Balancing Elegance and Professionalism in Your Home Office
Did you know that having a clean, organized workspace can actually help to improve your productivity? That’s because feeling good about your office makes you want to spend more time there, and you’d be surprised by how much clutter can weigh down on your subconscious mind–even if you’re the polar opposite of a neat freak. To transform your home office from a troll’s den into a fountain of productivity, just give the following five tips a try:
Turn Your Closet into a Filing Cabinet
It’s all too easy to let old papers, files and notes build up in your home office. Maybe it’s the freedom of working from home getting to our heads, or maybe we’re just plain old lazy, but the paper stacks have got to go. Instead of stuffing them into a corner for a rainy day, it’s time to face the problem head-on. The answer? Turn your closet into a fully-functioning filing cabinet. You might have to throw out a lot of junk to make it happen, but it will all be worth it in the end. Start out by purchasing one or two (depending upon the size of your closet) rolling filing cabinets. Organize your recent documents into these cabinets–anything you think that you’ll need to reference on a regular basis. Once you’ve done that, pick up a series of filing boxes–ideally in bright colors for easy color coding. File all of your old documents into these boxes, and then label and stack them along your closet shelf.
Decorate Your Space
Your home office doesn’t have to be as dull and colorless as a traditional workspace, but decorate carefully to maintain an image of clean professionalism. You don’t want to Skype your boss with a Playboy poster or a picture of your dog taking a bath in the background. If your taste in art is somewhat dubious, bring plants into your office. As well as adding a sense of tasteful decor to your space, plants can help to pull toxins from the air, making your office space healthy as well as attractive. If you’re not great at keeping plants alive, try a low maintenance choice like Aloe Vera. Aloe plants require relatively little love and care, and they have all kinds of great medicinal properties.
Light It Up
Ensuring that your office space appears light and welcoming is important both for your health and your productivity. While opening up extra windows may not always be an option, there are a few little tricks you can turn to maximize what light you already have. To start out, have your windows cleaned! If you haven’t gotten around to a window cleaning in a while, you’ll be surprised by the difference it makes. If you leave your fly screens in year round, remove them in the winter for a little added light. If possible, choose a room with a South-facing window for your office, and position your desk so that the light from your windows comes towards you. That way you’ll get maximum light exposure without your computer screen turning into a white blur of nothingness.
Implement a New Color Scheme
The right colors can make all the difference to a room, so choose your color scheme wisely. Avoid dark reds, browns and greens in your office. These shades will make your space seem cosier, but smaller. White is always a great go-to choice, as are subtle, airy yellows and beiges. If you’re fond of your dark colors, don’t be afraid to add them as a complementary trim. In keeping with your light color scheme, invest in elegant beige and white rugs, and an ash or white-washed desk.
Choose Your Furnishings Carefully
As tempting as it may be to fill your office with comfortable furnishings, it’s not great for your productivity. If you’re using an armchair in place of an office chair, you’re more likely to start jewelry shopping than pull up Excel. Balance comfort and professionalism by choosing an ergonomic office chair for your desk. Ergonomic chairs help to keep your lower back from hunching as you sit, preventing short term discomfort as well as long term back problems. When you choose your desk, make sure than it has a handy lower foot rest so that you can stretch out your legs from time to time. As for other furnishings, try to avoid them altogether unless they’re storage-related. The fewer distractions in your office space, the better.
Congratulations! Your home office is now the perfect balance of elegance and professionalism. Between its light, clean atmosphere and its toxin-clearing plants, you might even want to work there!
Naomi Shaw is an online web journalist and interior decorator based out of Southern California.