Struggling to focus working at home? Interior choices may be to blame


This is how your room could be affecting your focus (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Office life has resumed for many workers – but lots are still working from home, too.

And, being two years into the pandemic, it’s safe to say our WFH set-ups are well and truly established.

But it seems certain design choices in these designated work spaces could have a detrimental impact on focus and productivity.

MyJobQuote’s interior designer Ryan McDonough has shared three overlooked aspects of office interior design that could negatively impact our work.

He says: ‘Psychologists and interior designers alike agree that the space you work in can impact your levels of creativity.’

Below are three design mistakes that could be affecting your focus, as well as how you can adjust your home to help productivity thrive.

Lighting

You might not realise, but lighting can impact the way you feel in a room.

Ryan says: ‘Every room in your house serves a different purpose and the lighting can either compliment or negatively impact its purpose. A warmer and cosier bulb helps our brains to produce melatonin which helps us feel relaxed and drowsy, so this kind of bulb is best to be avoided.’

Instead, it’s a good idea to opt for bulbs that are brighter and cooler, as this kind of light helps our brains produce serotonin – helping us feel more focused and alert. 

In terms of which bulb to go for, Ryan explains: ‘Look out for the light bulb’s Kelvin (k) number and its Lumen (lm) number. Firstly, the Kelvin number measures its colour temperature, with the higher the number the whiter and cooler the number will be. Look for a number of around 3,000 – 5,000 k.

‘The Lumen number measures its brightness, so the higher the number the brighter the light will be.’

Ryan says, for an office, you should go for a higher – and therefore brighter – number of at least 3000lm.

Seating arrangements

If you’re staring at a blank wall all day, you probably won’t feel very inspired – but moving your seat nearer to a window may help.

Ryan says: ‘Many favour a window seat as it allows them a welcome distraction from time to time, but can also inspire creativity. The backdrop you are sitting in front of has the power to either positively or negatively affect your motivation. 

‘For example, if you live on a busy road, with bustling people and lots of traffic, then this can be distracting and even cause feelings of tiredness – not what you want when tiring to work from home. Instead, sitting in front of more peaceful and serene outdoor spaces, even just a back garden, can help boost focus.’

It seems moving your desk and chair to certain positions could also help reduce feelings of loneliness. 

‘According to Feng Shui principles, the best desk placement is one with your back to the wall, giving you a view of the door,’ adds Ryan.

‘This placement helps create the best energy to feel in control. Placing your desk facing a wall encourages lack of motivation and can even cause anxiety, as your back is to the rest of the room.’

Colour

Colour can impact the way we feel, how we interact with others and our mental wellbeing – so it’s vital to get our interior design shades right.

This is especially the case in a home office, where we spend the majority of our day when we are working from home. 

‘The balance between finding a shade which is stress-reducing yet equally dominant and helps boost motivation can be difficult,’ continues Ryan.

‘Consider the type of work you do, and the issues you tend to face. For example, if you work in a dynamic environment, then opt for a stronger colour palette as this can help boost creativity and motivation. Bold colours such as red or even yellow are good options as they help increase brain activity, however, they don’t promote relaxation and can make unwinding very difficult. 

‘Instead, green tones help promote creativity and help keep your emotions balanced.’

Experts have previously said blue is a great colour for a home office, as it helps generate a feeling of calmness and serenity – so it can also help settle the mind and reduce anxiety during work hours.

Ryan adds: ‘If your days are varied, or perhaps if you aren’t able to decorate your home office, as you are a renter or your “office” also doubles up as your kitchen or living room, then keeping with a neutral tone is the best option. 

‘A more neutral colour can help instill a sense of comfort and tranquility, but you can also inject your own colour and personality by using accessories to decorate your workspace.’

Do you have a story to share?

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