Did you know that the way you design your office affects productivity, success and overall happiness? According to the authors of “Ethonomics: Designing for the Principles of the Modern Workplace,” your office should make you want to live a healthy, inspiring, and sustainable life. But how do you do that without a complete renovation?
The experts say it’s all about bringing the outside in with greenery, natural light, and earthy colors, but still inspiring creativity and imagination with plenty of bold textures and patterns. With a little bit of vision — and a few houseplants, some new window coverings and a bit of love, of course — you can achieve the perfect office design on a budget using these guiding principles.
- Go Green — When you spend most of the day working indoors, it can take a toll on your long-term happiness. But studies suggest that when you emulate the outdoors with plenty of plants, you’ll be happier and more productive at work. Not only that, but even a small houseplant on your desk can give you a greater purpose while you’re on the clock. Houseplants also help reduce indoor air pollution, which helps you breathe better and contributes to your physical health and well-being.
- Let the Light In — Of course, when you’re designing a natural environment, you have to consider natural light, and studies show that natural light helps improve workplace performance, sleep, and vitality. But too much natural light can be a deterrent if it causes glare or interrupts your work, so you don’t want to ditch the window treatments altogether. We’re big fans of eco-friendly, nature-inspired bamboo blinds because they help control light while also playing to your earthy workspace design.
- Use Your Walls — While you’re focusing on aesthetic décor, consider that your space should encourage productivity, too. If you’re redesigning your home office — or even your work office, if you have an open-minded boss — consider transforming one wall into a calendar, an agenda or a “goals and achievements” wall. You can do this relatively easily and affordably with chalkboard paint or by mounting corkboards, chalkboards and dry erase boards in a gallery wall fashion. We also love the idea of turning one wall into a dedicated inspiration board, like a real-life Pinterest.
- Go High-Tech — Getting back to nature is great, but let’s be honest: We can’t live without technology. That’s not to say that you have to employ a robot personal assistant — though your voice-activated devices can be useful for keeping you on top of things — but instead that you should consider affordable yet tech-friendly office accessories, like a pair of quality speakers or an ergonomic office chair made with technical materials. A USB-powered coffee warmer never hurt anyone, either.
- Let Your Décor Inspire — Making your office a place that’s productive is one thing, but designing it in a way that spurs creativity is another. Make sure that you’re not focused too much on the productivity portion when you’re doing a complete office redesign. Pepper your space with things you love, like quotes, photos, and artwork, and keep the creative juices flowing with well-designed furniture and fun accessories that inspire.
- Upgrade Your Lighting — Not too long ago, office lighting was almost always overly bright, abrasive and unflattering. But thanks to plenty of research on the topic, we now know that cold fluorescent lights aren’t that great for productivity or creativity. With the pervasiveness of LED lighting, you now have more control over color temperature than ever before, but the process of choosing color temperature can be confusing for the average consumer. One thing to note is that you should keep your lighting in the middle of the Kelvin scale (around 4,500 Kelvins) in your general workspace to encourage alertness while still keeping your space welcoming.
- Keep it (Kind Of) Minimalist — Clutter can be distracting, and if you’re a neat freak, it can make you want to straighten, dust and rearrange all day long. But spaces that are entirely minimalist can feel cold, so you have to work on striking a good balance between what’s warm, inspiring and comforting and what’s totally distracting. The answer, of course, is organization and selectivity. Set a date each month to clean out your office and get rid of any unnecessary items, and be sure to keep what’s left well-organized for a clear mind.
- Bring it Home — It doesn’t matter if you’re the only one who ever steps foot in your office or if it’s a place where you regularly meet with important clients; you’ll only get so far if your office feels unwelcoming. Ditch the cold, hard materials for warm woods, upholstery and soft carpeting. An Oriental rug and a desk lamp or two never hurt anyone, either. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the coffee maker.
- Create Nooks — As more and more studies emerge on employee satisfaction and office design, one thing is clear: Open office designs are great, but they can’t usurp quiet, private places to work and meet. If you’re working as a team in one office, create one primary workspace, but make sure there are quiet, private nooks onsite so that workers can have focused discussions when needed. In your home office, it’s not a bad idea to create a cozy corner nook for phone meetings so you don’t get bored with your space.
- Put Storage Up — There’s something about a clean, open workspace that just makes you want to get stuff done. A great way to ensure that your space and mind feel totally uncluttered is to get rid of your standing bookcases and storage units and relocate books and décor onto wall shelving. If you’re lucky enough to have an office closet, make it storage headquarters to keep your space free of any temporary clutter.