Five steps for creating the ultimate home office

Dining room with a white horizontal panelled wall on which a Hive Thermostat is attached and in the foreground a wooden table with a brown glass vase and small pink vase on it in front of two wooden chairs

It’s time to reward yourself with the home office you deserve.

1. Choose your workspace wisely

A successful working day starts with a positive working environment. Find a space with lots of natural light and if possible, a nice view. Choose somewhere away from distractions (or at least the ones you can easily avoid; some can open doors and demand lunch).

If at all possible, no-go-zones are communal areas like the sitting room or kitchen. Or anywhere with a lot of unwanted noise (this could be from a busy road, or a neighbour that’s learning to play the violin).

Top tip: looking straight ahead at a brick wall? Hang up some pictures of the views you’d love to look out on.

2. Boost your productivity with smart lights and scent

With so much to juggle, lots of us are working funny hours at the moment, which can make it hard to stay motivated. A simple way to keep your brain happy is to hit some of its favourite senses.

Fill the room with a scent you love. Perhaps lavender for calming, lemon for concentration and clarity, or cinnamon, said to fight mental fatigue.

You could also try setting your lights to a different colour. This is really easy with smart lights which allow you to control the colour and brightness of your bulbs straight from your smartphone.

Colours such as blue and green are said to have both calming effects and help concentration, whereas yellow can make you feel energised and motivated.

3. Make sure you’re comfortable

It may sound obvious, but comfort is key. And it’s the little things that can make all the difference. Like investing in a small desk fan, which will go a long way in hot weather to keep you cool and clear headed.

Now is also a good time to make sure your desk is set up correctly. Spending hours on end with bad posture isn’t constructive or healthy.

The NHS website has got some useful advice for the best ways to sit at your desk. We found tips like using a footrest to keep a comfortable neutral posture, and placing your computer screen at eye level (which is really easy to do with a few books underneath) really helpful.

4. Brighten up your desk with plants or flowers

Bringing a little bit of the outside in can really help freshen up the place and create the right environment to let your productivity flow.

If you don’t have a green thumb, no-nonsense plants like cacti create a lovely minimalist feel with no fuss.

Other great low maintenance desk plants include; ‘Peace Lilies’ (require little light and can cope with under or over watering) and Devil’s Ivy (can withstand both too much and too little light and makes a great focal point with its patterned colouring). Alternatively, cheat the system with fake ones!

5. Declutter and give yourself room to think

Overwhelmed by a sea of papers, books, yellow sticky notes, and half-drunk cups of coffee? A messy desk space is like a laptop with 27 tabs open – a lot going on, and incredibly hard to focus on one thing.

If you haven’t got a filing cabinet, have a root around the house to look for something that would work. Perhaps an unused shelf or bedside table, or maybe even a cardboard box from the recycling. Start by tidying away everything you don’t need on a daily basis, saving the much-needed space for easy access to what you do.

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