With lockdown 3.0 in full swing, this year has got off to a pretty shoddy start.
From constant doomscrolling to starting and ending the working day in the dark, many of us have struggled to feel motivated whilst working from home this month.
According to the NHS, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a common issue for many of us during this time of year.
It can affect people by causing irritability, a longing for deeper sleep, a craving for carbohydrates and a persistent lack of interest in everyday activities.
From stodgy diets to unbalanced sleeping patterns, lethargic behaviour is part of the package when it comes to SAD.
That’s why it’s important for us to combat our vulnerability and look after our mental health as much as possible, in order to enjoy a productive and calming WFH space.
To understand more about what you can do to create a productive work environment, we spoke to a diverse range of interior experts, and have created some simple tips on how to harmonise your home office…
Look to the light…
Sitting in a dark environment can play havoc with your productivity. With less natural light now that Winter is almost upon us, it’s important to utilise it when we can and make sure our home office space is as bright as possible.
Jason Peterkin, director at 247 Blinds says: “We’d recommend choosing a window treatment such as a roller blind that can be opened in full for maximum light exposure during the working day, or a day-night blind that allows you to take advantage of sunlight and privacy, but is perfect for controlling the amount of light filtering into a room too.”
Think about the most well-lit space in your home and try to set up your desk space facing the window.
Conservatories provide the skeleton of a space that feels like the outdoors, which is synonymous with sparking creativity.
Richard Pawson, director at Conservatory Insulations reveals the key to utilising them year-round : “Insulating your conservatory roof effectively regulates the temperature, keeping it warmer in winter and cooler in the summer months.
"Opt for insulation that also deflects direct sunlight, ensuring screens will be better visible. This also significantly reduces outside noise so you’ll sound clear on video calls.”
If you’re struggling with lack of access to natural light due to small windows or basement-based offices, why not invest in a SAD light?
Sophie Lewis, Interior Designer and Owner of Husoe Home explains why houseplants should be an essential WFH accessory.
She says: "Plants are scientifically proven to increase air quality - they release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.
"This not only freshens up the air, but also eliminates harmful toxins. "Choose plants with lots of greenery and broad leaves for the home office area as they will help to regulate humidity and increase your levels of productivity."
Keep your colour scheme soothing...
Be mindful of the colours you surround yourself with can make all the difference to our energy levels.
Lucy Ackroyd, Head of Design from Christy England explains how the colour of our home office space can impact the way we feel throughout the day.
“Restful colours such as dusky pink, light greens and neutrals such as beige and grey can create a calming atmosphere, whilst still keeping a cosy feel.
“Incorporating deeper shades of green, blue and yellow can also help promote feelings of optimism, growth and positivity, as they encourage images of outdoor greenery, the ocean, sunshine and the natural world.”
Prioritise your sleep environment…
Without a balanced sleeping routine, our working day can be severely disrupted by nagging tiredness and lack of energy.
Sleep expert and hypnotherapist , Dipti Tait, discusses the importance of creating a good sleep environment in the bedroom.
“Think of your brain like you would an electronic device. You use it all day and at night you need to recharge the battery - sleep is essential for your brain and body.
“It’s important that you keep your work completely separate from your bed. Introduce rugs, plants or even change your furniture around to help create set ‘zones’ for work and sleep.
“Your bed should be a psychological trigger for rest, it should look comfortable and inviting, ready for when you climb in it at bedtime.
Jonathan Warren, director at bed specialist Time4Sleep, states that practical storage solutions are key when it comes to keeping the bedroom a calming and serene space, free of clutter: “It’s important to try and return the room back to a space of serenity before settling down for sleep.
“Investing in a storage bed is a simple way to minimise stress and keep your sleeping environment free of clutter.”
Create calm and crack on...
Variation in stimulating, sensual experiences is something we need to introduce to our everyday working routines this Winter.
Nicola Elliott, founder of Neom Organics explains how specific oils and scents can help with productivity:
“Small changes, such as using essential oils to create the right moods in the right places of your home, can have a surprisingly big impact.
“The right scents and oils can help you stay productive, feel calm and happy and generally look after your wellbeing.”
“With our homes now becoming our offices too, sometimes we need a little help to just get us in the zone and ‘crack on’.”