Sara Alter, founder of MOMENT Consulting, is an entrepreneur and business coach who works from home. She refers to her workspace as a BOFFICE, or bedroom-office.
The BOFFICE, if we’re not careful, can easily become a space where we sit in our PJs all day and work out of our beds. Luckily, most individuals working from home have been hard at work avoiding falling into that trap — and succeeding in setting up an environment that sparks creativity. Follow these tips from WFH pros to create a home-based workspace that stimulates and inspires you each day!
Surround Yourself with Inspiring Items
Alter’s BOFFICE is full of books, pictures, quotes, and mementos that she feels are inspiring and motivating. It’s a tidy space, as being surrounded by inspirational materials should not translate to making a mess. The items curated within it make her feel creative, comfortable, and professional.
“I’m a very visual person and my environment sets the tone for my creativity and productivity,” Alter says.
Alter advises anyone working from home to take the time to curate their own inspiring space. Keep it clean and add elements of self-care that you may find inspiring, ranging from a collage of quotes, framed photos of loved ones, or ambient background music. No matter if it’s a corner office, cubicle, or even a cozy corner in a basement, making room for this space will allow you to feel professional and energized.
Shift Lighting Levels
Molly Forman is an interior designer at //3877. Forman believes that lighting is everything when it comes to the mood and energy of your space. Just think back to life before COVID-19. If you compare and contrast the lighting levels between your work office and home, you’ll likely recall that work was a bit brighter and had a colder temperature meant to keep us focused.
As we work from home, Forman emphasizes finding a way to shift lighting levels from “work time” to “non-work” time. Fill your workspace with natural light during the day, for example. Try to sit in front of or next to a window where the lighting is at its strongest. In the evenings, when the natural light fades away turn on a small lamp. This lighting will be a bit dimmer and remind you that it’s almost time to wrap up your workday.
“Creating this shift in your home can help signify that it is time to transition into home-related tasks, or relaxing.” Forman says.
Set Up a Docking Station
Admittedly, not all work from home environments are created the same. Many people do not have spare rooms to dedicate as a home office. If you find your space isn’t quite as roomy, Forman advises creating a docking station for your laptop and any other work-related equipment. This helps keep work and life compartmentalized.
Lock the Door
On the flip side of the coin, let’s say you do have a spare room that may act as a dedicated work sanctuary. Meg Scott, associate interior designer at //3877, suggests working out of a room that has a door with a key. Make sure you are able to close this door and lock it each day.
Why? “Being able to close off home distractions and focus on the tasks of the day is much easier behind a closed door.” Scott says. If you don’t have a room with a door, sit at a table — and definitely avoid sitting on any sofas or beds.
Watch the Sky
Or do five minutes of absolutely nothing. But you may enjoy looking out your window into the sky, staring at the clouds, and listening to the sounds of your neighborhood, too. This advice from Monica Kang, founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox, is all about scheduling in intentional time to take a pause.
Kang knows that it’s pretty tempting to be on the constant go-go-go. However, it can be a bit harder to find new ways of exploring or trying different things when our brains are always on, which is ultimately detrimental for our creativity.
“Our brain needs time to pause and process,” Kang explains. “Looking at the sky is when you may find a new way of doing something or remember something you wanted to go back to later.”
Create a Wall of Curiosity
Kang keeps a physical wall in her workspace room known as the wall of curiosity. It is full of questions and affirmations all written on Post-it Notes. She keeps it there as a reminder to pause and keep asking questions.
“If I ever feel bogged down or stressed, I go back to my curiosity wall with good quotes, messages, and positive affirmations,” Kang says. “I want to remind myself to think bigger, differently, and openly.”