Design faculty take different approaches to the typical home office during COVID-19 pandemic
Each person has a different work-life in today's world. For those working from home, creating a space that is productive and inspiring can be critical to a healthy work-from-home lifestyle. Interior Design professor and healthcare design expert, Debajyoti Pati, Ph.D., says that there are many factors to consider when creating a salutogenic space— one that promotes health and wellbeing.
"There are common emotional responses to these kinds of situation that is universal or almost universal to humans," Dr. Pati said. "Those include acute stress, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, loneliness, etc."
Dr. Pati suggests when setting up or reorganizing your home office, consider the following tips from a physical environment perspective:
- Location is key. If possible, designate your work area where you have direct visual or physical access to the outdoors.
- Take frequent breaks and get outside. Nature exposure has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and improve attention.
- Use high-color temperature light in your work area. Natural, or warmer, light is better will be for one's circadian cycle. Warmer light has been shown to keep one more alert and attentive for better work performance.
- Social interaction has been shown to reduce hopelessness and loneliness. Although social distancing is now required, maintaining socialization even digitally can significantly improve one's outlook.
- When selecting a desk space, choose a workstation that ideally allows at least 48 inches of width. Ask yourself if you will be able to move quickly from side to side, stand up, and sit back from your desk.
- If possible, invest in a good quality chair that is comfortable and adjustable. Your neck and back will thank you.
- Storage is often overlooked when designing a home office and can affect your productivity. Make sure to include enough shelving, filing cabinets, or cupboards for your storage needs. Consider your workflow – what comes in, where will it stay while being worked on, and where does it go when complete?
Before the pandemic, the number of people regularly working from home was only about 4 percent of the U.S. workforce. That number is much higher these days. Ensure your space is a positive one for you so that your work and wellbeing do not suffer.