Home Office Redesign
How is your Home Office Performing?
Prompted by the pandemic outbreak, sheltering at home is having a profound impact on all our lives - but what about our homes? Did your crib, condo, casa, or castle get a say in you suddenly being a resident 24x7? Nope.
Did you know you’d have to lean so heavily on your home to be the base of all of your life’s needs during the Coronavirus? Who could have predicted that a home would also double as a gym, classroom, place of personal growth, your new date night spot, place of personal growth, yoga studio, and of course office? Is your current home setup able to function as the multidimensional space you need it to be?
We now rely on our home for a multitude of social and emotional needs. In quick time our homes have become much more than just a roof over our heads. So how should we arrange our home to support our new shelter at home requirements?
The Big Idea
First, measure your current level of satisfaction working at home. Second, apply the tips to upgrade your location and reduce clutter. Retake the survey and compare your level of satisfaction with you home office after making these changes.
Rate your Home Office
How satisfied are you with your current home office?
Print out a copy of the diagram below and rate your ability to complete typical tasks. With the center being 0 and the outer edge as 10, rate your level of satisfaction and ability to do your work by drawing a straight or curved line to create a perimeter.
Rate Your Level of Satisfaction with you Home Office
The perimeter represents how well or how poorly your home office supports you today. How satisfied are you working there? How bumpy would your ride be if it were a real wheel like the example below?
Design Tip 1: Feel Safe
According to environmental psychologist Lily Bernheimer, where you sit can impact your productivity. Her research indicates that we're most comfortable when we have a good view of our surroundings and feel safe that no one can sneak up on us from behind. She calls it “ninja-proof-seating,” but where does this come from?
In ancient times, where you positioned your home, palace, or village was crucial to your survival. In cold Northern climates villages, palaces, homes were built facing the south to bring in the most natural light and heat during the day.
Ideally, the back of the home was adjacent to a mountain that provided protection from invaders, situated above the floodplain, and below the summit to avoid overexposure from the elements.
People slept in the cool darkness of the interior at the back of the house. At the front of the home there would be a clear space - the metaphorical mouth of the cave where people looked out to see if what was coming toward them was dinner, or if they themselves were the evening’s feast.
The arms of the mountain embraced the home to the east and a forest to the west provided fuel and hunting affording further protection from invaders.
Do you have a wall at your back and a view into the room and beyond where you sit today? If not, is there some adjustment you could make to give you this extra level of support when you spend time working there?
We cannot control the invaders (physical or digital, seen and unseen) who distract you with fear and concern, but we can choose how we react to them. When we come from a place of feeling safe and supported, it is much easier to navigate challenges and opportunities with a level of preparedness that challenging situations deserve.
So now that you have your back to the wall, what is around you? What are you looking at? Is it a clear space or is it filled up with artefacts? How does it make you feel?
(1) Photo credit iStockphoto
Looking at this woman's body language, how do you think she feels about her work and ability to work effectively? Surrounded by so many work artefacts, how would you rate her energy level? What can you speculate about the state of her creative flow?
What about the woman in photo (2), how do you think she feels about her work? Do you think she is more or less in control of her work than the woman in picture (1)? Which of them would be easily able find something if they needed to?
Design Tip 2: Feel Creative
The energy that surrounds your desk is going to affect your work more than the energy in other parts of your home. If you want to feel creative and capable, safe and supported, pay attention to the things that surround you.
Don’t use your workspace for any other chores or purpose other than business. Clutter will immediately destroy any good energy that was previously present in your home office.
Clean up before ending each workday. As a part of your daily routine, straighten up your office before the close of each day. This practice will help keep you organized and ready yourself for the following day. When you begin work in the morning you won’t be walking into a messy room. Instead of seeing stacks of papers and clutter, your eyes will settle on the calm organization you’ve worked so hard to preserve
Hide unruly cords and cables. Having to look at a tangle of wires will stress you out and distract you from your work.
Bring in as little food as possible. Being able to work from home means that you can eat in the kitchen. If you do decide to have a snack, make sure you clean it up as soon as possible.
Clearing clutter for some people can go deeper than simply moving things around. In her book Clear Clutter with Feng Shui author Karen Kingston muses, “Messiness on the outside is always a symptom of some kind of chaos on the inside.”
Do you belong to the 1 in 11 Americans who are paying rent each month because their home won’t hold all their stuff? Self-storage is a $38 billion industry in the US, and unfortunately having more stuff does not equate to greater health, wealth or happiness.
Research Suggests a Dark Side to Clutter
In Current Psychology Today, the article, Procrastinators and Clutter: An Ecological View of Living with Excessive ‘Stuff concludes that clutter in one’s living space leads to negative emotions, impaired social ability and high procrastination scores.
The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin article, No Place Like Home: Home Tours Correlate with Daily Patterns of Mood and Cortisol discovered that the more clutter in a woman’s home, the higher her levels of cortisol. Those who felt their homes were more stressful tended to report experiencing a depressed mood as the day went on, whereas women who described their homes in restorative terms were less likely to report a depressed mood.
Clutter clearing isn't about simply tidying up or moving one thing to another place. It is an emotional spiritual journey.
According to clutter coach Denise Linn, “It's not just about the physicality. It’s about clearing whatever limitation you have. Whatever patterns that keep repeating over and over again. It’s about letting go.”
Moving one object out of your life can have the same impact as ending a toxic relationship or addressing a health problem or a habit that isn’t serving you. Clutter isn’t just an unkempt pile of nothings that have taken over your workspace. Some of that clutter is emotionally charged and can hinder us from working productively and creatively.
Is there anything around your desk that you need to let go of? It might be divorce papers, a performance review, or a separation agreement from a former employer that could be holding you in place to a time that no longer supports who you are now?
Adhering to the design principles detailed in this article can have a profound impact on your relationship with your work and productivity. Creating a safe space with a view ahead that’s free of clutter will augment your efficiency and foster a more positive relationship with your work.
Team up with me and learn what it takes to radically change your relationship to work in all its different aspects - physical, spiritual, material, emotional.
Together we'll discover your needs, design a tailor-made plan, and deploy a functional roadmap that will help you reach both your professional and personal goals. Let's chat over a complimentary coaching consultation to learn more about how together we can achieve your objectives.
Watch How to Tidy Your Office Desk with KonMari
Take Denise Linn’s webinar Clutter Clearing Journey
Read Jean Haner's book Clear Home, Clear Heart
Read Denise Linn’s book Clearing and Enhancing the Energy of Your Home
Read Karen Kingston’s book Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui
Recent Related Articles
Sally Grisedale is an executive coach for leaders working for the world’s leading technology companies. Before coaching, she was a product designer, design manager, and executive who built products for companies like Yahoo!, Facebook, and Apple.
Sally is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), a student of Chinese Metaphysics and Neuroscience in Leadership Development.