Just as things felt like they were returning to normal, the COVID-19 Omicron variant is putting a damper on long anticipated plans, like traveling, visiting family, going to sporting arenas and, of course, returning to the office. A Bloomberg report shows that office activity is still not at pre-pandemic levels, and now with cases rising again, there isn’t much hope that those numbers will change any time soon.
If you had been planning to go back to your commercial office, then you might have stopped giving much thought to your home office. It’s slowly been taken back over by kid’s toys or workout equipment. However, Omicron could have different plans for us all. Extended work-from-home orders could mean you’re not done with that home office. With morale low, this is a good time to spruce up your home office for a little motivation. Here are some tips to do so.
Stake Your Claim
As work-from-home life continues, the boundaries of your home office might be tested. If it had previously served as another space before the pandemic, like a home gym or storage area, you could see some of that begin to creep back in. But having a dedicated workspace is important. In fact, a survey conducted by business data analysis firm Clutch found that having a dedicated workspace is one of the most appealing traits of an office. So, stake your claim. Family members will need to find somewhere else to keep their toys or workout equipment.
Paint One Wall
Bringing some color into your space can improve focus and creativity. It’s important which color you choose. Research out of the University of British Colombia shows that the color blue can help boost productivity, while the color red can increase attention to detail. The nature of your work will dictate the best color for your environment. If you do work in a creative space, consider painting one wall blue. However, if you do detail-oriented work like coding or accounting, consider painting a wall red.
Buy A Chair You Love
Your work chair is possibly the most important piece of your office. It’s where you place your body, and how your body feels impacts how your mind feels. If you’re constantly having to readjust to make yourself comfortable in an uncomfortable chair, then it can be difficult to focus. Research out of The National Library of Medicine shows that upright posture can improve mood and energy levels. If you can only afford to invest in one luxury item for your home office, make it a chair that encourages good posture. It really shouldn’t be seen as a luxury – it’s a necessity.
Everybody is going paperless, and so should you. Harvard Business Review reports that clearing clutter from your work area can increase productivity. While finally taking the time to scan and upload paper documents to have digital copies can be difficult, doing so will eventually free up even more time. Dedicate a day to looking over each piece of paper on your desk, asking if you need the physical copy, and digitizing what you can.
Choose Airy Furniture
If your home office isn’t very large, then you can use this interior design trick to make it look bigger: get airy furniture. Clunky desks and dressers with thick wood down to the floor cannibalize floor space. Instead, opt for pieces with slender legs and open space beneath them. So think a small sofa with wood legs and space beneath it or a desk with tall, slender legs and a thin but sturdy tabletop. This type of furniture creates the illusion of more space.
Install Floating Shelves
Floating shelves are another great addition to small offices. Filing cabinets and other storage pieces take up a lot of floor space. Floating shelves don’t take up any floor space. While they might not provide as much storage space as an old-fashioned filing cabinet, you shouldn’t need as much once you’ve digitized most of your documents. Floating shelves also provide a place to put some uplifting pieces of art work or photos.
If you find yourself craving time with nature when stuck indoors, you’re onto something. Your brain responds positively to greenery. Research out of Washington State University shows that having indoor plants can boost productivity. Consider adding a few plants to your home office. If you fear you can’t take care of them, opt for low-maintenance plants like succulents.