Mara Hauser, founder and CEO of 25N Coworking, has focused her entire career on design focusing on collaborative workspaces and innovative design. She shares with us her top five ways to transform your home office space while you work from home.
When I think about designing a home office, my first priority is to create a separation between home life and work-life on a mental and physiological level. To start, I always design my plans around the five senses. This ensures that I’m creating a cohesive space that can trigger focus and productivity as soon as you step into the room.
Use your eyes.
In order to establish a different headspace for work versus home life, try decorating your office differently than the rest of your home. This will immediately trigger your brain into “work mode” as soon as you walk in the door. In fact, create a space that’s all about you. Bright colours are energizing, and your favourite artwork is calming.
Use your ears.
It takes an average of 23 minutes to get back on track after you get interrupted, and that’s especially true in a home office environment. Besides organization and planning out your day, designing your acoustical environment is a tried-and-true solution for literally creating your rhythm. Acoustical panels for soundproofing your office are both affordable and stylish or try a surround-sound speaker system for motivational music or a white noise background hum. Plus, the sound will let the rest of your family know that you’re working and need to be left alone!
Use your nose.
Don’t forget about “scent design”! Top brands and venues are already utilizing scent profiles to define their spaces, and you can, too. Using a different scent profile in your office can facilitate your transition from home to a workspace, and this is especially effective with stimulating essential oils like citrus or peppermint.
Use your sense of taste.
This one’s a pun: you’ve got great taste (you do!), so decorate the whole room. So many professionals only focus on the desk area, which I think is a big mistake. The whole environment is going to affect your workday, not to mention your Zoom background, so add those plants, accessories, and artwork to every last corner.
Use your sense of touch.
If there’s one thing in your office that’s worth an above-average investment, it’s your task chair. In fact, I recommend allocating no less than $250 for this important piece. Luckily for us, these days you’ll find a wide variety of colour-coordinating, architecturally interesting, fully-functional and ergonomic adjustable office chairs to suit any body type and personality. No more boring black mesh!
A final word of advice: don’t be tempted to go with a cheap version that looks great — your back, posture, and wrists will pay the real price. Make sure that the seat nestles into the small of your back, your thighs can be parallel to the floor with your feet flat on the floor (or footrest), and that your keyboard level keeps your arms at a 45-degree angle and no greater than 18″ away from your body. No leaning away from the back of the seat. And, please, no stools!