Monday, 23 May 2011

Effective working environments...

I thought it might be an idea to look at different ways in which our surroundings can support us in being more focused. In particular, how they can enable us to achieve that work-life balance that we all strive for. I believe that fundamental to achieving a good work-life balance is getting the balance between ‘work, rest and play’ correct.

Let’s take work first. One way in which lifestyles have changed over the last decade is the trend towards working from home. Advances in technology mean more of us are deciding to work from home all or part of the time.

I think that it is important that your workspace is somewhere you want to spend time. It should be a place where you can concentrate and be inspired. No one is going to perform at their best if piles of papers and clutter surround their desk.

Working from home has its challenges especially in making the distinction between work and home life, and the two can all too easily become intertwined. Here are my key tips for an effective working environment:

  • If you are trying to achieve a work-life balance, it is also important that you are able to relax and unwind away from the pressures of work. One of the key challenges when working from home is being able to switch off from work. If you find this an issue, your workspace should be positioned where you can close a door behind you or where it can be screened off. In addition, if you are the sort of person that needs to be shut away from the bustle of family life in order to concentrate, a spare room, converted attic or any room that is under-utilised can make an ideal workspace 
  • Good natural light is a positive asset for most work areas, this makes converted attics with roof windows particularly good choices as they are self contained with lots of overhead natural light 
  • Everyone will have his or her own opinion as to where a desk should be positioned, but my preference is for it to be near a window with a nice view. Views may seem like distractions, but I believe they are in fact very beneficial for concentration, particularly for creative work, where staring into “space” can actually form part of the process for shaping ideas 
  • Desks also don’t need to be enormous monstrosities, but can be any sort of table, large or small, don’t just think office furniture think domestic furniture… 
  • Fundamental to effective home working is having a comfortable chair and a good lamp! 
  • Consider brightening up your workspace with an inspiration board, artwork or shelves with beautiful objects… 
  • Finally, as a last resort, if you find that your work is spilling out all over the house and your garden is big enough, it may be time to follow the example of Charles Dickens and invest in a garden shed… 

Here are some examples of workspaces I love…




(Image from Style Files)

(Image from Ruby Gatta)

(Image from Patric Johansson)






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