Recreating the office space

44’s Hannah Montgomery looks at how making little adjustments to revive your office space in your home can make a big difference to aiding productivity…

The pandemic has opened us up to a whole new way of living, and the unexpected shift has led to many of us working from home, subsequently adjusting to a completely different office environment.

It can be tricky to carve out a piece of your home into an area centred on work, and just as challenging to keep this space fresh and functional. However, there are small but substantial changes you can incorporate to help revive your office space and in turn, boost your productivity.

Clear space, clear mind

It’s likely your work place at home doesn’t channel corporate character in the conventional form, but you can still revive your office space with functionality and formality in mind.

Inc. suggests ‘decluttering ruthlessly’, as setting aside unnecessary items will allow you to get into your ‘work-from-home groove’ and better maintain your focus. It’s also advisable to hide any eyesores and be wary of trip hazards, such as cables, much as you would in a normal office environment.

Get comfortable, but not too comfortable

If your home workspace is starting to feel stale or unproductive, treat yourself to a useful item of furniture to elevate your mood and enhance your current setup. A good chair is a particularly important investment to help revive your office space. One which provides proper lumbar and pelvic support is a strong choice, claims Apartment Therapy, as this will help support your back muscles.

If you aren’t in a position to make any imminent purchases, there are still ways you can address your posture. It’s easy to slip into the habit of slouching while in the comfort of your own home, but this can cause backaches, headaches, fatigue and poor concentration, so being mindful of your posture as well as your surroundings is key. The NHS has plenty of tips to guide you, such as gently lengthening your neck upwards as you tuck in your chin to correct a hunched back.

Adjust the ambience: revive your office space

You can also revive your office space through the clever use of scent. This doesn’t have to be the stereotypical lemony freshness associated with cleaning products, though. According to The Muse, certain essential oils have proven effects that can help you to get your work done: opt for peppermint to give you an energy boost, rosemary to aid concentration and sweet orange to curb anxiety.

Purchasing a couple of items you’d typically find in an office could also work to your advantage. A potted plant, for example, would bring benefits, as studies have shown that employees are 15% more productive when their workplaces have a few houseplants. Develop Good Habits says that those who engage with their surroundings work better, so adding some greenery can actually help you as well as make for a more enticing environment.

Inject some creativity

Another means to revive your office space is to have an interesting focal point. Home Design Lover suggests organising your ideas with a pin board, keeping images and notes on display as a source of inspiration.

MADE recommends wall art – whether homemade or shop-bought, a signature piece will showcase your style and stimulate your mind, should you hit a block. It’s been said that blue is the colour which makes many people feel most creative. Hanging up a whiteboard or a chalkboard is another easy way to revive your office space, as it acts as a visual marker for you to log key points and organise your responsibilities.

Business as usual

You wouldn’t constantly be checking your mobile while at work, so treat your day as a normal one in the office and operate with minimal disruption where possible. Switch off notifications for apps that will only serve as a distraction and keep your gadgets in range, but only as a way to communicate remotely with clients and colleagues.

Another top tip to revive your office space is to keep your workspace separate to your places of rest and recreation, if it can be avoided. Setting these boundaries will make it easier for you to slip into a more natural routine. If it isn’t possible to divide the space then take regular breaks away from your desk, even if it is just a brisk walk outside.

In short, it isn’t as arduous at it might seem to revive your office space. A few little adjustments will allow you to see improvements in your wellbeing and your work, while encouraging you to keep your personal and professional domains separate.

Home may be where the heart is, but right now, for us home workers, it needs to be a place for us to keep our head in the game too. Maintain the right balance, and it can be work, sweet, work as well as home, sweet home!