The nation-wide COVID-19 lockdown has been a strange and difficult period for most South Africans. It has meant spending more time with our families at home, juggling children and their learning, as well as trying to maintain an income.
As President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 23 April 2020, South Africa will begin a phased re-opening of the economy to try and prevent the number of infections from rising rapidly. He also stressed that those who can work from home should continue to do so as much as possible.
As working from home could be the new normal for many for the foreseeable future, it’s important to ensure that your home workspace is an area that is geared towards productivity.
Kim Williams, an interior design creative and human behavioural specialist, says that when it comes to a workspace, great design is more important than simple aesthetics.
“Beautiful, functional, and clean spaces have a profoundly positive impact on our psychological well-being,” she explains.
“In a time where our mental health may be taking strain, it’s crucial to optimise your space so that you can live, play and work better.”
Easylife Kitchens has designed and created many functional and beautiful home offices over the years. As experts on functional design, we asked Stacy Japhta, Franchisee of Easylife Kitchens Kenilworth, and Kim Williams how to create a workspace at home that works for you.
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We maximised every inch of this small space to give us maximum functionality without feeling cluttered. The oak desk and TV area cabinetry is all push to open so lines are clean and minimalist. Furniture selected is smaller except for the big fluffy sheepskin fat sac which is the most beloved item in the room. @ambiente.luce @superbalist @weylandtshome #bedroom #girly #pink #softwhite #bedroomdecor #inspiration #interior #love #desk #interiorlove #designer #decorator #capetown #fatsac #kim_williams_design
ALSO SEE: How To Work From Home Effectively
8 Tips for a Functional and Effective Home Office
1. Choose the perfect location
“A view of the outdoors is ideal, if possible,” says Japhta. “But if you have a blank wall in front of your desk you can also add a lovely textured wallpaper to give your space some life.”
What does your space need to achieve on a physical level? Will you need to share with anyone? What equipment will you need? Williams suggests thinking about Wi-Fi and plugs for devices, as well as how large the space needs to be.
2. Consider the lighting
“Enough natural light is first prize, but if not, then sufficient artificial lighting is necessary for gloomy days,” advises Japhta.
“Invest in a funky desk lamp – it will give you the lighting you need and add to the overall look of your space.”
“Light and temperature have a massive impact on us,” Williams adds. “It’s been proven that if you sit in a small dark area, it brings down your body temperature and mood. This is why setting your space up where you can look out of a window has a significantly positive impact on you.”
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Enjoying my home office – don't think its ever been so organised. Have had time to clear out the space and the refreshed energy feels great. Am loving my vintage prints, and repurposed server with a fresh coat of paint. I moved my the black hanging lights off the centre of the room to give more light over my desk as opposed to a desk lamp, and it creates more space over my desk… how's your home office space working? #homeoffice #office #officedesign #safespace #refreshed #designer #interiorlove #kim_williams_design
3. Think about colour
“Try and keep the colour scheme of your space neutral and add pops of colour using furniture or accessories,” says Japhta.
“This helps to brighten the tone of your office area without making it distracting. It also helps to ensure that your workspace fits in more easily with the rest of your home.”
4. Keep your space tidy
“Being organised and giving everything a designated spot contributes to a productive environment and an effective home office,” explains Japhta.
Williams also suggests setting out your workspace every morning and taking it down every evening to solidify the feeling of a beginning and end of your workday.
5. Set up a schedule
If you’re sharing a space with other members of your family, consider setting up a schedule. “Agree on demarcated public and private spaces for your family and set some clear boundaries of who gets which space at what time,” says Williams.
“You need to consider the invisible factors of shared space, such as ambient noise from other people in the house and how profoundly it affects your concentration. Setting up a schedule can alleviate some of your interruptions throughout the day,” she says.
6. Allocate times for specific activities
This creates a sense of accountability as you need to complete your work in a specific time frame. Psychologically, it will make you more disciplined and therefore, more productive.
7. Set up your desk
One of the most critical factors of an effective home office is to make sure your desk is set up properly. “You can’t focus when your back is killing you so ensure you have a decent chair and that your desk is the right height for you,” warns Japhta.
Experiment with different arrangements until you find one that works best.
8. Add finishing touches
Lastly, add the finishing touches to your work area. Playing music, and adding accessories and greenery all help to create ambience. If the space makes you feel good, you’ll be far more productive and effective while working in it.
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst