The way we work has changed dramatically over the past few years.
Where once the word “work” was strongly associated with long commutes and corporate office spaces, today, people work from just about anywhere.
Remote work has long been gaining prominence in a number of industries. The convenience and ease with which people can use their laptops in their own homes made this move somewhat inevitable.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the process was accelerated. Social distancing protocols forced employees in almost every sector to switch to remote operations.
And as a result of this development, we’ve realized that most of our primary job functions can be done just as easily from home as in the office.
This has led to an explosion of remote work that is unlikely to reverse—people like working from their homes, and business owners like avoiding expensive office rentals.
Many people working from home don’t make the most of it. They ignore their home office decor or just ignore the idea of a home office entirely, opting instead to work from the couch.
But doing this hurts you in more ways than one.
Why You Need a Dedicated Workspace in Your Home
Before we get into how to decorate, let’s look at why you need to have a dedicated work area in the first place.
Many people think that working from their couch or bed is just as good as working from a home office. They don’t need anything other than their laptops, so why not just set up in the most comfortable spot?
While this might not seem immediately harmful, working from the same areas you use for other activities can have negative consequences.
For starters, your brain associates stimuli very effectively. Suppose you’ve ever smelled the smell of sugar cookies baking and thought of Christmas. You know this first hand.
While this can often bring back pleasant memories, it can also wind up linking unhelpful things. If you work from your living room or your bed, your brain will start to associate work with those areas.
This can make it difficult for you to relax when you’re in these spots. You go to sit on the couch after a long day of work, but your mind is still focused on working.
Not only is this unpleasant, but it can have serious consequences over time. If you work from your bed, you may develop insomnia, causing problems for your physical and mental well-being.
The lack of full relaxation can also lead to chronic low-level stress. This makes you more likely to experience burnout in the long run.
Having a separate space for your work eliminates these problems. Your brain can associate your workspace with your work, and when you clock out and move to the couch, you won’t have the subconscious association working against you.
Why Your Home Office Decor Matters
We’ve established that having a home office is important, but what about the decor?
While it may be tempting to ignore decorating your workspace, doing so is a mistake. Decorating your home office can profoundly impact your productivity, motivation, and sense of stress.
If you make your home office a bare-bones prison cell, it will be all the more difficult to start your workday. No one wants to spend time in an ugly space.
If your workspace isn’t visually inviting, it will take more willpower to start each day, increasing your stress levels over time.
On the flip side, good decor can help you stay enthusiastic and increase mindfulness at work. Bringing in calming visual elements like wall art and plants gives you something to anchor to and makes the space feel more open and comfortable.
Not only is this good for your subjective sense of well-being, but it can also help you get more done. Being calm and mindful keeps you from getting overwhelmed, helping you bring your full attention to the task at hand.
As a result, you bring your best to your work while also feeling calm and collected.
Your space doesn’t have to be extravagant, though. Just adding a few details can go a long way.
If you’re new to home office decor, plants are a fantastic place to start. Seeing green has been linked to a positive mood, meaning this addition will likely make your face feel more inviting.
A bit of wall art or a mirror are also great additions. Art can be calming and make the space feel more complete, and mirrors help make spaces feel bigger and more comfortable.
Finally, consider adding a few trinkets to your desk. Making your desk personally appealing will help you feel comfortable throughout the day as you focus on your work.
The rise of remote work means more people than ever are working from home.
If this includes you, it’s important you dedicate a corner of your home solely for work. This will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance by keeping you from mixing work and relaxation.
It’s also a good idea to decorate your home office. A bit of decoration can make it easier to start work, stay focused, and keep your stress levels low.