Whether you’re used to working 9 - 5 in a busy office or freelancing on flexible hours, Covid-19 has undoubtedly changed the way we work. 2020 has seen our working patterns significantly disrupted and we’re all learning to adjust to a ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future.
With more of us working from home than ever before, it’s never been as important to understand what creates an efficient home office. From practical storage to comfortable furniture, there are a number of ways to ensure that your space is designed to boost productivity - however, the most valuable and effective way is to harness the power of light.
Why is Good Home Office Design Important?
In order to maximise productivity and, moreover, actually enjoy the space that we’re working in, it’s important to create a good, functional home office design. And this isn’t some vague concept around feng shui - this is about getting things done in the most efficient manner, producing better results and ultimately providing the most benefit to your business.
In fact, according to studies conducted around the work environment and productivity, the most important factor contributing towards an employee’s ability to focus is their physical environment. Furthermore, research from architecture firm, Gensler, has shown that a well-designed office space can yield a 20% increase in employee productivity. Yet, despite this, 90% of the world’s employees have reported being less than satisfied with their working environments.
So how can we ensure that we are creating the optimum ideal home office space in which we can most effectively work from home?
What are the best ways to bring natural light into your home office design?
Open the curtains, the windows and doors and, if possible, think seriously about installing skylights or floor-to-ceiling windows, such as the new Solstice Glass offering from Cantifix. This is the first ever glass designed specifically to harness the health benefits of natural light, not only allowing more light into your home but also providing a better quality of daylight in order to have a positive effect on your alertness and productivity.
Think also about the position of your desk and ensure it makes the most of the light available, and check there are no shelves or furniture that might block external light sources. In addition, remember to take regular outside breaks throughout the day to stretch your legs and soak up the sun’s rays.
In fact, exposing yourself to light first thing in the morning is the best way to set yourself up for a productive and focused day. The good news is that you only need around 13 - 15 minutes of exposure to trigger the release of endorphins and get your body clock on track.
There are a number of aesthetic factors to consider that are guaranteed to improve your home office too, including keeping your space clutter-free and clean, incorporating natural greenery and adding personal touches such as photos and calendars.
However, the number one priority that is guaranteed to impact on your levels of productivity and performance is the way in which you use light in your home office design.
The Importance of Natural Light in your Home Office Design
A recent survey by Staples revealed that 80% of office workers said having good lighting was important to them, with two-in-five (40%) saying they have to deal with uncomfortable lighting each day. A third of respondents said that having better lighting would make them happier at work.
These stark statistics show that most people are already recognising that light is one of the crucial factors in staying focused and inspired. However, it’s actually often overlooked - and the effects of this are worrying. Bad lighting can cause headaches and eyestrain, whilst dark spaces can sometimes even result in cases of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression - especially when we begin to navigate the shortest and darkest days of the year.
So, as we begin designing our ideal home working space, we must consider light. And, out of all the different ways that you can use light in your home office space, harnessing natural light is the single most valuable way to improve your space and boost your productivity levels. The importance of natural lighting cannot be underestimated.
First of all, natural light is the thing that controls our circadian rhythm - this is essentially our 24-hour body clock, which responds to the stimulus of light. Interestingly, studies have shown that those who sit by a window at work get roughly 45 minutes more sleep a night than those who work under artificial light, which is all influenced by our circadian rhythm. In this way, exposure to natural light promotes a healthier sleeping pattern which is key to good physical and mental health. Let’s not forget that natural light is also the best source of vitamin D, so this is another contributing factor towards a healthier, more productive you.
Furthermore, research by Cornell University shows that an office illuminated by daylight can create happier, more alert workers, with examples demonstrating that those exposed to daylight experienced a 51% drop in the incidence of eyestrain, a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 56% reduction in drowsiness.
With all this mind, there’s little doubt that light should play a huge part when it comes to designing your home office. Happier, healthier and more productive? Can you afford NOT to use light in your working space?
We hope our blog post has helped you to consider the value of light in regards to productivity, and the various ways that you might bring natural and artificial light into your working from home space, but if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, then please get in touch today!