Work is chaotic enough at the best of times. Fast-paced, stressful and far too much ineffective multitasking taking place. Now that many of us are working from home, few of these elements have changed. When your home is also your office, separating your professional life from your personal life can be challenging. The initial novelty of rolling out of bed minutes before starting work sounded appealing in theory. But over time, blurring the lines between work and home can lead to inefficiency, declining performance, increased stress and even burnout. Working from home does not lessen these things, but can make us more vulnerable as we work in isolation and do not interact with colleagues or friends in the usual way.
That’s why creating a peaceful home workspace can be essential for maintaining a strong delineation between work and home life. However, it can be challenging to achieve this when many people live in flats or studio flats, and houseshares. In these situations, you do not have the luxury of a separate home office room. Instead, you are working in bedrooms or living rooms, making working from home uncomfortable. The space you choose to create your home office space in does not need to be ‘perfect’, it is more important that you pick a spot and stick with it as this will help you maintain consistency and be in a work frame of mind. Working on a dining table, coffee table, small table or sofa is not ideal, but there are ways that you can turn these areas into practical work stations no matter how big or small.
A great way to approach creating a peaceful workspace is by tuning into your five senses to make the right ambience for you:
- Sight: It might not be practical for your home office to paint the walls or hang artwork, but if we focus on the desk area, you could place frame photos of friends and families that conjure up fond memories, decorate with vibrant potted plants which not only purify the air but also act as a small barrier between you and the rest of the room. Place memorabilia or auspicious charms to serve as motivational anchors on difficult days. Even placing your stationery in pretty pots or trays can make a big difference in how you feel and organise your workspace. If you work on two screens perhaps use Window Swap to see the view from another window in the world – a great way to escape whilst still at your desk.
- Sound: If you are in a room where there are potential distractions, you can use headphones to block out sounds, or listen to music which helps you focus. The Calm sounds of nature can also create a tranquil environment to mitigate stress. Let other people in your home know if you are not to be disturbed so you can have some peace and quiet to focus.
- Smell: The most vital sense attached to memory and emotion. Plants can emit subtle scents making your workspace smell fresh, green, and crisp. Or try filling your space with pleasing scents from an essential oil diffuser, or scented candles. You could even use scented hand creams or essential oil rollers on pulse points to feel a deeper connection with the scent.
- Taste: Whilst working from home, it can be easy to snack frequently throughout the day and not stick to a routine. Keep healthy snacks on your desk, such as nuts and water, to keep hydrated and energised. Stick to a regular eating regime for breakfast, lunch and dinner to ensure that your body is getting frequent breaks.
- Touch: Incorporate textures into your workspace with blankets, or squeezy toys to provide comfort when required.
Alongside nourishing your five senses in your workspace, it is also crucial that you regularly move your body throughout the day to reduce the effects of anxiety. You could consider standing or active sitting, as well as going for walks each day.