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Look Good, Feel Good... How to Rock Working from Home

Updated: Apr 21

 


A woman working from home in her organised and well-decorated office

Why (And 7 Tips for How) You Should Set Up a Beautiful and Inspiring Environment: 


We’re all familiar with the saying “look good, feel good”. Also known as Korman’s consistency theory, it most commonly references the self-confidence, positivity, and success that comes from embracing and celebrating our self-image. More specifically, “workers will engage in, and find satisfying, behaviors that maximize their sense of cognitive balance and will be motivated to perform in a manner consistent with their self-image" (American Psychological Association). Research has shown that self-care and grooming tasks can make a large impact on our mental health1 and business success2. Can the same theory be applied to acts of care for our workspaces in our at-home environments?   


The Essentials of Working from Home: Nurture Both Productivity and Wellbeing:


In the ever-changing landscape of work, the boundaries between professional and personal life continue to blur. As remote work becomes increasingly common, the value of carving out a dedicated workspace within the home can’t be overstated.  


Fostering Focus and Productivity 

One of the primary benefits of having a designated workspace at home is the ability to create an environment that encourages your concentration and productivity. When you have a designated area for work, it signals to your brain that it’s time to focus, allowing you to enter a more productive mindset.  


Optimizing Efficiency and Organization 

A well-organized workspace, whether in-home or in-office, is essential for optimizing efficiency and minimizing distractions. Beyond organization, having a space equipped with all necessary tools and resources streamlines workflow and allows for the most productivity. Purchasing organizational products, such as file cabinets, shelving units, and digital productivity tools reduces physical and virtual clutter that may impede our ability to work effectively.  


Boosting Our Mental Well-being 

The mental health benefits of an intentionally created home workspace are plentiful. By creating a dedicated area for work, individuals can more easily navigate those common feelings of stress and anxiety associated with the blurred boundaries between professional and personal life. Additionally, having a designated workspace reduces decision fatigue by eliminating the need to choose each day where to work within the home. This sense of structure and routine contributes to a greater sense of control and reduces cognitive overload. 


Establishing Boundaries 

Without physical separation, it's easy for work-related stress to spill over into personal time. This can lead to burnout and a decreased sense of well-being3. Having a designated area for work allows individuals to mentally clock in and out, maintaining a healthier balance between professional responsibilities and personal pursuits. 


Facilitating Collaboration and Communication 

While remote work is often made up of independently completed tasks, collaboration and communication remain integral aspects of many professions that offer remote work. A home workspace equipped with the necessary technology (i.e. video conferencing software, reliable internet connectivity) enables individuals to seamlessly collaborate with colleagues and clients from the comfort of their home. Additionally, having a designated and visually appealing area for work enhances professionalism during virtual meetings and presentations. 


 

Now that we know why it is important to designate a workspace, let's talk about how we do that. 

 

Crafting Your Ideal Workspace:  

A minimalist workspace with ample lighting, comfortable seating, and greenery.
A minimalist workspace with decor and greenery.

In the era of remote work and home offices, the workspace has transcended its traditional role as merely a functional area. Whether you're carving out a corner in your living room or dedicating an entire room to your work, creating a beautiful workspace is essential for fostering an environment for success! Personalizing the environment with inspiring décor, comfortable furnishings, and organizational tools fosters a sense of ownership and creativity. The ambiance of a workspace can significantly impact one's ability to generate new ideas and problem-solve effectively. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you set up a workspace that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. 


1. Choose the Right Location 

Selecting the perfect location for your workspace sets the foundation for its ambiance and functionality.

  • Consider factors such as natural light, noise levels, and proximity to household distractions.

  • Aim for a space with ample natural light to boost mood4 and productivity and position your desk to minimize glare on your computer screen.

  • Opt for a quiet area away from high-traffic zones to minimize distractions and enhance focus5


2. Invest in Quality Furniture 

The cornerstone of any beautiful workspace is quality furniture that combines form and function seamlessly.

  • Invest in a comfortable and ergonomic chair that supports good posture and reduces the risk of discomfort or injury during long work hours.

  • Your desk should be spacious enough to accommodate your work essentials—whether it's a laptop, monitor, or paperwork—while still leaving room for personal touches and decorative elements. 


3. Personalize Your Space 

Personal items that decorate a work desk

Decorate your workspace with elements that reflect your personality and inspire you.

  • Add artwork, photographs, or motivational quotes that resonate with your goals and uplift your spirit.

  • Investing in indoor plants breathes life into your space and improves the air quality in your setting.

  • Consider which colors to include in your environment, as a substantial amount of research supports colors can improve productivity, creativity, and calm harmony6.


4. Declutter and Organize 

A clutter-free workspace is essential for maintaining focus and productivity.

  • Take the time to declutter your desk and surrounding area, keeping only the essentials within reach.

  • Invest in organizational tools such as storage bins, file organizers, and cable management solutions to keep your workspace tidy and functional.

  • A clean and organized environment not only enhances productivity, but also contributes to a sense of calm and clarity. 


5. Prioritize Comfort and Ergonomics 

Comfort is paramount when setting up a workspace where you'll spend hours at a time.

  • Ensure that your desk and chair are at the appropriate height to promote good posture and reduce strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.

  • Consider adding ergonomic accessories such as a keyboard tray, monitor stand, or footrest to further enhance comfort and support.

  • Remember to take regular breaks and incorporate movement into your routine to prevent stiffness and fatigue. 


Natural light shining in through a window

6. Optimize Lighting 

Effective lighting is crucial for creating a welcoming and functional workspace.  

  • To get the most out of its mood-boosting effects, maximize natural light by positioning the desk near a window.  

  • Using sheer curtains or blinds helps to control brightness and glare. 

  • Supplement natural light with ambient and task lighting to ensure enough brightness throughout the day and to reduce eye strain.  

  • Both natural and artificial light are important for employee’s mental health7.  

  • To create a warm and inviting atmosphere, experiment with different lighting fixtures like desk and floor lamps.  

7. Embrace Minimalism (or don’t) 

Incorporating minimalist design principles can help create a clean and serene workspace that encourages clarity and focus.

  • Choose furniture and decor with clean lines and simple silhouettes to create a sense of balance and harmony. If this does not fit into your style and your desk looks more like Penelope Garcia’s, don’t fret.

  • The most important part is to keep surfaces clear of unnecessary clutter, which could mean opting for a less-is-more approach to decoration.

  • By embracing minimalism, you can create a space that feels open, uncluttered, and beneficial to productivity. 

 
aesthetic home office with ergonomic furniture

Designing a beautiful workspace is not just about aesthetics—it's about creating an environment that inspires both professionally and personally to enhance the work-from-home model. By carefully selecting the right location, most comfortable furniture, decor, and lighting, you can craft a workspace that reflects your unique style and fuels your passion for work. Beyond facilitating productivity and efficiency, an intentionally crafted home workspace contributes to mental well-being, creativity, and work-life balance. By creating a designated area for focused work, remote workers can optimize job performance while also fostering an overall sense of job fulfillment and satisfaction. Whether it's an entire office room, a cozy nook, or a minimalist desk, investing in a home workspace is a great investment in both professional success and personal well-being. 


 

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References 

  1. Why self-care leads to business success. SFU Beedie School of Business. (n.d.). https://beedie.sfu.ca/article/why-self-care-leads-to-business-success 

  1. Breslau, B., & Ramseur, S. (2022, January 7). Addressing the burnout, loneliness, and indifference associated with remote work. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/sponsored/2021/12/addressing-the-burnout-loneliness-and-indifference-associated-with-remote-work 

  1. Ko, E. (2022, March 25). Being in natural light improves mood, increases happiness. UCLA Health. https://www.uclahealth.org/news/being-in-natural-light-improves-mood-increases-happiness 

  1. Khajenasiri F, Zamanian A, Zamanian Z. The Effect of Exposure to High Noise Levels on the Performance and Rate of Error in Manual Activities. Electron Physician. 2016 Mar 25;8(3):2088-93. doi: 10.19082/2088. PMID: 27123216; PMCID: PMC4844473. 

  1. Kwallek, Nancy & Soon, Kokyung & Lewis, Carol. (2007). Work week productivity, visual complexity, and individual environmental sensitivity in three offices of different color interiors. Color Research & Application. 32. 130 - 143. 10.1002/col.20298. 

  1. Bergefurt L, Appel-Meulenbroek R, Arentze T. How physical home workspace characteristics affect mental health: A systematic scoping review. Work. 2023;76(2):489-506. doi: 10.3233/WOR-220505. PMID: 37066958; PMCID: PMC10657703. 

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