Once, it was just a fantasy. But for little over a year, it has been a necessity. We are, of course, talking about remote working. For now, and for the foreseeable future, the inevitability of working from home can prove surprisingly controversial. We’ve adapted to the new habits of discipline, timetables, and distraction limitation. But how many of us have found the ideal place to conduct our work? Or do we continue to jump from the living room to the kitchen, from one table to another, even from the sofa to the bed? There is an urgent need to restore order to the home working – living balance.
First – as the great Virginia Woolf wrote – there is the importance of having ‘a room of one’s own’. Better yet, let us add a door you can close, and a window offering good light and fresh air. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have such a space? An office, maybe, or a studio. Or is it the spare bedroom, the utility room, perhaps even the garage?
Where to position your desk
According to the ancient wisdom of feng shui, energy will begin to flow through your home office when you follow a series of guidelines. Experts recommend having a wall behind you, rather than a door or window. And avoid facing a window, you’ll be distracted easily if you don’t. As for all-important light, try to get it on your non-dominant side (if you are right-handed, it should come from the left; if you are left-handed, from the right). Next, let’s talk about seating. Your chair needs to be comfortable. In fact, the most comfortable you can find. Preferably ergonomic, and with wheels. Avoid the dining room chair at all costs. The table, or desk, must be the right size for your space requirements, with room for cables. Chose the best place for your calls and videoconferences by paying close attention both to lighting and the background you’ll be displaying. Importantly, don’t forget to take into account the electrical connections you’ll need for all your devices.
The colours of your environment should be warm and soft. Aim for shades of white, beige, pale pink or green. Do you have a bookshelf? Try to place it in front of you or to your side, not behind you. Surround yourself with inspirational objects, and pictures that put a smile of your face. Plants act as ionisers, counteracting radiation from electrical appliances and purifying the air. Look after them and remove dry leaves, which can generate negative energy. Consider complementing their presence with aromatherapy. Citrus, rosemary, sage and peppermint tones all encourage concentration, while cinnamon, rose, mint and mandarin help with creativity.
Natural tones for relaxing
While keeping work and living spaces separate is ideal, don’t worry if your home doesn’t have the extra room – there’s always a solution. Even if great writers like Marcel Proust produced their best work in bed, try to avoid the bedroom, as it serves a different purpose! Try not to have desks, documents, computers, tablets, or mobile phones in the bedroom. You’ll find it hard to work or rest well. Needless to say, the kitchen is another space to steer clear of. Mixing food and liquids with important paperwork and electronic devices is rarely recommended.
That leaves the living room. Yes, it is a communal area, and that can break your concentration. But we can work around that. Again, we’re looking for natural light, and keeping the TV out of our line of sight, if possible. It’s important to keep everything you need organised and close to hand, ideally in a box or container. When you have to clear a space for lunch at the desk/dining table, it’ll be quick, and less disruptive. Given that the living room has several uses, and that you may be sharing it with others, try to keep it well ventilated to maintain maximum concentration and well-being. And don’t forget your electricity supply! A living room should have decorative objects, and the colour palette should include neutral colours that transmit serenity, stability and confidence; light blues that help to connect with emotions and economic growth; or soft greens that favour creativity and the development of new ideas. Remember: white increases mental activity and, by extension, concentration.
Now this is all well and good, but none of it really matters if we neglect order, cleanliness and schedules. The stricter these are, the better.
Spend time decorating both your home, and your home office. It will directly impact your performance and productivity, and physical and emotional health.
Always remember: your remote working space reflects who you are.