During work sessions, the ultimate goal is to feel joyfully productive to a point that it ignites flow state, a mentality in which you are fully immersed in and energetic about your task at hand. Whether you work from home or in an office, your aesthetic surroundings can greatly influence your mood, mental efficiency and ability to finish tasks. Many different aspects of your home office can have positive and negative effects on your well-being and productivity including color, light sources and room layout. Let’s dive in.
According to “The Effects of Colour in Work Environment: A Systematic Review”, over 40 papers on color theory and color affecting mood and the workplace were studied and found to have similar trends when it comes to the influence of color on mood, wellbeing, stress levels and work performance. Color temperatures (warm vs. cool) elicited different responses in the subjects that affected how they perceive their work environment. Cool colors such as blue and green were preferred and had a positive effect on mood and well-being. The color green harmonized with a more peaceful, happy work environment. Blue is perceived as a more positive color than red, which can evoke a stimulating yet distracting work environment. Working in red and/or brightly colored rooms had an energizing effect on the brain, whereas working in an area with white walls was considered boring and uninteresting. According to the study, “good workplace colour combinations can have a positive influence on visual working capacity and increased comfort.” (Lebedkova et al., 2012).
Have you ever tried to concentrate in a room full of excruciatingly bright artificial lighting? What about staring at a computer screen for hours on end? In a study from the American Society of Interior Design, 68% of workers complain about the lighting in their office. Certain types of light can affect our circadian rhythm, which in turn can affect our mood, energy levels and motivation to complete tasks. Bright fluorescent lighting and blue light can cause eye fatigue and headaches. The best light for a comfortable and productive work environment is natural lighting through a window. Natural lighting reduces stress and drowsiness while reducing levels of anxiety. While not office spaces and areas are lucky enough to have a plethora of natural light, it is the best option when it comes to feeling productive. Other ways to promote a well lit working environment is to not work in an area that is too dim nor too bright and to take breaks from staring at screens to avoid eye strain. LED lighting is preferred to fluorescent bulbs as it is more energy efficient and can usually be adjusted (dimmed, brightened, color temperature) to fit the work environment.
Working in an area not suited for your project can be detrimental to its outcome. Whether you work from home or in an office, the layout and furniture in your work area is an important part of your overall productivity. When working from home, try to avoid working in bed, on the couch or in an unconventional area that is distracting. Having a dedicated workspace at home ensures you are in the right mindset and have the correct materials to accomplish the task at hand. (Check out more tips on how to successfully work from home here) Whether you have a home office or a comfortable seating area with natural lighting, make sure the area around you is not cluttered. This can cause anxiety, distress and a sense of claustrophobia. While in an office, a workspace that promotes healthy socialization has been proven to increase productivity. Good lighting, plants, comfortable, good quality office furniture and visually appealing surroundings (wall color, art) can increase happiness and promote a healthy work environment.
Does your work environment pass the test? If not, a few small changes could make a world of difference in your productivity and flow state! Office spaces that make changes to increase the happiness and productivity of their employees can see a drastic improvement in overall morale and employee performance, and improving your work from home environment can breathe new life into your projects and inspire you in ways you never thought possible.