to 60%. Try a standing desk or a device that can help raise the level of your laptop or screen to reduce issues with posture.
  • Using a second screen can increase productivity by up to 42%. In fact, workers are increasingly relying on a second screen as par for the course in their day-to-day work.
  • Complement your desk setup with other accessories that are proven to boost your overall wellbeing. For example, you may want to get blue-light blocking glasses to prevent eye strain.
  • Studies have shown that background music – regardless of what it is – can boost work performance. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones can block out what you don’t want to hear, and allow you to listen better to whatever helps you concentrate.
Image courtesy of Cala Homes

Design choices that improve your home office

  • The act of setting up a home office to promote productivity can do just that – a study found that employees who have control over the design and layout of their workspace are up to 32% more productive.
  • “When organizing a home office, think angles: curved lines can promote feelings of relaxation and calm, particularly in a home environment, so an angular desk setup may be better to help focus”, says Felicity.
  • Studies have found that exposure to natural light can have positive effects on our mental and physical health, and that workplaces with natural light experience up to 40%  improvements in productivity.
  • Proper lighting in your workspace can also reduce eye fatigue. So position your desk to experience as much natural light as possible and use lamps for task lighting. Proper lighting can help reduce the impact of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
  • Steve Rule says: “Daylight has a profound influence on our health and wellbeing. It is important for our immune system, boosts our vitamin D intake and keeps our bones healthy. It can also reduce stress, enhance our mood and even help us sleep better.
  • Declutter your space: Invest in good storage to keep your home office clutter-free. Buy bespoke office storage to keep files and paperwork in order. Boxes and baskets can look great on shelves or choose a desk with built-in cupboards and draws for a sleek look.

When choosing a color scheme for your home office setup, keep the following in mind:

  • Blue stimulates creativity and boosts productivity, with a calming effect that reduces stress.
  • Red brings a sense of urgency and proactivity, but can be anxiety-inducing too.
  • Yellow can trigger innovative thoughts, but too much can lead to anxiety and eye strain.
  • Green provides a sense of balance and calm, and lessens eye strain during long hours.
  • Orange can encourage focus and concentration by increasing oxygen supply to the brain.
  • Neutrals – white walls combined with colored accents – can promote concentration.

Plants in an office space has been proven to enhance air quality, concentration and workplace satisfaction, and increase productivity by up to 15%. Invest in a low-maintenance green plant or two for your workspace to benefit your physical and mental health.

A study found that art in the workplace can reduce stress (78% of businesses agreed), increase creativity (64% agreed) and encourage opinions (77% agreed). Whether you use art to create a backdrop for Zoom meetings or use wall art to invoke emotions, using art can help your mental wellbeing.

The home office is here to stay

“In recent times, elements which enable home working have become crucial – if working from home is easy to set up and runs smoothly, this has a knock-on positive effect on our whole lifestyle. That’s why we have carefully considered and designed our homes with the new WFH reality in mind,” said Steve Rule.

Creating the right environment in your home office plays an important role in ensuring you can work productively and produce quality work while still maintaining good mental and physical wellbeing.

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