Since we spend a lot of time in our home offices, it’s a good idea to set them up according to our needs. But if you don’t have the time or money for a complete office makeover, even a few simple changes can turn your home office from drab to inspirational.
Here are a few things you can try:
Add a plant or two. It can be refreshing to see some green plants your office. They can provide the necessary contrast, especially if you too many gadgets lying around. Some particular types of plants, such as heartleaf philodendron and English ivy, can also improve the air quality in your office. Just make sure to place them near a window.
If you want to add more artistic flair to your office plants, you can use a terrarium instead. For inspiration, visit the terrarium pool at Flickr.
Have visual inspiration. I like having paintings, posters and other inspiring visuals in my office. These range from family photos to framed paintings from some artist friends. Having them around helps me regain my focus when I find that my eyes are randomly wandering around the room. If you don’t have the budget to buy art prints, you can always look for interesting images online and print them. The Dubberly Design Office has a wonderful concept map of the creative process, which you can download as a PDF file. Hugh MacLeod also has cartoons you can print out and use as “cube grenades.”
Evaluate your desk for ergonomics. Even a few inches can make a difference to your comfort. Ergotron.com has a handy workspace planner that allows you to find the right position for your workstation’s components.
Keep healthy snacks and drinks nearby. Many web workers I know love to keep a cup of tea or coffee at their desk. But instead of placing them on the same table as your computer, I suggest that you place them on a different table to prevent accidental spills.
I also find that planning healthy snacks beforehand and placing them in my office makes it easy for me to choose healthy food (such as fruits) compared to convenience foods I tend to find in the fridge or the kitchen. By making the healthier snacks easier to access, they’ll be the first thing I’ll reach for. It’s a good idea to keep a basket or tray of healthy snacks in your office.
Add a whiteboard. There are so many ways to use a whiteboard that I find it hard to imagine working without one. While I keep my daily task list on Google Calendar, the whiteboard gives me a quick overview of my commitments for the next three months.
Repaint your walls. The ambient color of your office can make a big difference to your working mood. Cool colors such as blue and green tend to be relaxing, while bright colors like orange and yellow are invigorating. Color psychology isn’t an exact science, so choose the paint color that reflects your working style.
Set up a relaxation corner. Sometimes my home office is the only quiet room in the house. Although I mostly do my work in this office, it also becomes my sanctuary when my housemates have people over. If you have a similar home environment, a small chair can be good for unwinding during your breaks.
Have you tried doing any of the above items? What other simple changes have you made to your home office?