Pictured: Great Western Street
What’s the key to success? Getting started. We all know this, yet three Facebook messages and half an article later and we’re still sat staring at our laptops with the text cursor blinking back at us.
However, whether you’re a student or home-working professional aiming for the perfect study space, then there are plenty of simple ways to achieve your home office goals and maximise your productivity in your rented apartment.
Bring the Outdoors In
From pilea to the tropical Swiss cheese, indoor houseplants have never been more popular. Not only are houseplants pleasing to look at (and totally Instagrammable), but they also help to improve indoor air quality. Things like non-organic cleaning products can release toxic compounds in any home, which results in an undesirable stagnation of these common pollutants.
Houseplants, such as the spider plant and aloe vera, absorb these toxic compounds whilst releasing oxygen, resulting in cleaner air quality. Voilà!
If you’re not yet encouraged to turn your home desk space into a miniature version of the Eden Project, then the lure of improved brain power may tempt you. Studies have shown that houseplants may even help to improve cognitive functioning, largely due to something called the Attention Restoration Theory. Without getting too technical here, plants are thought to grab our ‘undirected attention’, which helps to give our brains a rest from the less-desirable directed attention (e.g. Excel spreadsheets).
This is all well and good, but don’t plants require undivided attention to prevent a crispy and wilted ending? Not if you make safe choices! Hardy plants such as small cactuses or succulents require less maintenance and can last as long as your family dog with adequate care. If you don’t trust in your green-fingered abilities, then even viewing pictures of nature scenes can help to reduce stress and improve cognitive functioning. Hop on Pinterest and print yourself some flora-rich scenes to give your desk space a makeover.
Focus with Mind-boosting Scents
Certain scents have the wonderful ability to take us down memory lane or evoke states or emotions that can increase productivity. Whilst vanilla and lavender are recognised for their calming qualities, jasmine and citrus scents are effective at boosting alertness and energy levels.
Whether you choose to place a reed diffuser on your desk or spritz organic air freshener around your workspace, the scents you choose to surround yourself with could significantly impact your productivity.
Make Comfort a Priority
When slaving away at a 10,000 word assignment, it’s easy to forget the time and end up superglued to your desk chair. It goes without saying that it’s extremely important to take regular breaks, but it’s also important to ensure that the time you spend at your desk is as comfortable as possible.
To help prevent eye fatigue, your computer screen should be at eye level or slightly below, with your forearms parallel to the floor when using your keyboard.
When Beech Design & Build (our sister company) designed their latest office space, they focused on creating a space that encourages colleagues to move around. The bins were placed at the far end of the office, whilst the printer paper was stored in cupboards away from the printer. Rather than having all of your home office supplies in one space, try keeping some of your storage away from your desk space - perhaps in a separate cupboard.
Pictured: The new Beech Design & Build office
Our apartments come with smart floor-to-ceiling storage and underbed storage beneath gas-lift ottoman beds, meaning you’ll never be short of hidden storage solutions for your home office supplies.
Also, don’t feel that you need to be stuck to your desk area to be productive. Sometimes moving to the sofa to read an informative book can give your brain that much-needed change of scenery. Attention Restoration Theory, anyone?
Personalise Your Home Office Space
Lastly, don’t be afraid to give your home office space some personality! Whether you handwrite inspirational quotes on coloured craft paper or source a stylish photo frame for your favourite holiday snap, all of these small changes will make you feel more inclined to sit down in your personal space and be productive.
Needing some colour inspiration? Soft blue shades are thought to help you concentrate and calm your mind, whilst vibrant colours such as orange and yellow can encourage creativity. Keep this in mind when you practice your calligraphy skills!
Pictured: Great Western Street
All in all, you don’t need to go to extravagant lengths to transform your home office space. A few simple changes, including incorporating a few houseplants and calming scents, can help you to be more focused and productive at home. So, swap the countless mugs of coffee for a jasmine reed diffuser and your dissertation is good to go...
Which ideas have you used to transform your home office space? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch on Twitter.
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