10 Ways To Create A Calming And Productive Workspace At Home

Working from home can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help make your workspace a calm and productive environment.
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Working from home has become the new normal today, with more and more people opting to do so even as the world opens up. It can be very challenging to manage the stresses of work and personal life every day, especially when there isn't a clear division between the two.

Given these circumstances, the best that you can do for yourself is to make a conscious effort to convert your workspace into a more calming and productive environment. While it may not be possible for everyone to have a separate study or office to work out of at home, there are a few simple things that you can do to make your existing space a pleasant one. 

Calm and Productive Workspace
Calm and Productive Workspace

Here are 10 simple things that you can do to make your workspace more calming and productive. 

1. Make sure to have sufficient natural light and ventilation

Having a good amount of natural light and fresh air in your workspace can do wonders for your productivity and overall wellness.

A study done by Dr.  Alan Hedge, a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University found that natural light not only had significant health and wellness benefits but also led to enhanced individual performance and alertness. Additionally, the study indicated that natural light also allowed for strained eyes to relax and recover from fatigue.

Placing your work desk in front of a window is a good idea to get that much-needed sunlight with a view. If the sun is too bright, you can use light curtains or blinds that filter out the harsh rays. However, if a window-facing desk is not feasible, just make sure that the room you're using has enough natural light and ventilation. 

Natural light in your work space
Natural light in your workspace

2. Declutter your desk 

A cluttered and chaotic workspace translates to a cluttered and chaotic mind. When you're having a stressful day, sitting to work at a cluttered table can cause low-grade stress as there is too much information for the eyes and the mind to process.  On the other hand, wellness experts suggest that an organized, tranquil desk, can not only increase productivity but can also bring about a sense of contentment, improve mindfulness and decision-making while soothing and relieving stress.

Maintaining an open, clean and sleek workspace has become the norm in several corporate offices today. These efforts have proven to be beneficial in several ways and should be adopted at home as well. For instance, a clean table opens up your workspace and can help you focus better on tasks that need to get done.

Organize your desk in such a way that only the most important items that are used regularly are on your desk. The rest should be stored separately. This way, you'll know exactly where everything you need is, thereby, saving you a lot of time and effort. In fact, cleaning and organizing are even said to be therapeutic. 

Declutter your table
Declutter your table

3. Set up your workspace in an ergonomic manner

A comfortable desk and chair of the right height are key to setting up an ergonomic workspace. Aches, pains, and discomfort from improper equipment and posture can cause a dip in your productivity and can also increase physical and mental stress.

Make sure that your desk and chair are at an appropriate height so that your legs fit comfortably under the desk with space to cross them when your feet are flat on the ground. Your arm and forearm should ideally be at a 90-degree angle while it is resting on the desk. Tilt your computer screen slightly upward so that your eyes are directly in line with the top of the screen. This will ensure that you are comfortably seated without putting stress on your neck, shoulders, and joints.

Another great option to explore is standing or adjustable desks which allow you to set the height of your desk at a point that works best for you. Changing your posture regularly can help to fight fatigue and injuries from repetitive movements. Therefore, when your work setup is ergonomic, not only will you focus better, but you'll also be relieved of unnecessary physical stress. 

Ergonomic workspace
Ergonomic workspace

4. Introduce plants into your workspace

It's common knowledge that plants and nature have several health benefits. The most common one being that they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen to improve the quality of air in your space. In addition to this, they have several other wellness benefits such as improvement in mental health, immune system, concentration, and productivity. 

A study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology also found evidence that having an indoor plant and interacting with it can reduce psychological and physiological stress in young adults. The infamous plant room in Grey's Anatomy was specially set up just to help doctors and patients relax and has become a common piece of decor in hospitals and offices today. Several plant owners have even reported feeling calmer by just looking at their plants while working. 

Maintaining and caring for these plants can be challenging but the benefits far outweigh the cons. To combat this issue, you could opt for a low-maintenance plant like a cactus which requires relatively less water and care. 

Introduce plants into your workspace
Introduce plants in your workspace

5. Personalize your space

Personalizing your space can give you a sense of comfort and belonging. You can personalize your space using absolutely anything from your favorite pictures and paintings to wall hangings and crystals.

Being around familiar items, in a place that you've decorated can help you feel calm and relaxed. Little additions like motivational quotes or a fun desk calendar can help improve focus and productivity as well. 

Personalize your space
Personalize your space

6. Try aromatherapy using scented candles and oils

Scented candles and oils have been used for healing and meditation purposes for years. Our sense of smell is one of the strongest and different scents can help improve different aspects of our mental and physical wellness.

The candle flame's gentle light creates an overall calming effect and the scent can improve concentration levels, mental clarity, memory, mood, and productivity by stimulating the part of the brain connected to these abilities. A study in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that aromatherapy seemed to change autonomic nervous activity toward a balanced state especially among subjects with moderate and high degrees of anxiety.

Use scented candles and oils
Use scented candles and oils

7. Experiment with lighting

Lighting can really help change the mood and vibe of a space. For a more relaxing and cozy effect, opt for yellow-tinted lighting fixtures like fairy lights in front of your desk, candle lights, or other yellow lights. Studies have shown that this type of lighting can even change a person's mood from anxious to comfortable and relaxed. 

Bright LED lights and white lights can help you stay active and focus which is why it is most commonly used in offices. You could purchase a good-quality table lamp with LED lights and use it whenever required to help you stay productive. Alternatively, you could opt for an LED strip around your table or advanced, smart lights which can change color at the click of a button to match your mood. 

Experiment with lighting
Experiment with lighting

8. Play with music and sound

We all know about the wonderful, calming effects of music on the human body. It helps reduce cortisol levels and some research papers even indicate that it helps the body recover from stressors much faster. In addition to this, it can also help with enhancing productivity. 

Several studies have indicated that listening to music while working can lead to an improvement in creativity and productivity among office workers. This particular study in Science Daily even talks about how Baroque classical music seems to have a greater impact on productivity. 

While there is evidence that some amount of noise can help improve creativity and encourage one to be productive, it is not everyone's cup of tea. Some people just function better in a quiet and peaceful environment. If you are such a person but do not have a quiet enough space, you can invest in a pair of noise cancellation headphones that can do the job for you. 

Play with music & sound
Play with music & sound

9. Embrace light colors 

Light colors can help brighten and open up your space. They can reflect light and give the illusion of a bigger, more open space. in addition to this, light colors have a more calming and relaxing effect on the mind than darker colors.

Another benefit of having a light desk and light colors in your space is that you can see exactly where everything is and won't have to waste a ton of time and energy in finding your stuff in the middle of a hectic work-day.

White desks are very versatile and can be styled in many different ways using accessories and colors. Sleek white desks and gold accents are very classy and have become a trend today. Although it may be slightly difficult to maintain, it's definitely worth the trouble. Alternatively, you could opt for a light brown wood table. It can give your space a rustic look and is much easier to maintain.

Embrace light colors
Embrace light colors

10. Set up a meditation spot 

Whether you're working out of a home office or your bedroom, try to find a small corner or a comfortable spot in which you can spend a few, quiet moments meditating. You don't need a lot of space and neither do you need any equipment. A cozy chair or enough space to comfortably sit on the floor is more than sufficient. You could do this at your desk, but it is advisable to move away from your work where all the stress is.

Try to spend at least 10 minutes, if not more doing some mindful meditation. You could even try free guided ones available on YouTube. This can make a huge difference to your mood and how you go about your day, particularly on hectic days.

Even if meditation is not for you, try to consciously take out these 10 minutes to just close your eyes and relax. It helps to know that you can get away from all your stress for at least these 10 minutes on any given day. In fact, studies have shown that practicing meditation can help reduce stress, improve emotional health, and even attention. 

Set up a meditation corner
Set up a meditation corner

To conclude, working from home can be tough and it may be helpful to keep a track of your high productivity hours so that you can get the most done within this time.  However, these tips can help make your workspace a more calm and productive environment where you can give your best.

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