Whoever started the office trend of cubicles and fluorescent bulbs clearly didn’t understand how real productivity happens. Natural light, privacy, physical comfort, and the freedom to personalize your space foster inspiration and efficiency—feeling simultaneously trapped and exposed in a beige den does not. Since technology opened the door to remote work, the benefits of a flexible workspace have become increasingly apparent. But the freedom to customize your work environment can be easily squandered if you don’t know what helps evoke creativity, and what stalls it.
Get Innovative with Organization
Storage solutions may be the last thing you want to focus your creative energy on, but if you don’t make an effort to stock up supplies and arrange them in a sensible way, you’ll end up wasting time hunting for a lost notepad, tripping over cords, or dashing to the store to refill your paper tray on a busy day. Consider using wall storage for supplies so that they’re in sight and within reach, but out of your way. Run your cords along the wall or feed them through a box to keep them organized. Use a large writing medium like a chalkboard or whiteboard so that your goals for the day or week are always visible.
Confer with Nature
Staying in touch with coworkers and clients is a given. But what about staying in touch with the great outdoors? Sunlight can help inspire you and keep you from feeling isolated, while fresh air keeps you healthy. According to the EPA, indoor air is two to five times more toxic than outdoor air. If you don’t have direct access to a window that opens, keep houseplants in your office to help purify the air.
Choose a Color Palette that Soothes and Inspires
It’s true that white appears to maximize space and make a room feel well lit. It’s also true that deep, saturated colors tend to be overly stimulating. But there are countless shades in between that can help you focus. If you like neutral tones, look into ivory, or dove gray. If vivid colors are more your style, consider going with softer shades for the wall and saving saturated tones for small accent pieces. Let science prevail over personal style when you’re trying to create a space where you can concentrate.
Even professionals who work remotely may need to meet with clients or work on certain projects with a co-worker. Make sure your environment can be conducive to teamwork when the need arises. Provide a comfortable place for another person to sit, and make sure basic office supplies are at their disposal. Store beverages in a mini-fridge to offer visiting clients. Optimize your office for video conferencing by investing in a second monitor that will allow you to toggle between programs more easily.
Invest in Back Comfort
Standing desks may not work for small spaces, and ergonomic chairs can be pricey, but back problems can also come with a pretty big price tag — from making you less productive to actually requiring medical treatment. Invest in whatever is going to keep your posture healthy and ward off the aches and pains.
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas. She currently works as an editor and writer for Modernize.com,with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.
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