Many of us spend so much time in our workplaces that they are essentially a second home, but what can you do if your office surroundings are dull and uninspiring? We’ve got some tips on bringing a little bit of life and colour to your workspace.
While many young tech companies (I’m looking at you, Google) have a reputation for their open plan, beanbag-addled interiors, the majority of us have to make do with simple workplaces. Sadly, these spaces generally aren’t designed to feel homely, or to have much character.
More and more people are working from home, plenty of us are still stuck in these office spaces for most of the working week. Even if you love your job, when your alarm goes off, it’s not much fun knowing you have to leave the comfort of home for a bland office. Thankfully there are a few things you can do to brighten up your workspace by adding a touch of personality and homeliness.
Colour is a hugely important feature in the workspace, but lots of workplaces are (unfortunately) pretty unstimulating. If you’re one of the many who work in a such an office, fear not – your workspace is essentially a ‘blank canvas’ for you to brighten up. Making little changes can have a big effect, and doing so is one of the most effective ways to make your workspace feel more like home.
There’s actually quite a bit of science that looks into how colours can have an effect on our minds and bodies, believe it or not. While there’s little conclusive evidence, it does seem like colour can have a big impact on how we feel – which in the workplace makes it one of the most powerful tools to enhance your space with.
It can be as easy as bringing in a colourful pillow or throw, or pinning up a postcard or piece of art. You could always take things a step further – particularly if you work in a cubicle – by looking into some colourful wallpaper to stick up.
A nice idea is to match the colours of your workspace with the colour schemes of your favourite rooms at home – it’s one of the most effective ways to add a flavour of home to your workspace.
Light is hugely important to our physical and psychological well-being. Our biological rhythms are governed by our exposure to sunlight, and research is currently being conducted by Oxford University into how living in an entirely glass home could be beneficial for our health. Studies into whether people living in these structures should or shouldn’t throw stones are yet to take place.
When making your workspace seem more homely, good lighting is really important. If possible, try to position your working space as close as possible to a window or source of natural light – just watch out for screen glare on computers!
If getting a window seat isn’t an option, you could add a lamp with a warm-toned bulb to your desk – or even look into a daylight-emulating light. The difference these make to the ambience of your workspace is striking, and will make your working environment feel a lot more welcoming and homely.
One of the easiest (and potentially most enjoyable) ways you can make your workspace that little bit more homely is to bring bits of your home life to work with you. Not in the emotional sense – we all know about the importance of ‘leaving it at the door’ – but by incorporating some decorative and sentimental items into your working environment.
This will obviously depend on the physical space you work in; but the main thing is just to work with what you’ve got. Photographs of families or loved ones, personalised mugs, and small plants are all great ways to add a flavour of home, but it’s also a good idea to think outside the box.
If you have enough floor space under your desk, you could bring in a small rug – it’ll look great, and planting your feet on something personal and comforting will make you feel closer to home as you work away. You could stock your desk with your favourite snacks and treats, or bring in something like a scent diffuser you use at home (if it won’t irritate colleagues!), to create a sensory link between your home and working spaces.
There are also options like Bonsai trees, low-maintenance Ecospheres or perhaps (if you want to go retro) sea monkeys if you want to add a little bit of living interest to your desk, helping you become more invested in the space around you. You could even talk to your boss about an office goldfish, if you are so inclined.
It’s not just a good idea to bring personal and homely items to your workspace, but to remove anything that is making it seem impersonal or dull. While traditional office fare, like copious amounts of stationery, is often a necessity, this doesn’t mean it has to be boring or uninspiring.
We all naturally accumulate things like stationery, and when we’re busy working it can be hard to find the time to sort through the mountain of paperwork, and the bits and bobs that build up. Try dedicating a lunch break, or a spare 5 minutes here and there, to sort through your desk and get rid of the things you don’t really need. Replace the things you do need (like pens) with varieties which are more personal, or have more character.
Decluttering like this is not only a great way to stay on top of mess but can make your workspace seem more ‘you’. Studies have shown that a clear workspace can actually improve focus and productivity – a win win if ever there was one.
It doesn’t require a huge amount of time or effort to give your workspace a sense of homeliness, and doing so is well worth it for the boost to mood and productivity it can give you.
You don’t need to go crazy, but adding a little more ‘you’ to wherever you work is a great idea. When your alarm goes off at the crack of dawn, you might be just a touch less angry at it, safe in the knowledge your workspace will feel that little bit more like home.