Lighting and Color that Works For You While You Work at Home
Work from home? The aesthetics of your home office matter more than you might think. Here’s how to use color to create an awesome home office.
If you work from home, you’ve undoubtedly heard advice about getting dressed for the day. Telecommuting experts regularly explain that, while it’s tempting to snuggle up to your computer in pajamas, doing so decreases your productivity; instead, they advise, present yourself at the home office as you would a corporate one.
But is your home office itself dressed for success? Sure, you can don your best button-down, but if your workspace feels frumpy, chances are, so will your work. Studies abound that illustrate ways to manipulate lighting, color, and décor to gain both a positive attitude and aptitude.
Below, I’ve highlighted a few office environment adjustments that might make a noticeable difference in your desk-dwelling experience.
Ever dozed off in a dark theater or felt a tired tug on a drizzly day? That’s because humans need ample daylight to regulate circadian rhythms — diminished lighting leads to slumber, while bright overheads push productivity.
In fact, within 30 minutes of being in a bright space, your energy level, reaction time and outlook will notably increase. But lighting doesn’t have to be harsh to liven up your workspace.
- In 2007, The Journal of Circadian Rhythms asserted, “…ambient light is not only important for task completion…it can also have strong non-visual biological effects.” In layman’s terms, working for long periods in a darkened room can impact your wellbeing, so spread some light love. Mix bright task lighting with slightly dimmer overhead and natural lighting.
Paint and fabric selections have a prime effect on the mood of a room, as well as on your individual mood. Before finalizing your finishes, consider what your job requires, as certain hues are more calming while others rev you up. The shades you choose may profoundly color how you feel throughout the workday.
- Popular interior palettes tend to evolve as quickly as fashion favorites, but studies show that our innate reactions to them are pretty static. In 1977, NASA researchers showed that workers with high concentration levels excelled in exciting red rooms, while those with lower concentration levels preferred pastel places. A 2009 University of British Columbia study confirmed those results. The takeaway? Bright, deep colors stimulate energy, while softer tones yield a more soothing and stress-free environment.
While the style of a room certainly plays into your comfort level while in it, basic functionality should be weighed first.
- The major pieces of furniture in your space (i.e., chair and desk) should be chosen for their ergonomic effectiveness. When seated, your feet should rest flatly and firmly on the floor and your knees and hips should each form a 90-degree angle. A slight recline in your chair reduces vertebrae pressure and limits lower back discomfort. Lastly, ensure that your computer monitor sits at or below eye level and that your gaze travels somewhere between 24 and 36 inches to the screen.
What steps have you taken to make your home office a haven of both comfort and productivity?
Jay Harris is a Home Depot sales associate in the Chicago suburbs and a writer on Home Depot’s blog. Jay enjoys helping people with LED and other light bulb questions.
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