A global pandemic, lockdowns, and working from home — it would be an understatement to say the last two years have been challenging for us all. In fact, research from Allianz Insurance shows Australians described the last 12 months as a rollercoaster (43%), taxing on their mental health (32%) and ‘lacked work–life balance’ (20%).
Like many Australians, you might have started the new working year from your kitchen table, spare bedroom or living room, again. And while you may feel like you’ve finally got a handle on this new ‘working from home‘ world, the research also showed that over a third of Australians are unhappy that their office space is in a communal part of the home.
“Prior to the pandemic, the home was a sanctuary where we could switch off from the pressures of work and check-in to our personal lives,” says Gina Ciancio, interior stylist and founder of the blog, Style Curator. “From computer wires, extra notepads and pens splayed out as we work out of our homes, it in can become difficult to separate our work and personal lives and find rest within the clutter.”
But, though daunting, Ciancio says it is in fact possible to create mentally healthy workspaces in our homes. Ahead, she shares some tips and tricks to help us get started.
Add Storage Solutions
“A simple way to keep your office tidy and to help you be more productive is with good storage solutions. Check out some homeware stores to get inspiration for new storage solutions and to see what’s possible.
“Once you’ve set up a designated storage area, clear your space of any clutter and put it away into labelled areas. It’s a good idea to create long-term organisation solutions that work for your space — such as using a drawer in your sideboard for office electronics and equipment, so you can easily access them when needed.”
Add ‘Nature’ to Your Communal Areas
“Across all rooms in your home, try to create a positive connection to nature, with the help of plants, cut flowers and even crystals — all of which can bring an extra element of energy and vibrancy into your home. Bringing back personal and homey touches can elevate and reinvigorate your rooms.
“You can also add a touch of calm with essential oils or incense in this room to help create a sanctuary away from work. Or look to inject pops of colour that make you feel good. There’s plenty of research that supports the connection between colour and psychology.
“For example, blue is the most tranquil colour on the spectrum, while green has a revitalising effect. Think about the mood you want to create and with just three to five pops of colour in a space, such as with a vase and a couple of cushions, you can create an entirely different feel.”
Consider Relocating Your Home Office
“Just like within the office, a seating arrangement or desk switch up can provide new energy and perspective into your working space.
“When looking to move your desk, make sure there is good lighting; natural light is best. This is such an overlooked area of design but can significantly impact our productivity and how we feel. According to Allianz’s research, over half of Australians (55%) describe their perfect home office space as one with good lighting and access to fresh air. If you don’t have sufficient natural light, invest in a couple of lamps that can also act as a décor piece.”
Invest in Quality Home Office Solutions
“If you’re battling with limited space, smart home office solutions are a great option. While they can require a larger investment, there are a few different choices you can explore that also encourage a healthy work–life balance.
“For example, consider a small desk where you can pull out your laptop but have the essentials of power points and good lighting. These smaller office spaces can be incorporated seamlessly into the main areas of the home by installing custom joinery or converting unused cupboards into stylish, dedicated office areas.”
Implement a Decluttering Routine
“Unfortunately, clutter can build up over time, and very quickly. Look at implementing a routine to clean up your workspace as much as you can at the end of each day, and a designated day weekly, fortnightly or monthly to do a proper tidy and declutter.
“Over time, our working habits and routine will change, so make sure you’re constantly trying out new decluttering or design solutions to suit your needs.”