During these changing times when billions of us were told to work from home, many have come to realize how ill-equipped we can be when it comes to sitting down, focusing, and getting things done, without impeding on our health and wellbeing. You’ve probably tried different setups, tweaked your desk and chair, maybe even invested in a USB cup warmer or fridge!
But what is it that really matters when it comes to defining a workspace as your own?
Who are you?
Ask yourself how you want your workspace to feel. The ambiance you will create for yourself will always influence your productivity. Do you like everything slick and uncluttered, or do you like to spread around and have everything you need at your fingertips? Plenty of storage space or surfaces to sprawl on? Do you like to personalize your work environments or would you rather they were neutral? Deciding on this first will allow you to set a clear intention for how your workspace will reflect your work ethics.
Bring in some life
Do you like plants? You really should. If not, maybe you’d like some art? However you prefer your workspace, a feature element that you can focus on to gather your thoughts before diving back into work is always a useful addition. A bit like Shakespeare, who had a skull on his desk to look at whenever he needed to ponder on the meaning of love. Cacti are great for thorny personalities and plant-killers, succulents for sweet-hearted folk (but also for plant-killers). Whatever your choice – it should be something that inspires you and allows you to reflect.
Add some spice
Don’t sprinkle any hot chilli powder on your keyboard just yet! Our brains are very sensitive to aromas though, and having at least some control over what we smell when we work can really help boost levels of concentration and well being while lowering stress. Incense is not the only option, with electric and candle-holding essential oil diffusers growing in popularity in recent years. Try sticking to natural substances.
The devil is in the details
Or God, according to Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century, as well as a father of modern minimalism. Accessorize with purpose and style, but don’t go overboard. Office supplies are great, but how many of us end up with dried up highlighters and correctors we’ve never used?
Establish your boundaries
We all need different levels of privacy. Introverts and extroverts alike will know how annoying it can be to have your train of thought interrupted for something trivial that could have just waited. When you set up your workspace, don’t forget to make it clear you want to be given space to focus your attention. A simple and polite note can do the trick, or even a divider or noise-canceling headphones for more extreme situations.
Give your back a break
On top of adjusting your desk and chair heights, there is more you can do to keep your back healthy. Believe it or not, a lounge chair would be a sensible addition to your space. Your body needs breaks from work just as your brain does, and you need to remain conscious of that. Most adults will experience lower back problems in their lifetime. This is why working on posture is essential when you set up your workspace, as good posture will help you achieve better overall health and sleep. This is why it would be a great idea to find yourself a lounge chair that you could even probably buy online from the right place. You can just sit there and look at your plant, and… Eureka!
Get some literature
Surround yourself with relevant and stimulating titles you can refer to for inspiration, but also what you love. There will always be volumes that are essential to what you do that you will want to have at your literate disposal. If you have a role model, perhaps their autobiography is meaningful to you. Or maybe a collection of poems which remind you of someone dear. Keep things balanced, you wouldn’t want to get distracted!
Your work is your responsibility – but so are your body and mind. Neglect them, and your work will be negatively affected. Your workspace needs to engage all of your senses to create a positive and thus productive mindset. Simple and slick or highly personalized and decorated – that is up to you. There are many different options to choose from that you will have to consider, sometimes at opposite ends of the spectrum, but that will give you the freedom you need to really define your individual workspace.