Working from home has become a common fixture of many jobs, many people are now alternating between the office and the home-office. Many more are freelancing from the comfort of their own living space as online employment offers more of these opportunities. Setting up a home office can be a rewarding experience, especially for the extra work-life balance that comes with being able to set your own schedule. Once you’re removed from the confines of an official office though, it’s your privilege and responsibility make you have the correct space to become more creative, maximize time and maintain concentration for a production workload.
- Streamlining Your Home Office Experience
Make use of all the nifty office supply tools. Declutter your desk area with cable ties, storage compartments and an easily accessible trash can to keep things tidy. This frees up much needed mental and physical space to think and move more clearly and creatively. Post-it’s and ideas notepads are an essential component to a creative office space. So many brilliant thoughts slip when we’ve convinced ourselves that we’ll remember them. Better yet, stick a whiteboard on the wall and have free-flowing brainstorming sessions, let ideas pour out onto it.
- Divide and Conquer
If you’re lucky enough to have too much space in your household, consider picking up a stylish room divider to section off your home and work life, these range from large, sturdy wooden panels, to sleek, slatted screens to allow more light through. They don’t have to block the whole room off, just enough for you to be absorbed in your environment and keep focused on your own thoughts. Room dividers are inexpensive and are a great asset for people who like to keep changing things up in their routines and workspace by rearranging often.
- Choose Your Soundtrack
Working from home carries the risk of multiple distractions that shift your attention and waste a lot of time throughout the day. Silence itself can be more distracting than car horns, dogs barking or the dull hum of air conditioning. There’s no need to invest in a complicated stereo system now that compact and affordable party speakers have surged in popularity, dropped in price and excelled in quality. The right soundtrack can do more than block out other influences: music stimulates creativity. There are countless playlists online from the soothing ambiance of Sigur Rós, through to Rocky-style Eye of The Tiger motivation, or the simple sound of rainfall to act as a more pleasant form of white noise.
- Let There Be (Natural) Light
Creatives are more in tune to the importance of lighting, particularly visual artists, but bloggers and consultants alike can also benefit from the refreshing tones of natural light. Nothing kills creativity like the stale flickering of fluorescence creating a sterile institutional atmosphere. A salt lamp, despite its soft, creativity inducing color palette would give off too much of a hippie vibe for a professional space but, so long as you won’t have any judgmental client meetings, there’s nothing stopping you.
But the best option is to design your office space around available natural light, balanced with appropriate lamps and overheads. Natural light helps rebalance our mood whenever we shift out gaze away from the blue light of a computer screen. The changing colors of the days light, affected by clouds, rain, and the passing of the sun trigger the brain to recognize environmental changes that are reflected in our creative patterns.
- Pack in the Inspiration
When we think of a home office, we often imagine a spartan system of efficient organization, maybe with a nicely placed coffee cup within arm’s reach. One thing that’s often overlooked or even ignored is the importance shelving for creativity. Having some aesthetically arranged objects or gadgets in your eyeline, but off your desk can be a well spring of inspiration.
Pictures of family members, or nostalgic memories can provide an oasis of calm and replenish your creative spark by lifting your stress barriers, paving the way for ideas to flood back in. A selection of books that have inspired you throughout your life or career can boost your creative process, they’re a great thing to glance up at during a moments reflection and can trigger mental muscles of solid advice and noteworthy quotes; or serve as a reference point for when you need a statistic or formula.
Home offices give us the freedom to create an environment tailored specifically to our needs and interests, it takes a certain amount of creativity and introspection to decide what suits each of us as individuals, and that can be tough when we’re freed from the rigid but familiar constraints of a prepackaged corporate layout. The onus is now on us to decide what motivates us. What nurtures our own creativity? That’s the beauty we get from transforming our homes into a productive, creative space: even setting up an office is kicking the creative side of us into gear.