6 office designer-approved tips for a productive WFH space

6 office designer-approved tips for a productive WFH space

At Breather, productivity is important to us — and we know that has a lot to do with where you work. In fact, we pride ourselves on designing offices and meeting spaces that are built with productivity in mind. Recently, we gave our team the challenge of leveraging their office expertise to provide tips and shopping suggestions to ease the transition into working from home. Every home office included in this blog is from one of our team members — don’t worry though, some of us are still working from the couch.

Whether it’s your first time WFH or your space needs a refresh, our design team shared their top six tips for creating a home office to encourage a productive workday.

1. Create a designated space for work


This is a bit of a luxury, but, if it’s possible, the best-case scenario is to carve out a space in your home to be designated for work that you can access in the morning and walk away from in the evening. Your new home office can be housed in an unused room (again, a luxury especially for city-dwellers). A corner in the living or dining room works, too — any room at all will fit the bill, as long as this “zone” is a no-go during off-work hours. Maintaining the routine of “going to work” is key, and disconnecting afterward is just as important.

2. Bring nature inside


Biophilia! Humans have an inherent desire and need to connect with nature, and the positive impacts of natural elements like plants (or even pictures of plants in some cases) include reduced stress, improved cognitive function, and enhanced mood and creativity. Adding plants to your workspace can even boost productivity by 15%, according to a survey conducted at the University of Exeter. Not a green thumb? Pictures of nature and natural and calming colors, like certain shades of green, can also have similar effects.

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3. Get a comfortable chair


Although Pinterest is flooded with images of beautiful wooden desk chairs, don’t give into aesthetics when it comes to a home office that will frequently be used for 8+ hours a day. Instead, think of your needs. An ergonomic chair that can be adjusted to suit your body is one of the most important features in any workspace. According to a study conducted by Herman Miller and Texas A&M, a good chair can even reduce stress and cognitive load by allowing you to focus on work instead of back pains.

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4. Adjust your workstation to your liking 


It may sound obvious, but when determining your work station, be sure to think about the set up that’s right for you. Do you want a sit-stand desk or would you prefer to be seated? If you’re using a monitor is the height comfortable for you or are you craning your neck just to see? Mass-produced desks aren’t tailor-made for each of us, they were made for everyone and anyone all at once. With that in mind, it’s important to set up your desk, chair, electronics, and accessories to best suit you and your needs, as the The Wall Street Journal reported.

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5. Maintain a clutter-free workspace


Keeping your primary workspace clean and clutter-free is a major contributor to increased productivity. Having to navigate strewn papers on your desk and piles of clutter on the floor can subconsciously trigger stress. Studies show that clutter in the home can lead to high stress levels, while a clean work or home environment leads to increased productivity. Everything in the home office should have somewhere to be stored — consider using shelving, filing cabinets, or desktop paper organizers to manage mess.

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6. Soak in that natural light


Ensuring your home workspace is near a source of natural light is a leading factor in determining productivity and overall happiness. That’s true in any work environment, though. In a survey of 250,000 employees worldwide conducted by the Leesman Index, 75.5% said that having access to natural light at work is important to them. Working from home, even for a few days, can be lonely, and that’s where natural light comes in: It connects us with nature, allows us to see beautiful sunsets (which marks the passage of time), and even provides inspiration.

Working from home isn’t quite the same as staying home. Creating a dedicated workspace designed with productivity in mind is your first step to establishing a solid WFH routine. And once you have a good workflow, make sure to check in and communicate with your co-workers. As the saying goes, team work makes the dream work — and we could all use a little help right now.

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