Article written by Kim Williams and provided by Get Published
The COVID-19 shutdown is unfamiliar territory for many of us who are not used to spending so much time at home with our families, not to mention working from home. Kim Williams, interior creative and human behavioural specialist, reminds us that great design is more than simple aesthetics.
Beautiful, functional, clean spaces have a profoundly positive impact on our psychological wellbeing. In a time where our mental health may be taking strain Kim’s insights on how you can optimise your space to live, play, and work better together is invaluable.
Three elements Kim recommends we consider:
- What your space needs to do on a physical level. Consider who you will be sharing space with, what equipment you will need such as Wi-Fi and plugs for devices, where the space can be and how big it needs to be.
- Consider the invisible factors of shared space such as ambient noise from other people in the house and how profoundly it affects your concentration and ability to work, as well as the length of time it will take you to complete a task with interruptions.
- Consider how you feel in the space. Our freedom to step out of our workspace when we need a break is limited, so it is important to create multiple work zones in the home to allow you to move between the spaces when you need a change of scenery.
Kim’s practical top 10 tips for a productive and functional home-office space:
- Organise your space. No matter the size of your home, how you arrange it will directly impact its functionality. The way you organise your space will also differ depending on what you need that space to be at different times of the day.
- Keep your space tidy. Set it out every morning and take it down every evening to solidify the feeling of beginning and ending your workday.
- At the end of your workday evaluate and reflect on how your space served your work, how you experienced a specific space and how you moved around the space depending on the task. Certain spaces can be associated with different mindsets and it is important to adjust what is not working.
- Schedule your use of space. Agree on demarcated public and private spaces for your family and set some clear boundaries of who gets which space at what time. By scheduling the space, you are making sure that you are not excluding people from different spaces but rather sharing them.
- Allocate time for specific activities. This creates a sense of accountability for you to complete your work in a specific time frame. Psychologically, it aids in creating a sense of discipline and routine which is key to productively working from home.
- Create a work tray for all your work tools. In a small apartment trays can be used as desks and allow you to easily move around your home for that much-needed change of scenery and they are an easy way to keep your space organized and clean.
- Dressing tables are a great size and can be moved into your dedicated workspace and used as a desk. If you don’t have a dressing table, folding camping tables and patio sets also work well. Just make sure your seating is comfortable and that you are taking care of your body while working.
- Create different spaces within your home office. The ability to move to different areas assists in the thought process and allows you to rest when you take your regular breaks.
- Make the environment an attractive space to be in. Playing music, putting flowers and natural elements inside or even using different ornaments in your office all help create ambience which helps you to associate the space positively in your mind and in turn increase your productivity.
- Light and temperature have a massive impact on us, and it has been proven that if you sit in a small dark area, it brings your body temperature and mood down. Setting up your space where you can look out of a window has a significantly positive impact on your sense of wellbeing.
Energy, flow and function have long been at the core of excellent interior design. The lockdown presents us with a fantastic opportunity to embrace the fluidity and flexibility that simple and elegant design can bring to our home spaces.
This lockdown is a chance for us to connect more deeply with ourselves and our needs as professionals and to be more conscious of letting those needs inform how we set up our workspaces to have a positive effect on our productivity and psychological wellbeing.