Ever since the pandemic was announced in March, billions of people across the globe have been forced to do everything from the comfort of their homes. For many, quarantine has blurred the lines between work, rest, and play more than ever before, making it hard to set boundaries and having a healthy work-life balance.
One of the biggest ways we can increase productivity while on lockdown is by arranging our home to accommodate this new normal. Multiple studies have shown the impact of interior design on workplace productivity and general well-being. Now that teleworking is the norm, and as long as stay-at-home orders remain in many states, our homes need to be an optimal place not just for work but also for rest, play, fitness, and studying.
Here are some tips and tricks for turning your home into a vacation home-office-school-gym hybrid.
Set up separate stations for every activity.
Experts have warned against working from the bedroom as it may harm one’s sleep hygiene and productivity level. When you make a habit of working from your bed, you wire your brain into thinking of it as a place for tasks instead of sleep and relaxation.
To fully optimize your home for various activities, set up separate stations for specific activities. If your budget and space allow, build a separate office for work, somewhere you’re not in full view of your bed as seeing your bedroom or being near it may tempt you to lay down and sleep during the day. Having your office or workspace completely separate from your bedroom may help prevent laziness or procrastination. If you must set up your workspace in your bedroom, make sure you’re facing a window or the wall, so you’re not tempted to lay down or work from your bed.
The same principle applies to your home gym. If you can spare a bedroom or a storage room, consider turning it into a fitness room where you can work out privately. Since going to the gym is not an option, at least for now, your home must be a place where you’re able to exercise freely. Having a separate space that’s not the living room affords you privacy and enough space to move around.
Even before the pandemic, setting up a separate homework station for your kids was already a good idea. Giving them a space dedicated to studying or Zoom calls can help prepare their minds for a day of learning. If possible, set up their homework stations apart from their bedrooms, but if you only have space for it in their rooms, make sure it’s not facing their beds. Their homework station must be a place where distractions are minimum. It should also facilitate their learning style—for example, a kinesthetic learner must have ample space for stretching and moving around within the day. In contrast, visual learners must be surrounded by items that help stimulate their creativity.
Consult with your architect and general contractor on how to optimize your space for all these different tasks. If stay-at-home orders are in our foreseeable future, it can’t hurt to adjust and move things around your home for the long-term.
Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging things people use to optimize well-being and performance. A good interior designer must fully understand ergonomics and design to make the home more convenient and user-friendly to its inhabitants. Considering ergonomics means adjusting the elements in your home to help increase your productivity, give you easy access to the things you need, and keep you comfortable.
Here are some ways ergonomics can make things easier for you at home:
- Neutral posture. If there’s one thing you should remember, it’s this: Keep your head and neck, hand and wrist, and your posture all in neutral positions. Your office furniture must help protect your body from injury. Make sure your office chair allows your head and neck to be vertical to avoid neck pain.
- Custom-built furniture. One of the easiest and simplest ways to transform your home for the better and increasing productivity and well-being is by getting rid of clutter. Having custom-built furniture that also serves as storage can keep your spotless and free from unnecessary items.
- Ample space between furniture. Not having enough space between furniture can create the illusion of a smaller space and makes it harder for inhabitants to maneuver their way into the room. Make sure that you always leave more than 50 centimeters of space in between furniture to optimize movement and navigation.
Make room for play.
And lastly, make space for some fun. Fill your living room with things you and your family love and enjoy. Despite everything that’s going on, life is still worth living.