2020, has been a very special year so far! Working from home is no longer a privilege, it has become a necessity for many of us. While the teleworking experiment is already over for some, it persists for others. According to Barclays’ CEO, Jes Staley, "the concept of working with 7,000 people in the same building may well be a thing of the past". In the light of the current circumstances, creating a "home office" worthy of its name has clearly become a priority. Instructions on how to proceed >>>
Is it possible to create an office space that clearly divides home and work life? What strategies should you adopt to stay productive? Working from home is definitely more complex than it seems and no, it's not sufficient to build a desk out of one board and two blocks of wood. While some favour clean and minimalist offices where a calendar is their only distraction, others prefer flexible, open and creative workspaces.
Photo Credit: Kinga Cichewicz> a talkative and warm office
There certainly is no doubt that teleworking is intimately linked to a family’s routine. Consequently, in the long run, our rigidity should give way to flexibility. While having a private work space is crucial for efficiency, brainstorming new ideas in the living room can be a welcome alternative from time to time. What about phone calls? Get up and move around, you can take the call in the garden or on the balcony where you can stretch your legs and feel inspired. If the kitchen is the heart of your home, it can also become a part of your teleworking routine. Indeed, for those who love to cook, the closer you bring the office to your kitchen, the more productive, energetic and enjoyable your days will be. Why not start your day at the kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee. Take the time to scroll through your emails before heading to your furnished desk. There will always be time for a short tea break in the kitchen before lunchtime. When it comes to the latter, preparing a balanced meal is key – obviously! Taking a lunch break allows your mind to rest and refocus, which can directly improve your productivity for the rest of the day. A thirty-minute jog or brisk walk in the morning before, or the evening after work, can also help you recharge. Being good to yourself will help you feel better! It may sound self-evident but it’s not!
A well-thought-out office is functional with everything in easy reach.
If you're going to work from home for several hours per week, forget about the built-in closet office. This only works in magazines! Proper lighting is a critical part of any home office. The exposure to natural light in an office will increase your productivity and overall wellbeing. Therefore, consider positioning your desk close to a source of natural light. Looking out of a window for example can give us a break from work and a moment to relax. It is proven that in order to limit visual and mental fatigue, we need to be able to look into the distance on a regular basis. Blinds can help you dim the light, if the room gets too bright. If your room is however lacking natural light, consider installing LED lights.
Whether under the staircase, in a niche, the corridor or on top of a low book shelve – there are many ways to create your own office space, the best solution of course being a dedicated room. If you cannot afford partition walls, you can choose a contrasting colour to separate your office from the rest of the room.
A well-thought-out office is functional with everything in easy reach. You must be able to find your documents and work utensils easily. Closed storage space can avoid visual distractions. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate! Surround yourself with a few of your favourite objects, such as paintings, pictures or decorative accessories. Several studies indicate that indoor plants can improve productivity in the work environment. So, take the opportunity to brighten up your office with a bouquet of fresh flowers from time to time.
Have you ever thought about selecting a scent to match your office space? A pleasant fragrance from a scented candle for example can lift your mood throughout a long working day. Even if it’s not recommended to leave a candle lit for longer than half an hour, you can make it your productivity companion while testing the famous Pomodoro method. The idea behind this is, that you concentrate on a task for twenty-five minutes, then give yourself a five-minute break, and repeat the exercise four or five times before allowing yourself to take a longer break of fifteen to twenty minutes. Light the candle at the beginning of each task and once your work is successfully completed you can proudly blow it out!
Photo Credit : Lucija Ros > these little everyday fetish objects
Without the daily commute and the scheduled lunch breaks, people working from home can easily spend an entire working day sitting. This lack of exercise is of course bad for your health. That’s why it is vital to invest in an ergonomically designed chair which enables a dynamic sitting posture. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an office or a decorative chair, the ideal option however being a chair that has thermoformed foam providing your body support for continuous movement while sitting. From a purely aesthetic point of view, a sheepskin on a vintage chair would do the job. As long as you stay active, you can have it! When it comes to the desk, you can create a unique piece of furniture by placing wooden door on trestles or using an old dressing table, but keep in mind that a certain hight and depth is required to maintain the right sitting posture. The minimum depth should be 60 cm. As far as colours are concerned, blue will help you concentrate, red will improve your ability to manage or make decisions, and yellow will increase your creativity, understood?
Another one of those Anglicisms we've adopted in French, embracing the upbeat spirit of our English-speaking friends. We say “waouh” (and not “Yahoo!”, in the manner of my grandmother enjoying the Internet for the first time). Our Larousse dictionary describes it as an expression of “surprise mixed with admiration”. How, then, can we achieve this holy grail of interior design? Here are some ideas to hopefully bring the “wow” effect (or “eureka”, if you prefer) into your home.
Written by: Mélanie Trinkwell, Interior Designer
With the days growing shorter, it's time to talk about lights. This key element in any home improvement project strikes terror into many of us. For proof, look no further than those bare light bulbs still hanging from the ceiling several years after you've moved house… The famous Danish designer Poul Henningsen was already mocking us about this a century ago: "Furniture, style carpets, everything in a home is secondary to the importance of lighting. The correct illumination of a room does not require money, but insight." So, prepare for your very own "Fiat Lux" moment…
Written by: Mélanie Trinkwell, Interior Designer*
Guallart Architects has won the international competition for the design of a mixed-use community in Xiong'an’s new city, defining a new standard in the post-COVID era, that can be applied as a raw model in different cities around the world.
Written by: Guallart Architects,
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